Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Thanksgiving Day 2013, part II

Yesterday we had our big Thanksgiving meal, something that we all greatly enjoyed. Thanksgiving has all the nice parts of Christmas but it feels less stressful. We had great time with the Zanes; they are on their way home now. After they left we went for a walk.

We made our favorite dishes: turkey with sauerkraut, a pitka bread, mashed potatoes, apple sauce... we also made some Brussels sprout which came out nicely. After dinner we had some chocolate truffles that Irena brought from New York and we watched a documentary, "The Queen of Versailles". We used our new Roku appliance to watch it on Netflix.

Nora came down with a cold yesterday. She only wanted to sleep on our shoulders and would cry as soon as we put her down. Once she was asleep we moved her to her crib. The first night of a cold is always the hardest for her. She is taking a nap now and so far, so good.


Thanksgiving Day 2013, part I

The Zane family arrived yesterday. On the days before Thanksgiving traffic is always bad, so they left late in the evening and avoided virtually all traffic. They arrived at 1.00 am. It was great waking up to a house full of people and we had banichka for breakfast.

I made kruidnoten and speculaas cookies, the latter in the shape of Nijntje, a Dutch cartoon character. Nora loved them.

In the late afternoon the Zanes left to visit Jonathan's parents. We are going to have our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow -- it's a day off also.



When I put Nora in the car tonight she said: "zebra! zebra!" and she pointed to our neighbor's fence. I was wondering what she meant: did she mean a striped pattern of shadows? And then I saw it...

We went to pick up Sasha and when we parked at home I asked Nora to tell mama about the zebra. Nora pointed again to the fence and said: "zebra! zebra!" Sasha kept looking for the zebra but couldn't find it.

Nora is starting to learn the letters of the alphabet and Lelya Snezha teaches those letters with names. So there is 'м' for мама, 'O' for Oma and 'т' for тати (that's me). She is learning the Cyrillic letters, so she knows that Я is for ягода (strawberry). When she saw the letter R on a box, she told me: ягода. I explained that this was the R -- and the first word that came to my mind was rommel so I said "de R voor Rommel". She misheard that and the next day said "R voor Trommel", which she then later correctly translated as "барабани"...

So tonight, she saw the З for Зебра...



The other day Nora and I went to a Dutch play date, or "speelgroep". We met at Carla's house in Vienna and there were 5 kids and their parents.

It was fun talking Dutch and sharing experiences. Nora played a little bit with the other kids -- there's not a ton of interaction at that age but she had a good time. She ate a whole stroopwafel and tried gevulde speculaas for the first time.



Saturday morning we went for a walk in the Bluemont Junction Park where we saw the red caboose ("het rode wagonnetje", in Dutch). Nora just read a book about the caboose and it was nice to see a real one. Bluemont Junction used to be a railway junction, before the rails were converted into trails.

In the afternoon we went to a Korean supermarket in Falls Church. They have a great selection of fruits and vegetables. For example they carry 8 different types of pears and many different types of cabbage.

We had dinner there, Korean dishes combined with some salmon sushi. Nora enjoyed eating from all of it. She used chopsticks for the first time and got a fair amount of attention from the Korean ladies working there.


English sentences

We only talk to Nora in Bulgarian and Dutch, and she is getting more vocal every day. Everybody says that this is the way to go, since she will learn English here from everybody else. In fact, in a few years Dutch and Bulgarian will be the minority languages for her.

Still, it is a little scary to not explicitly teach Nora English. Will she be okay in school? Will she be able to talk to her friends?

A week ago, we heard Nora make her first real sentence in English. When we met Tristan and Calla on the street, Nora told them: "balloons! there!"

And toddlers have a great memory for language. Yesterday we overheard her talking to her self and saying: "happy birthday to you". The only place she would have heard that was when we sang at Ingrid's birthday, two weeks ago.


Walk to Washington-Lee

This morning we went for a walk to Washington-Lee, the high school near us. It's less than half a mile but we took our time since Nora was walking with us. Since a few weeks we let her walk longer distances, without the stroller, and she loves it. She stops and looks at everything: flowers, stones, carved pumpkins ("poes!").

At Washington-Lee we saw the build-up for this afternoon's political rally when President Obama will speak to support Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor. The elections are this Tuesday.

We walked back and did some shopping at Giant. This was one of the first time Nora was walking in the supermarket and she enjoyed it. I had to remind her a few times not to touch the merchandise but she did well.

A nice Sunday morning. Nora went to sleep at 1.00 pm, which is quite late for her especially since today is the first day without Daylight Savings Time.

Last night we had a common meal with several of our neighbors at the 'taverna', which was great.

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