Ellen's Blog

From Dubai to Kazakhstan

Archive for expat life

I’m back!

Found a house – only 200 boxes to go….
Have neglected this blog for a while, mainly because of no internet connection readily available. The times I spend in an internet cafe was cramped with email-stuff, info for new bathrooms and “how to drive to…”
But now I am back in town baby!
Got a lovely house, containers arrived from Dubai and the essentials like bed, plates and toothbrush found a place in The Hague. Many, many other boxes to unpack…..water, electricity etc to re-install, phone/tv and internet took 4 weeks (!) but the weather is gorgeous..and my first guest spend the weekend! Fantabulastic!
My dogs are a little confused and very insane: all these bikes, people on skeelers, birds and all the other 3000 dogs in the area!! We are working on that one too.
Pictures will follow my friends…..

what’s cooking?

When you know you are moving the thing to do is start eating stuff from freezer and kitchen cupboards, You only buy the essentials and as days are too short to get everything done anyway, you just cook as simple as possible and eat standing in between piles of stuff.

Not me of course. I start going through cookbooks I have not touched in 5 years and as the pictures look soooo yummy I pick a lovely vegetarian dish that is simple and quick – according to the book. Now that I am not working (read: I now work without getting any recognition or money) I pretend I have all the time in the world and slowly move through all the isles. I did not make a list because the simple dish only needed a few ingredients. I already smile when I think of the excited and surprised faces when – like magic – this beautiful delicious dish will appear on the dinner table (if there is space that is.)  Wow, this woman organizes the move all by herself , runs errands while answering emails and cooks like a chef???

The first two instructions are easy. Admit it, the smell of onions browning is a good start! Hmm whilst going through my spice rack I now regret that just yesterday I got rid of all those spices that were (almost) expired and no one used for years anyway. That’s funny, I don’t remember that I needed Mace for this dish. What the f**k is it anyway? I am sure the dish will be just fine without it! And how can it be that I don’t have parsley!! Everyone has parsley in the cupboard, apparently not me??? Well, who will notice I skipped this part? I pour myself a lovely glass of Chardonnay and want to get the grated Cheddar from the fridge – ahhhh – where did it go? I now remember that although this cheese  is always part of my weekly  shopping list I decided last Saturday (organized that I am) that from now on I was only going to buy the real essentials….hmm, I rummage through the fridge and find two almost empty containers and a small piece of fresh parmesan. I mix all together and frown. does this look like 3/4 cup of nicely grated cheddar? Come one girl, cheese is cheese!  I also find some tarragon (looks like parsley) and some thyme (can replace the Mace) and stir like crazy. It looks different then the picture, but still smells good. Some fresh pepper is always a winner, although not mentioned on the ingredients list. And voila, a beautiful dish did appear and tasted really good! What the name was……well……lets just call it “magic”.



Spent a week house hunting in The Netherlands – it is an unreal experience! You just march through a stranger’s house, make nasty remarks about wobbly shelves, rusty pipes and bedrooms that are too small whilst opening fridges, underwear drawers and musty dishwashers. I’ve seen cluttered houses which made me feel good (see, my house is not that bad) and minimalistic cold places with no soul at all. To all these people who have piles of junk and messy drawers: it is these houses that give you a warm feeling when you enter. It is these houses that appeal to most prospective buyers. Unfortunately it is also this mess that gives you this choking feeling when you know you have to sort, pack and make a reasonable amount for the movers out of all of this. I made an amazing step forward yesterday. Heard about an old friend who is now full of cancer and is my age. Complaining about too much stuff is taken of my list. Carpe Diem my friends!