Today the kids had no school, so I took them out exploring the city and running errands. We checked out the canals (there are so many, near us, I can't keep track of them all), and wandered around the neighborhood near the Artis Zoo.
I love pointing cultural differences out to them. In the grocery store today I showed them how, in Europe, people often eat more parts of animals than we do - displaying the packages of chickens' hearts and livers. And I spend lots of time admiring the bicycle traffic here, showing the kids how Amsterdammers have built every possible configuration of bicycle. We picked out a couple of our favorites today:
Baz and I are especially pining away for our bikes. It remains to be seen whether we break down and purchase or rent something. I'm still fairly convinced that bike-riding is not a viable option for us as a family right now - with Ayla unable / unwilling to ride on her own. I really think she's too big for me to carry on my bike. But I'm seeing bikes here that seat an adult and two kids... me, Ayla, and Isa? Seems crazy, but possible, if we were going to be living here a long time, in good weather.
In other news, we have found, within a couple of blocks, a grocery store, a library, a playground, a flea market, a "valu-plus" sort of store, a NYCity Bagels shop, and a gym. Waterlooplein is a great neighborhood. It includes the Jewish Historical Museum and this place, which is practically across the street from our apartment. We'll see how long we can resist.
The commute to the Cirque tent is not a quick one. We are 4.5 miles from the site, which turns out to be a 45-60 minute trip with walking and the Metro. The families are all happy to be living together, so that we can help each other out transporting kids to and from school.
And speaking of my fellow families here, it's time for me to get back to my Russian studies!