April 20, 2016

#Renovation 4: #Bruynzeel kitchen cabinets, anyone?

J* (Read footnote below!)
- the Maintenance Man
J entered my house, his eyes round and wide, and offered me his limp hand to shake.  I shook it, best I could, and ushered him in, ready to finally have my kitchen cabinet doors fixed.

Like a missing tooth
It doesn’t bother me now, but when I first walked into the house, the gap in the kitchen where the cabinet door should have been drew me towards it like a black hole. On closer inspection, the

April 7, 2016

Does physiotherapy actually help?

The pain:
The ache in my right shoulder started sometime in between my wedding towards the end of December and moving day in late February.

At first I thought I had just bumped it (on what? walking down to the toilet in the middle of the night?), and that it would go away on it's own, but slowly it grew in intensity until I could no longer sleep on that side. 

The denial:
Between the wedding our move, we also had great fun decluttering and packing and then there was a gigantic renovation in between (see various blogs of mine on that topic!), so it was no surprise that I ignored the pain until it spread down to my elbow and then to my wrist, making any computer work virtually impossible.

The solution?
About 2 weeks ago, I finally took myself to my doctor.

April 5, 2016

Appreciation #2: Gusto Di Casto Gelderlandplein

The best sandwiches in town
"Mom, I finished my run around the lake in less than 20 minutes!"
"Super!" I said, with what I hoped was the right degree of encouragement and enthusiasm. I had no idea if that was a good time, but he sounded happy, so I hoped I had gotten it right.
"So..." he continued, "I was thinking of those sandwiches at the Gelderlandplein. As a kind of reward, what'ya think?"
My mouth drooled. I hadn't had lunch. I'd been pretty good about my expenses this month. 
"You know what?" I replied. "let's go!" We hopped onto our bikes and yes, in 10 minutes (now everything is close by!!!), we were there - Gusto di Casto!

Better than new
The place has been renovated (last October, the guy told me), and the food is as good as it's always been. The juicy spinach salad, the marinated artichokes, the olive rolls (freshly baked), etc. Of course, the coffee is delicious too, (it's Italian!), and yes, they have soya milk, so I could have a cappuccino!
We peeked upstairs where there's now a whole floor of tables, and sat down below on a comfy sofa facing the door. The atmosphere was upscale and relaxed. The place is open from 8 am. to 19:30 or 20:00 some days. We may have to return for a pasta breakfast another time, I thought.

Any room for improvement?
Well, like I hinted at above, you really do have to pay for the amazing sandwiches, but they are worth every cent. And they are big enough to save half for later, so you can enjoy them doubly! 

While we were there, we also got a language lesson! "Prego," the waiter /cook/owner? said, as he gave us our food. "Gracias?" I answered hesitantly, and he promptly corrected me, "Grazie, otherwise, it's Spanish." Later, I asked him to spell it out for me. And now I know. Grazie! It was delicious!

April 4, 2016

Appreciation #1: Wildschut Cafe Amsterdam

Better get better!
A few days ago, I asked some friends on my Facebook page, how I could possibly enhance the customer service experience at restaurants in Amsterdam and Amstelveen. 

I had been all set to start blogging nasty, shameful things about the crappy service, (yes, that's correct, crappy is a 'nice' word compared to some of the service I have received),  I have had the joy to experience here in the country I now call home.

Be constructive, they said...
But the responses of my friends were, on the whole, oh so kind, and positive that I reconsidered, and decided, instead, to write about the places I appreciate. (I guess you now know what kind of friends I have!) While a little disappointed, I had to admit that I too, am actually a strong advocate of positive psychology, and while I love to improve things when I can, I hate seeing myself as a 'complainer.' 

So, here goes!
Yesterday we ate a quick dinner at Cafe Wildschut, located a 6 min bike ride from the place I'll be hanging out a lot at for the next 3 months, Boekhandel van Rossum. (teaser alert!)

"You left a tip?" my husband asked, with slightly raised eyebrows.
"Sure," I answered, "and not only that, I thanked our waiter."
"What'd he do?" hubby asked, which was actually a good question, since we hardly even saw him during our meal.
"Aha," I said. "Sometimes it's not about what you do, but what you don't do. He didn't piss me off. He must have worked hard, since you yourself mentioned that this place was packed up until sunset, half an hour ago, but he showed up at our table with a smile, minutes after we arrived, to take our orders."

What else was good:
Wildschut had the beer we wanted to order, which shows excellent inventory management at this restaurant, (not to mention an eye for the latest beer trends; IPA Brand, in case you're wondering), and when we asked to share a salad, we didn't get a dirty look. Without even asking, he brought us an extra plate, too.

Could still be a little better:
The truth is, the waiter hadn't been perfect; he'd hidden his yawn not so well, while taking our order, and again while giving me the bill, which I had to get up to go and ask for. So, he himself was a little surprised that I tipped him. Still, I told him that he'd brought the food quickly, and it was tasty, and that he was friendly and kind. His smile showed me that my comments were appreciated. 

Yes, it's possible that some days I'm more forgiving than others when it comes to the service I am willing to put up with, but I'm willing to give this positive feedback thing a go. After all, it's working wonders with my students, so who knows?