"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I am sitting here this evening just full to the brim with celebrations. Today is my 25th anniversary of immigrating to Holland. It does not seem possible that 25 years have passed in the blink of an eye. You can read a little more about my becoming Dutch here.

Jos picked up typical Dutch 'gebak' (pasteries) for with our coffee tonight. He also bought a little bag of Leonidas chocolates which he teasingly gave me. For us both, Leonidas are our favorite dark chocolates. But they also remind us of a funny thing I did within a month of moving over to Europe.

We lived for a couple of months when I first arrived in the city of Brussels, Belgium. I used to write diary like letters home to my parents about everything that I was experiencing. One of the things I found humorous was my daily grocery shopping at a tiny Nopri just two streets from our little rented studio apartment. It was so small that it felt like a clothes closet. And the woman would come in dressed in very expensive clothes with their poodles to shop. The poodles would spy each other and the yapping was deafening.

I had decided one day that I would wander down into the city to a large grocery store for my ingredients for dinner. I had been trying to pay attention to how we walked there in the evenings so I could find it on my own. After walking in circles for 1-1/2 hours, I finally dared ask a Belgian man if he could tell me where it was. I had been circling around it all that time. *sigh* I was very young and very leery about approaching people so it was not easy to ask right away. Needless to say, I would no longer do that!

I did know that if I left the large grocery store from a certain side that I was right across from a Leonidas stand. I wanted to bring Jos home a box of the same chocolates he bought for me when he picked me up at the airport. We had a favorite one in the box so I asked the woman for a kilo of that particular one. She turned away and was busy packing a box that only when she turned and politely informed me that she could not fit a kilo (approximately 2-1/4 lbs.) in a VERY large box and could she place the remaining chocolates in a separate box did I realize that a kilo was a LOT of chocolates. I was so embarrassed about this that I said it was fine, paid and quickly made my way back to our apartment.

Jos got home and I told him about my adventure. We had dinner and I brought out the boxes of chocolates. He asked why I bought so much and I told him the story. We still laugh about it today.

And guess what? I never underestimated what a kilo is again! *wink*

Jos was unable to buy our particular favorite kind of chocolate as they do not sell them here in Holland at Leonidas but he bought some since he thought that was appropriate to celebrate my 25th anniversary of becoming Dutch.

Note: The stitched piece is a gift from a dear friend (thanks again Saskia!) and you can read about by clicking the link at the beginning of this post.


Jantine said...

Great story! 25 years is a long time and I am glad to hear it was a reason to celebrate for both of you!

Kathy A. said...

What a lovely way to celebrate your anniversary of being Dutch.
Congratulations and enjoy your special day!

Jenny said...

I love your story Heidi...it really made me smile:). Happy 25th Dutch anniversary. Memories are such special gifts, especially sharing times with people we love. The chocolates sound wonderful...I don't know I could probably handle a kilo of chocolates...grins...especially if I was sharing them...have a wonderful day and hugs from CA.

Anonymous said...

How funny Heidi! I thoroughly enjoyed...you've come a long way after 25 years. :-)

Susan in SC said...

What a sweet story on wanting to surprise Jos! It is one of those stories that just make it that much dearer to both of you!

Melanie said...

I loved your story about the kilo of chocolates! Great way to celebrate your becoming Dutch, too ~ enjoy!

Ginny said...

I'm looking forward to reading your story over on your other blog because I have been wondering how you got to Holland. I loved this story, laughing along with you, because I would have made the exact same mistake! Maybe not with chocolates, but definitely with something!

Elizabethd said...

A kilo of chocolates! It took me a while to get used to French weights and measures too.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to taste some of those chocolates.

Willy said...

Hi Heidie, wat een heerlijkheden en een mooi verhaal. Leuk dat jullie dit zo vieren. Mooi passend borduurwerk.

Nancy said...

Boy Jos, you did good. I know that chocolate is just yummy. No, you wouldn't do that anymore, now you have a built in map in your head and would never have to ask for directions. You know how to get everywhere.
The pastries sure do look good. Have fun on your vacation. I forget how you said it.
Love you, Mom
PS: We all know it was 25 years, we miss you.

Life in the Big Grey Victorian On The Corner said...

That was a nice story! LOL