2 years ago
Friday, October 22, 2010
They might just now be joining the eco-fashion parade, but one thing Dutch people have been doing well for pretty much all of existence is sweets. They have nearly an entire aisle dedicated to cookies, mini cakes, goodies, licorice and pastries in even the smallest supermarkets. One of the more notable, are stroopwaffel (not pictured). They are rather delicious thin waffle cookie sandwiches with caramel cream in the middle. I can't eat them anymore. I had a bad day during my earlier visit in May where I got a bit lost and for some reason only felt confident enough to buy a package of stroopwaffel to quell my hunger and ended up eating the whole thing, nearly barfing in the overheated tram I finally found and boarded home. Thus, I've moved on to other delicacies such as marshmallows (usually strictly forbidden by a health-conscious Matthias, although he brought these home. Possibly he pitied my occasional homesickness by indulging me in something "Amercian") and DONUTS. Yes. Look at these beautiful creations! They are like picture perfect 90's donuts from the Simpsons! How can that even be a thing? I don't know, but can't you see it? PERFECT DONUTS! They are even flavored differently. The yellow one tastes like banana! The pink one tastes like strawberry! Yep. And these are just your standard grocery store donuts. Dutch people, I applaud you here.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Strangely enough, Amsterdam's very first major "eco-fashion event" took place last Sunday. Strawberry Earth Wonderland. It was put on by an organizer called Strawberry Earth, which advocates all things earth-friendly and apparently set a pretty tough standard for vendors. I stumbled across an article about it in a magazine haphazardly tossed into my goodie bag at an Expat fair full of booths offering tips, treats and memberships to social clubs. Of course I pulled this magazine out. Of course I flipped right to this page. I mean, coming from Portland it's like "Yeah, eco-fashion. Recycling plastic. What else is new, right?" But for these guys it is a road not yet traveled.
It's kind of funny, because although the Dutch are rather stylish in my opinion, they are also quite homogeneous and tend to favor "expensive" looks in a subtle yachting-on-the-weekends kind of way. There isn't much diversity, and my beloved old-fashioned grunge doll look that would barely raise an eyebrow in Portland gets all kinds of strange (and occasionally somewhat negative) attention here. Which sucks a tad considering I'm still finding my bearings and don't really want to stand out more than necessary when I stumble mounting my bike or roll up to a sales counter with nothing more than a "Goede Dag" to contribute to the Dutch conversation. Therefore wearing familiar things (i.e. cutoff pastel Gunne Sax dress with threads hanging down, messy hair and a shoulder-padded band conductor cum office woman jacket) has to be toned down a bit. Or does it? I still haven't gotten to the bottom of this one. Anyway, I was really excited about this event because I felt like I could not only see what's up in the Dutch eco-fashion scene, but I could also rock all things I love to the max and not be stared at. Which made me realize something.
Dutch people are really just getting started on this eco-bandwagon as far as fashion is concerned. There is hope that they will yet one day find second-hand girl ghost a fashion-forward idea. Even if they would never do it themselves.
The event itself was actually quite fun. It took place in (according to Matthias) the only cool nightclub in Amsterdam, Trouw. I could see how it would be a good place to party, although like all Dutch structures, the stairways were unnaturally steep and would be somewhat dangerous while inebriated. I arrived at the beginning and had the opportunity to talk to several of the designers (more on that later). It was really nice to speak with others who are as genuinely enthusiastic about their crazy recycled work as I am and have also had some success thus far. Etsy also had a presence at the event, teaching people how to make T-shirt yarn and spreading the word to get the Euros excited about the site. Apparently its rather secret here in Europe. Which is cool, it makes me a little more stoked to spread the word.
Alright, Amsterdam. You might be far more square than people imagine and not quite ready for vampire grunge doll in ratty fur coat on a daily basis, but you have accepted recycled, eco, fair trade and conscientious fashion that has legitimate whimsy and doesn't suck. I applaud you there. It's a decent start.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Last week Matthias needed to head out for some fresh air between studying for midterms and writing papers, so we rode across the bridge to IJburg. IJburg is a neighborhood of artificial islands in the IJ lake to offer more housing/a new neighborhood so Amsterdam can continue expanding somehow. So why not reclaim some more land from the water! They even have a word for this "Polder" although it's possible that only refers to land reclaimed from the sea...anyway, IJburg is appears to be a bit of an architectural free-for-all. There are all kinds of crazy facades and fun angles and bright colors on the residential buildings. We peeped in on all sorts of different living situations from the street level windows and admired the reckless abandon/meticulous attention to detail with which the buildings were designed. I bet architects everywhere were falling all over themselves to get in on this project.
photos by Matthias
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Did you guys know about this stuff? I didn't until I arrived in this country! We tried to make it several Fridays ago, but more recently I was treated to the real thing by Matthias one lucky afternoon. It's a Surinamese dish, popular here because Suriname is a former Dutch colony and something silly like 1/3 of their population emigrated to the Netherlands prior to independence in 1975. Anyway, they brought some tricks with them because this stuff is real good. It's a bunch of veggies like green beans, peppers, some seitan or tofu type thing (Matthias is a vegetarian), potatoes and...a deep fried egg. It's kind of spicy and you eat it by scooping up veggies with the soft pancakes on the side. I love it. Matthias had gotten the tip for a really good Roti joint from his psychology prof (who is of partial Surinamese descent) and picked up two full portions on his way home from class. Turns out, one is enough to share and stuff us both! So we had Roti for brunch...and dinner. It's that good.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Ladies wine tasting, hay!
New hair, thanks Jaimee!
Trying to feed Kristofer enough...Vincent style eggplant puttanesca with veggies from our garden!
Minions busy in the dungeon, Rosebud costumes underway...
Brunch with Josh's buddies who came down from Seattle for the Panda Bear show.
Final moments with my fur covered bff.
Brother with his new Swedish bff. We sent Kristofer out to join the bachelor party and sip from the boot so Shola and I could slave away over more sequined dresses in peace.
photos by brother and Kristofer
Today marks the one month anniversary of arrival in Amsterdam! So here's a little glimpse at the final moments in Portland. Kristofer was visiting during my last week, as his motorcycle tour of the states put him in Portland immediately prior to Eurodeparture. He managed to make himself useful though by slaving in the sewing lab and showing solidarity on late nights. Brother also should be acknowledged for generously chauffeuring our wine tasting adventure. Thanks guys!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Don't let our outfits confuse you.
Ugh. Moving back into a relationship after several years of independence is kind of...hard. Especially when it actually is MOVING BACK INTO a relationship. In a little room. In a different country. In a different world. No, wait. Same world. I just got caught up in the spirit of exaggeration and drama. THERE'S NOWHERE TO GO. Well, except the common room. But everyone knows you're there anyway because there's a window. I guess on the upside, it is a student residence and there are plenty of cheerful undergraduates to socialize with in the meantime. The beauty in black fortunately lives in our hallway.
P.S. There's more where that white dress comes from. I will reveal slowly but surely.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
My very first roommate from college kindly sent me a link to this band, thinking I would enjoy them. DING! I immediately fell in love with this video by Johannes Nyholm. Yes, yes, I know. They are ALSO Swedish. What else did you expect? I was even having kind of a down day when I watched it, is it weird that this made me feel better? I don't know. Thanks again Diana!
Posted by Caitlin at Monday, October 04, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
After a busy week of Matthias playing catch-up on all his university work and me playing hausfrau/entrepreneur/seamstress/foreigner we finally made a picnic happen on Friday afternoon. We realized shortly afterward that we could have also gone out to a nice inexpensive meal at a restaurant for price of the organic grocery store goods we collected. Ohhhh well. It was nice out in the Oosterpark. After dining, laughing and chatting, poor Matthias (who stayed up nearly the whole night before finishing a philosophy presentation) promptly passed out like a fetus. Meanwhile, I designed a new series of dresses made from his old sweatshirts...
Friday, October 1, 2010
Yes, that elegant metal beast lurking in the shadows is my Dutch bicycle. Matthias picked it out after waiting in line for hours at a student organization on his break between classes. It's official. It's perfect.