Guus Bosman

software executive and technologist

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Nora really likes playing with her cousins. Sometimes from a safe distance -- there can be a lot of noise! -- and sometimes close by. To communicate with Julian she has to speak English and slowly but surely she is making some progress.

She knows some short sentences, like "happy-birthday-to-you" and "merry Christmas", and on command she can say "thank you", "hi" and "bye bye", but she doesn't talk independently yet. Listen to her talk here. Unlike in Bulgarian and Dutch, where she will use pretty long sentences and even sing songs.

Over Christmas I noticed her using two specific words: "no" and "thanks". "No" is pretty clear: when her big cousin gets too overbearing or when he takes something that she has, she will try "no!".

She says "thanks" also -- but she means "give it to me". So when Julian has something that she wants, she will say: "thanks!" in the hope that she gets it.


Budni vecher 2013

Yesterday I took a day off. In the morning Nora and I had a lot of fun. After breakfast and talking to Opa and Oma we went to the pediatrician to pick up a letter, and then to the bakery. Heidelberg bakery is always a nice destination, and with Christmas is it very festive. There was live accordion music. Then to the supermarket.

In the afternoon Sasha came home early and we prepared our budni vecher meal. The Zane family arrived a few hours later and we spent a great evening together.

Budni vecher is always a special meal and evening, and we had a nice selection of vegan dishes. Surmichki, two types of beans and salads. We made three pitka's: one big bread and two small pitka to break. In our family Sasha got the coin -- Julian was the lucky one at the Zanes.


Christmas preparations

Last weekend was the start of the Christmas season: we bought a tree and spend a lovely afternoon singing Christmas songs at friends.

On Sunday afternoon we went to Bill & Ingrid who organize a sing-in ever year. Accompanied by a great piano player we sang various Christmas songs, traditional, religious and others. It was an enthusiastic group and we had a lot of fun. We brought pepernoten.

In the evening we decorated the tree. It was a little on the large side -- I had to cut it down -- but we managed to get it in the house. Nora put a snowman decoration in the tree.


Early morning conversation

Yesterday morning, just after Nora woke up, she had a lot to say. She was talking about the game we played the evening before.

Nora: "Nora vallen! Tapijt."

Me: "Was Nora gevallen?"

Nora zeg kiekeboe!
Pappa zeg leeuw!
Nora. Vallen. "



When I came home Nora wanted me to go in the living room right away:


I was confused. Did she want to sleep? So I said: "Instoppen?"

"Instoppen! Bank!"

Then I understood.

"Oh, verstoppen! Jij wil verstoppertje spelen!"
"Oh!" (She uses "oh" to confirm things)

So we played hide-and-seek. Every time I screamed, she would scream and then say: "Leeuw!" -- because I was making lion-sounds.


A mysterious squeak

"Squeak! Squeak!" We were trying to figure out where the strange noise in the car was coming from. It was 9.00 pm and we were on highway 101 on our way to Menlo Park. At first I thought it was the gas pedal but then we realized it came from the back seat. My colleague Chetan and I were in California for business meetings.

At the airport in San Francisco we rented a minivan -- it was that or waiting another 20 minutes -- so I drove one of those huge cars for the first time. But the noise was bothering us -- was it a bird? Some sort of small animal?


Schoen zetten

I have very fond memories of celebrating Sinterklaas with Ettie and my parents. Sinterklaas is a winter holiday celebration around the Saint Nicholas figure that is very popular in the Netherlands. When we lived in Opperdoes we would go see Saint Nicholas at the community center, where we'd get pepernoten and clementines.

I haven't celebrated it in years but now Nora is old enough to participate old memories started to creep back up and so this weekend we are going to the St. Nicholas celebration at the Dutch Embassy.

The tradition holds that in the weeks before December 5th kids can put their shoe in front of the chimney in the evenings. Nora put her shoe in front of our fireplace last Saturday and we sang two songs. I explained her the ritual and she sort of understood it. The next morning (after a rather rough night) we went downstairs... and there were presents!

Nora smiled when she saw them -- but she was also shy and didn't want to get near the fireplace without us. After breakfast we sat on the carpet and Nora opened her gift: a beautiful coloring book about Sinterklaas. She was quite impressed with the whole thing.

Thank you very much Ankie and Joost for making her first "schoen zetten" a big success!

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