Quotes of the day:
Isa: "Mommy, we should go to the store and buy all the things we don't have."
Ayla: (when I tried to teach her some French words) "Mommy, I'm sorry to have to say this. David, my teacher, is a real French person - French is his first language. You are not. If you want, on Wednesday when I have French class, I can learn some words and come home and teach them to you."
And for Baz, not a quote, but he took apart the vacuum cleaner today and showed me how it worked.
I took the kids to Rembrandhuis. (picture of them here with the audio-tours) It's right around the corner from us, the house where Rembrandt van Rijn lived during the prime of his career in the 1600s. It is a small museum but very interesting - furniture restored the originals, stories of Rembrandt's life, and an upstairs studio showing where and how he made his paintings.
There was an artisan there demonstrating how they made paint in Rembrandt's day, mixing various oils and powders in a fairly labor-intensive process. The kids were fascinated, standing right up close. Suddenly, Ayla turned to me, her face white. She said her belly hurt, and it was "hard to see". She clung to me, weak in the knees, and I got her to a corner of the room to sit down. It seems she got too close to the turpentine, and the fumes of it nearly caused her to faint. It was a worrisome moment - she broke into a sweat, got dizzy and headachy, and had to lie down on a bench. We had to cut our visit short to get her out for some fresh air, and within about a 1/2 hour she was back to herself.
Here's a particularly cool thing in Amsterdam. The interiors of the metro trains are all decorated with different kinds of art. Everything imaginable - abstract, fantastical, photographic, you name it. There are so many different designs, that we rarely enter a train we've been in before - and we have been here two full months, taking the metros several times a day. I photographed this one, which the kids and I particularly enjoyed, it features stick figures climbing ladders all over some bizarre kind of world. The artist had a Web site posted: Cindy Schriekenberg
And a last image for today, a Russian tradition - whenever someone has a birthday, vodka is brought out, and there is toasting in the kitchen after the show. This was Aliaksey's birthday, one of the Russian bar porters. Notice the Santa Claus and Christmas tree in the background - the kitchen is decked out for the holidays!