Happy Belated St. Nicholas!

For those of you who don’t know: where I’m from Christmas only comes in second. Number one on the list of December holidays and precedent to your Santa Claus (may I remind you, Mrs. Mean UN Woman)  is St. Nicholas, whose presence we celebrate on the fifth of December (or on the sixth in Germany and Belgium). He looks similar to Santa Claus, with a red outfit and all, but rides a white horse instead of a reindeer-pulled sleigh. His elves are much taller than santa’s and black, because they crawl through chimneys to bring presents to little kids. We celebrate with lots of nice little treats, singing and poems. The food is really my prefered part, as in any festive event. 

Currently all Dutch media, politics and even the UN occupy themselves with the question whether St. Nicholas and Black Peter are racist because some bored nitwits, that clearly have racist minds themselves for noticing, link the white man with black helpers to slavery and therefore accuse all those little five-year-olds and their parents of being racist for celebrating. 

Anyways, enough for politics. I’ve never been much of a St. Nicholas fan and always liked Santa Claus better. Maybe because my mom, who was not Dutch, didn’t really understand what to do and we didn’t celebrate it that much. 

Still I wanted to wish you all a happy belated St. Nicholas! And tell me? Is this racist? 

sinterklaas

Love, 

Sophie

P.S.: I am really lazy and in a hurry so I linked some articles to help you gain a better understanding of this Dutch tradition. 

 

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Aside

Rocking Around The World

Some days in the year are very special such as anniversaries and birthdays. For me today is such a marvelous day because today is the day before the day on which it has been 13 months since the boyfriend and I visited our first Hard Rock cafe together. On this day, September 4th, 2012, we decided we would visit all Hard Rock cafes in the world. That is a reason to celebrate right? Time for some alcohol!

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Now, let’s have a look at the score. I logged onto members.hardrock.com, because of course I’m a member, to see where the past 13 months got us.

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A little note to add: The boyfriend went to Hollywood and Las Vegas, sadly enough, without me and I visited the one in Helsinki solo. When we do something, we do it well so we don’t count these as visits in our Excel sheet (See how professional we are? I almost feel like an adult now), where we keep track of all currently opened cafes and our visits, meaning these have to be revisited. I will count them today though. A friend once told me I make my sentences too long when I write, hmm, maybe he had a point.

So back to the score: So far we visited 8 cafes on three different continents and six different countries and part of us has slept in one Hard Rock hotel. Calculating an average of 100 euros per visit, it has cost us 2.5 months of grocery-shopping money. Say cheers to that! For 2013 we plan to visit Prague and Hamburg as well and next year the soon-to-be-opened hotel on Ibiza will be enlightened by our presents. I’m sorry, I will steal the soap and shampoo, but don’t worry. You may keep your towels Hard Rock hotel people. I read some blog posts on stealing from hotel rooms yesterday, but I’m a nice guest.

So, that is kind of what I wanted to share with you today. Oh and if you don’t think I’m insane by now; Hamsterface!

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Love,

Sophie

P.S.: I cheated. The Malibu bottle is actually empty, it’s a schoolnight and I’m a good girl!(sometimes)

Love travels to your heart, via your…Stomach..

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In Dutch we have a saying. Actually we have many and maybe the one I mean exists in English as well, but starting my post mentioning this old saying sounds very wise, I hope. Also I realized that the sentences following the first screwed up the ‘ wise person’ image. Anyways, we have this saying.

Liefde gaat door de maag. It translates to: ‘Love travels through one’s stomach.’ Basically it expresses how Dutch people are just a bunch of pigs, that you can get to like you just by providing good food. But how could it be otherwise if we have all these delicious snacks! Someone once told me Dutch meals(think stews..lots of stews) are terrible, but the snacks make up for it completely.

Therefore, whenever I travel I make sure to carry around bulks of the following snacks to make friends everywhere.

The first is a pack of Stroopwafels. I used to keep stock in my kitchen in Switzerland and my roommates would always eat them. They’re delicious crispy wafers with syrup filling in the middle.

Secondly I carry something that everyone wants to try but no one actually likes; Licorice. Those from the US might think they now licorice, but you’re wrong! Well, at least you don’t know Dutch licorice. Our’s is saltier and more licoricely! Only the Dutch (and Finnish) seem to like it.

In winter we celebrate St. Nicholas on the 5th of December and he brings something called ‘Kruidnoten.’ A Dutch tradition is to complain about the time stores start selling them. It’s always too early. As a matter of fact, I think there are in stores already, how scandalous! I always take them on my winter travels and everyone loves them!

On a few occasions I have tried to bring kroketten, frikandellen and bitterballen, which was a little difficult because A: They need to be frozen until prepared and B: they need to be deep-fried, something that is not easy to do in an apartment or hotel room. However they are delightful, so if you ever get to Holland; try them!

Over the past years I have made many friends by feeding them. Now all my friends are fat because they eat so many of these snacks. (sorry!)

Do you people take treats from home to spread a little of your culture? Let me know!

Love,

Sophie