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Welcome, to our site! After living for some time in Israel and then in the UK we've now moved to Germany. We'd like to share our experiences with you. We hope you have as much fun reading as we have writing.




January 2022

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!

So yes, i’m going to try this again… this time with an app, so I can write whenever inspiration strikes 😁

In my last post I mentioned that the plans for our house were almost done. They were, but life didn’t agree with our plans and here we are pretty much at the same stage with our future home. But, Emanuël now has a permanent position and we now know that in about a year we will actually be moving in! Yay!🎊

As for me, I quit my job and went back to being a student. For real. Last October my first semester started and I’ve just finished my first set of exams. And passed all of them!! It’s pretty much a dream I’m finally following. I’ve always wanted to study English, but never really believed I could. Turns out I can 🤓 I’m combining it with Computer Linguistics, which means I’m learning programming, another thing I’d never imagined I could do!

Although I still have an exam to go in April, we’ve used the lecture-free period for a short holiday in New Orleans. My favorite thing to do in any city, is to find a spot were I can sit and watch. I’ll just take out my book, read a bit, look around and try and get a feel for the city. New Orleans though, is a city full of tourists on the one hand and quiet neighbourhoods on the other. So, I was having a hard time getting a feel for the city, because I was either surrounded by (drunk) tourists or walking through area’s where I’d hardly see anybody at all. But yesterday that changed. I sat most of the day in a small park just north of the French Quarter enjoying the Congo Square Rhythm Festival. There was music, food, some arts and crafts and most importantly a very good atmosphere. I expected it to be very touristy, but it seemed to attract quite a few locals too. And it’s finally giving me a sense of the city.

Emanuël is already back in Germany, but my flight is not until tomorrow, so today was my last full day in the city. I was invited to join the landlady of the place I’m staying in and her family at a quite unique parade, organized by the sol called Marsi Gras Indians. They make these amazing suits, all by hand and then strutt through their neighbourhoods wearing them. It’s extremely chaotic, with people setting up impromptu food stalls all over the place along the route and everybody trying to get as close as possible to the Indians to take pictures. I’ll try and put up some pictures once I get home.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon at the Congo Square Festival again before walking back home. A wonderful last day of my vacation here!

Important stuff!!

The drawings for our future home are almost done!!!
We’ve had a meeting with our architect earlier this week and have decided on those details that have to be in the drawing when we submit it to the local council for approval.
And then the real work starts: finalising the kitchen design, choosing the style of the bathrooms, deciding on flooring, colouring, etc. Daunting!! 😯 But it’s going to be so much fun!! :mrgreen:

In the meantime we have arranged a very very important element for our future home: cinema chairs!!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 2015-04-23 13.29.24

Just one advice: if you ever decide you need to have cinema chairs, make sure someone will help you get them out of your car and into your house…not easily done on your own 🙄

Joy joy joy!

I want to move now!!

We’ve got a tent somewhere and we’ll just CAMP on OUR property!!! :mrgreen:

A couple of days ago we went there for a meeting about the playground that’ll be built around the corner. The meeting was very informative, but the best part was that afterwards everyone stayed for another hour or so, to just chat! We’ll have such nice neighbours!!!
I’ve had a happy smile on my face ever since. :mrgreen:

Emanuël’s parents have now seen the property as well, met some of our neighbours while we were there and are just as excited as we are.

Next week it’s my parent’s turn…can’t wait ❗


Just the other day I told Emanuël how lucky I feel to have a hubby who always keeps making sure there’s adventure in our life. :mrgreen:
Sharing those adventures with friends, family and…well the world, was the reason we started with in the first place.
So, you may wonder, does that mean there were no adventures at all in the last year or two?
Cause yeah, that’s how long it’s been since we’ve written a post…

Well, our adventures are now of a more modest nature 😀
Things like a romantic weekend for two, a holiday with both our parents, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Emanuël’s parents’ marriage, a week in Tel Aviv…
In most cases I started writing…to never finish an actual post.

Most of these occasions would have actually been really nice to write about, and maybe someday I’ll do some flashbacks. 😉
But for now, I’ll write about our next adventure: our new home!

Just before Christmas we found a lovely piece of land that immediately felt like home.
Now, about three months later, we’ve put down some signatures and we’re well on our way to being the owners of a little piece of Bayern.
No, we’re not yet the actual owners. Turns out there’s a few things to do after you’ve been to the notary…I won’t bore you with the details, it just means that it will take another 3-4 weeks until we can actually call it ours.

20150226 property

The property is located on a south facing slope to the south-east of Erlangen, and north-east of Nuremberg.
We stood there a few weeks ago around sunset and…it was love at first sight.
The area is very rural, with lots of open space and woods.
If I’d have to guess I’d say there are no more than 30 houses in the village, maybe even less, but there’s a somewhat larger village at walking distance that offers all facilities we may need.

The last 3 months have been spent figuring out how these kinds of things work here in Germany, what kind of restrictions there are, what obligations…which means we’ve already started planning the house and WOW that’s not an easy feat! 😯 I realize it’s difficult for anybody to do something like this for the first time…but go ahead and try it in a different language… Takes a special kind of nutcase to want to do that! :mrgreen:
Oh well, everybody who knows us, even just a little, knows we are of the nutty variety. Pleasantly so of course!!

I have promised myself that I will be more diligent in keeping you updated on our website. I may do that in a slightly different format though.
One of the things that has kept me from writing is the translating bit… I usually write in English and then translate to Dutch.
This takes time and eats away part of my creative process.
Although Dutch is my mother tongue, the language doesn’t inspire much creativity in me. English however, has always been my language of choice.
Therefore: a big big sorry to everyone who prefers to read our posts in Dutch! It’ll only be English for now!
Another thing I may try, will be shorter posts. Maybe a picture with a sentence or two. Or just a couple of sentences to share a moment when I do not have the time or inspiration to write more.

We’ll see how it’ll work. And let me know whether or not you like it!

New job, new wedding rings, Israel and more

I figured it’s about time I write a new post…to have our New Year’s wishes still at the top in April…mea culpa mea culpa! :mrgreen:
So, what’s happened in the last months… In one word: LOTS!
January was quiet, but then it started… As per February 1st I started a new job. Finally! I’d been looking for exactly 1 year! Apparently Germans like to hire people with German as their mother tongue and a German education/diploma. Guess what, I don’t have either! No matter I have over 7 years of experience in my line of work…I hardly got invited for any interviews at all! And then all of a sudden, 2 job offers at once! One at an auction house, and one in sales support. Although I’ve always considered a position in an auction house a kind of ideal way to get back into the ‘world of art history’, they could only offer me minimum wages for a full time job plus at least 7 Saturdays of auctions. The other offer was much more in line with my previous positions: an office based sales support position, for a cool company that makes and sells indoor cycling bikes. The atmosphere at the office was much nicer, younger and more informal, plus their offer was a much better one, so here I am, working for ICG! And enjoying it too!

Shortly after I started at ICG Emanuël’s parents visited us for about a week, followed by my parents. During that same time Emanuël himself had to travel to Korea for a few days… and then, just days after everything had returned to ‘normal’, we left for a long weekend in the Eifel. We arranged the weekend to celebrate the 5th anniversary of our marriage, and invited our parents plus both witnesses and their partners.
We traveled there ahead of everyone, to prepare things where necessary. As it turned out, there hadn’t been any need for worries. The house we booked was amazing, large, well furnished, including things like dishes and cutlery. It was just perfect. That evening we prepared the next day’s meal and baked a last minute cake, so we’d have something nice to present our guests. 😆
We spent the weekend catching up with everyone, walking around the little village near the house and enjoying the snow. Almost everyone tried out the sleds, Dad and I danced barefoot in the snow, Menno and I had a ridiculous snowball fight (using a snow shovel!), Lian and I made snow angels and Jakob and Emanuël build a gigantuous snowman…I do believe that almost 2 year old Tom was one of the more adult among us. 😉 Nothing like a bit of snow to make you feel like a little kid again!!
Saturday afternoon I was showered with gifts, as it was also my birthday. That same evening Menno en Lian surprised us with a kind of marriage quiz, to ‘check’ what we’d learned about each other in those last 5 years… I’m not sure anymore who won, I just remember we had fun! 
On Sunday we celebrated our 5th anniversary with some bubbly and our new wedding rings. Yes yes, new wedding rings!! When we got married, we decided to go for something simple and not too expensive, so we could buy ‘real’ ones for our 5th anniversary. So that’s what we did!
We returned to work on Wednesday, to leave for Israel again on Friday and Saturday. We didn’t travel together this time. I travelled a day later, because I had a team-building-event at ICG on Friday, and I really wanted to join, as it was my chance to meet those who don’t come to the office regularly. We had good fun, mostly outdoors, but by the time we left I still didn’t know any names, and I wouldn’t have recognized most of them without their hats and scarves anyway .

Our week in Israel was again work related for Emanuël. We did travel around a bit with some of his students, but they still spent most of their time at the university. Which meant I had all the time I wanted to get reacquainted with Tel Aviv. I loved it! Spent some money, tried a few new spots for lunch and just enjoyed the city. But the week was over before we knew it, and soon we had to return to normal life…or something like that 😉

Easter brought us back to NL for a long weekend. And just one and a half week after that I went to Cologne for my first trade show with ICG. This is where I really got to know everyone, figured out who’s who and who does what. After four days of mostly standing I came home with barely enough strength in my legs to walk to my bed.

A good two weeks down the lane, I’ve had a training with BIG Challenge en we’re looking forward to the ascension weekend, when Menno en Lian will come and visit us. Not too long after that I’ll be traveling to France, to join BIG Challenge at Alpe d’HuZes. Maybe after that things will slow down just a little…?

Nieuwe baan, nieuwe trouwringen, Israel en meer…

Het was inmiddels wel weer echt tijd voor een nieuwe post…om in april nog steeds onze Nieuwjaars-wens bovenaan te hebben staan…Schandalig!! :mrgreen:
Dus, wat is er zoal gebeurd in de laatste maanden…In het kort: EEN HELEBOEL!!
Januari was rustig, maar toen begon het… Sinds 1 february heb ik een nieuwe baan. Eindelijk! Ik ben precies een jaar aan het zoeken geweest! Blijkbaar willen Duitsers het liefst personeel aannemen met Duits als moedertaal en met een Duitse opleiding. En tja, daar schiet ik natuurlijk te kort! Maakt niet uit dat ik inmiddels ruim 7 jaar werkervaring heb…ik werd niet of nauwelijks uitgenodigd voor gesprekken. En dan krijg ik ineens vlak achter elkaar 2 banen aangeboden! Eentje bij een veilinghuis en eentje in de verkoop binnendienst. Hoewel ik een baan bij een veilinghuis altijd gezien heb als de ideale weg terug in ‘de wereld van kunstgeschiedenis‘, werd me daar een voltijd baan tegen minimumloon aangeboden, waarbij ik dan ook nog tenminste 7 zaterdagen zou moeten werken. Het andere aanbod kwam van ICG en was niet alleen beter, de sfeer daar was zo veel beter, informeler en jonger dat de keus niet lastig was. En zo komt het dat ik nu dus voor ICG werk! En dat met veel plezier!

Kort nadat ik bij ICG begonnen ben, zijn de ouders van Emanuël een week bij ons op bezoek geweest, gevolgd door mijn ouders. In diezelfde periode moest Emanuël nog een paar dagen op en neer naar Korea…en enkele dagen nadat alles weer enigszins zijn ‘normale‘ gang had gevonden, vertrokken we voor een lang weekend in de Eifel. We hadden het weekend georganiseerd ter gelegenheid van ons 5-jarig huwelijk en onze ouders en getuigen met aanhang uitgenodigd.
Wij vertrokken iets eerder dan de rest, om een en ander voor te kunnen bereiden. Bij aankomst bleek dat we ons nergens zorgen over hadden hoeven maken. Het huis dat we geboekt hadden was fantastisch, groot, goed onderhouden en zeer compleet ingericht, inclusief dingen zoals bestek en servies. Het was in één woord perfect. Die avond konden we ons lekker concentreren op de voorbereidingen voor het diner de volgende dag en bakten we ook nog een lekkere cake, zodat we onze gasten wat lekkers voor zouden kunnen zetten. 😆
Dat weekend kletsten we lekker bij met iedereen, maakten een winterwandeling door het dorp in de buurt en genoten van de sneeuw. Bijna iedereen probeerde de slee uit, Pap en ik dansten op blote voeten in de sneeuw, Menno en ik hielden een belachelijk sneeuwballengevecht (met hulp van een sneeuwschep!!), Lian en ik maakten sneeuwengelen en Jakob en Emanuël maakten een giga sneeuwpop… In denk dat de bijna 2 jaar oude Tom de meest volwassene onder ons was. 😉 D’r is toch niks wat je zo zeer weer kind laat zijn als een pak sneeuw!!
Zatermiddag werd ik flink verwend met kadootjes, het was tenslotte mijn verjaardag. Die avond verrasten Menno en Lian ons met een soort huwelijksquiz, waarmee ze eens even wilden checken of we ook wat van elkaar geleerd hebben in de afgelopen 5 jaar… Ik heb geen idee meer wie gewonnen heeft, maar ik weet wel dat we d’r lol mee hebben gehad! 
Op zondag vierden we ons 5-jarig huwelijk met wat champagne en onze nieuwe trouwringen. Ja, ja, nieuwe trouwringen!! Toen we trouwden, besloten we voor iets eenvoudigs en niet al te duur te gaan, zodat we voor ons 5-jarig huwelijk ‘echte’ ringen zouden kunnen kopen. En dat hebben we dus ook gedaan!
Op woensdag waren we weer terug op het werk, waarna we op vrijdag en zaterdag alweer naar Israel vertrokken. We reisden dit keer niet samen. Ik vloog pas een dag later, zodat ik aanwezig kon zijn bij een team-building dag van ICG die vrijdag. Ik wilde de gelegenheid natuurlijk niet missen, die collega’s die niet zo vaak op kantoor zijn te ontmoeten. Het was een leuke dag, met voornamelijk buiten-activiteiten en dus veel sjaals en mutsen. Het gevolg: ik betwijfel of ik iedereen ook weer herkend zou hebben zonder musten en sjaals.

Onze week in Israel was wederom werk-gerelateerd voor Emanuël. We reisden wel nog wat rond met enkele studenten, maar ze spendeerden toch de meeste tijd op de universiteit. En dat betekende dat ik lekker alle tijd had om in Tel Aviv rond te struinen. Heerlijk! Lekker geld uitgegeven, leuke nieuwe stekkies voor lunch uitgeprobeerd en verder vooral genoten van de stad. Helaas was de week voorbij voordat we het goed en wel in de gaten hadden en moesten we toch weer terug keren naar het normale leven… of tenminste iets wat daarvoor door moet kunnen 😉

Met Pasen waren we even in NL voor een lang weekend. Anderhalve week later zat ik in Keulen voor mijn eerste beurs met ICG. Hier leerde ik dan toch eindelijk iedereen daadwerkelijk kennen en kreeg ik een beetje een beeld van wie wat doet. Na vier dagen voornamelijk staan kwam ik thuis met nauwelijks nog genoeg kracht in mijn benen om naar mijn bedje te lopen.

Inmiddels zijn we alweer ruim twee weken verder, ik heb nog een trainingsbijeenkomst van BIG Challenge achter de rug en we kijken al uit naar het hemelvaartsweekend, want dan komen Menno en Lian. Niet lang daarna reis ik nog even af naar Frankrijk om met Big Challenge aanwezig te zijn op Alpe d’Huzes. Misschien wordt het daarna even iets rustiger…?

Happy New Year!!!


I did it, I did it!!

I finally got it right!

I’ve been trying to make my own ‘ontbijtkoek’ for a while now. Ontbijtkoek is a dutch kind of spice cake and it’s hard to get a good one outside of the Netherlands. So I figured I’d make it myself. First time I made it, it was very very delicious. However, when I made it again, it was so hard I could have hit someone with it and do some serious damage… I guessed I misread the quantity of milk I needed to use (I have a tendency to misread quantities, no matter how hard I try not to… :mrgreen: ), but the question remained…how much did I use and what else did I misread?
Now, after about half a dozen attempts I finally got it just the way I wanted it! I ended up mixing several recipes, amending quantities to my own preferences. The only thing I kept from the original recipe, is the spice mix…I still don’t understand how that recipe got me such a lovely cake the first time…

Ontbijtkoek For those who’d like to try my version of ontbijtkoek, this is how it’s done:

Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Mix together:
• 250 gr flour
• 100 gr dark brown caster sugar
• 4 tsp baking powder
• pinch of salt
• 100 gr honey
• 2 tsp ginger
• 4 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp / 4 ground cloves
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• ½ tsp nutmeg powder
• 100 gr melted butter
• 200 ml milk

The batter should be soft enough to pour, but still thick enough to put up a little ‘resistance’.
Pour the batter into a greased cake tin.
Cooking time: ca. 60 min
When ready, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for a while. Once the cake is cool enough to handle, remove from the tin and leave to cool completely.

I used a small cake tin (ca 1 liter), so if you want to make a bigger cake, you’ll have to adjust the quantities and the cooking time. Ontbijtkoek is always quite dens, if you like the flavour, but want a lighter cake, try adding more milk. You may want to add a little more of the spices too.


‘t is gelukt, ‘t is gelukt!!

‘t Is me eindelijk gelukt!

Ik ben al een tijdje aan het proberen zelf ontbijtkoek te maken. Ik kan ‘m hier wel krijgen, maar ‘t is dan toch niet echt lekkere. Dus ik dacht, ik maak ‘m zelf. De eerste keer dat ik ‘m maakte, was ‘ie erg goed gelukt. Helaas, toen ik ‘m de tweede keer maakte was ‘ie zo hard, dat ik d’r zo wat koppen mee had kunnen inslaan… Ik vermoedde dat ik de hoeveelheid melk verkeerd gelezen had (ik heb nogal de neiging om hoeveelheden verkeerd te lezen, hoe zeer ik ook mijn best doe om op te letten :mrgreen: ), maar de vraag bleef, wat had ik nog meer verkeerd gelezen?
Nu, na een stuk of 6 pogingen, is ‘ie eindelijk geworden zoals ik hem hebben wilde! Uiteindelijk heb ik verschillende recepten met elkaar gecombineerd, waarbij ik de hoeveelheden heb aangepast naar mijn eigen voorkeuren. Het enige dat ik van het oorspronkelijke recept gebruikt heb is de kruidenmix…ik snap nog steeds niet hoe dat recept die eerste keer zo’n lekkere cake kon opleveren…

Ontbijtkoek Voor diegenen die mijn versie van ontbijtkoek ook eens willen uitproberen, zo moet het:

verwarm de oven voor op 160 graden.
• 250 gr meel
• 100 gr bruine suiker (bv donkerbruine basterdsuiker)
• 4 tl bakpoeder
• snufje zout
• 100 gr honing
• 2 tl gember
• 4 tl kaneel
• 1 tl / 4 gemalen kruidnagels (ik stamp ze in de vijzel)
• ½ tl gemalen zwarte peper
• ½ tl nootmuskaat
• 100 gr gesmolten boter
• 200 ml melk

Het deeg mag redelijk vloeibaar zijn, zodanig dat je het in de vorm kunt gieten. Maar wel nog zo dik dat het langzaam gaat.
Giet het deeg in een ingevette cakevorm.
Baktijd: ca. 60 min
Haal, zodra de ‘ie klaar is, de cake uit de oven en laat ‘m afkoelen. Wanneer ‘ie ver genoeg afgekoeld is om ‘m in je handen te kunnen nemen, haal je ‘m uit de vorm om verder af te koelen.

Ik heb een kleine cake vorm gebruikt (ca. 1 liter), dus als je een grotere cake wilt maken, zul je de hoeveelheden en de baktijd moeten aanpassen. Met de bovenstaande verhoudingen wordt de cake vrij vast, zoals dat hoort bij ontbijtkoek, maar het is ook lekker om ‘m eens wat luchtiger te maken. Daarvoor hoef je alleen maar wat mee melk toe te voegen. Pas ook de hoeveelheid kruidenmix aan, om te voorkomen dat ie flauw van smaak wordt.


I wanted Israel…I got Israel…

Because we’d be traveling with 5 people plus luggage we’d arranged a big rental car. We really only needed it to get from the airport to the hotel and from Tel Aviv to Eilat. We did use it on Sunday, to go to Caesarea, but on Monday it stood unused in a parking garage in Tel Aviv. On Tuesday we wanted to go to Jaffa, which we could have done on foot, but we also wanted to find our favourite hummus place (it’s moved), so we decided we’d go by car. Only…the car didn’t start… 🙁
In itself not so much a problem, we called Eldan (the rental agency) and they promised someone would come. I sent the boys ahead to Jaffa and promised to follow them as soon as the problem was fixed. I’d expected we’d get a replacement car, but as it turned out they didn’t have one of the same size available, so they sent a mechanic instead.
From the way he had to rip stuff apart to get the battery exchanged, I suspect he may have been a mechanic specialized in, say…washing machines, or maybe hairdryers… By the time he had the car in what he considered working order I suspected certain parts hadn’t gone back in the same place they were in before, so I refused to drive the car.
6 Phone calls later (3 times hung up on, 3 times promised to be called back, but nobody did) I was in the Tel Aviv branch making a big fuss. And as usual when you make a big fuss about things in Israel, you get your way. 😀 I got the new car just in time to go and pick up the fifth member of our little traveling group at the airport and then make it back to the city for dinner.
Emanuël decided I’d deserved a treat, so we went to Poyke, an African restaurant and one of our favourites around here. One of the reasons it’s a favourite, is their Chokongo, a ridiculously large and absurdly delicious chocolate soufflé. I sang its praise all the way to the restaurant, but even so, the boys had to admit it was everything I’d promised.
After that all was right again in my world. Any lingering frustration about the fuss with the car forgotten, after my favourite chocolate desert EVER.