72: Exotic Cheese

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Everybody knows cheese is made from milk, milk from cows. We learn this when we are little children, at kindergarten, going to the petting zoo, in the picture books for little children. There’s no getting around it. So when I eat cheese I feel confident it is made from cow milk. I know there are more animals which give milk. The most common of these are goats. The last years cheese and other products made from goat milk are becoming more common. I still think milk should come from cows. It’s how I am programmed. Every other form of cheese, from another animal, would be considered Exotic Cheese by me. But being in this ‘My First’-year I wanted to try it, so I had some goat cheese. The first bite was exciting, I didn’t know what to expect, what exotic flavour I would encounter. Would I like it? Would I think nothing of it? Would I be repulsed? I was pleased to learned that goat cheese is not an aquired taste, it tatsed not that different from cow cheese. I didn’t expect that! Anyway, I still do think milk should come from cows, but maybe I’ll try some goat milk someday too!

Source picture: http://colleenmcdevitt.blogspot.nl/2009/09/goat-milking-like-brushing-your-teeth.html#!/2009/09/goat-milking-like-brushing-your-teeth.html

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71: Long Distance

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When I think about Long Distance, I think about the marathon for instance. This is 42km of running, seeing how fast you can run the distance. It’s all about finding your pace at wich you feel comportable, which you can keep for the distance, at which you don’t have too much energy left at the end. This is the challenge. Walking a Long Distance to me is walking for a few hours, so 15km, maybe 20km. That was the longest distance I did. Last weekend I went to Brussels, as I told you. We decided to walk through the city and try to see as much of Brussels as we could in that weekend. We started on Friday with a guided tour by our Couch-Surf-host Jan and ended the day at his house. All day we carried our full backpacks. We had a Tracker running on a cellphone, it said we walked 20km that day. Wow! Nice going! Next day, Saturday, we planned on seeing the Atomium. We decided to take a long route through the many beautifull parks in Brusels. On the way we found a nice festival (see upcoming blog!), which we visited again on our way back. At the end of the day the Tracker said: 35km. Damn, that’s a lot! Sunday we went on our way with our full backpacks again to see some more of Brussels and ending up at the train station: yet another 15km. So we did 70km in one weekend… That’s really a First for me, I didn’t know I had it in me! Me proud!

Source picture: Me!

70: Piano Concerto

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Going to concerts is a nice thing to do. I love being in the crowd, cheering for the band or artist and enjoying the music. The atmosphere makes me feel alive and forget everything else, at least for a while. It also gives me great memories to go back to when I want to feel the same again. These concerts I went to were of bands or artists I realy like, Micheal Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Tears For Fears. I never did go to, or end up, at a small instrumental concert. Until now. This weekend I stayed at my Couch-Surf-host Jan in Brussels. He made us a nice dinner. While preparing it he sat down at his piano and started playing some great jazzy songs. Some were soft and beautifull, some were Boogy-Woogy. It was admiring to see how much passion he put into playing the piano. You could see his face light up when seeing his listeners enjoying his music, even if it was just for a crowd of two. Great experience, and My First private Piano Concerto!

Source picture: http://ridgwick.com/buying-a-piano.php

69: Couch Surfing

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Most of My Firsts are unplanned, they come to me when I least expect them, they are a complete surprise. This is why I like them so much. Sometimes I have a planned My First. This I like too, because I am trying to enrich my life with new experiences. This is certainly the case with Couch Surfing, allthough when I first heard of this I had different thoughts than the actual concept. I wondered how a couch could be used for surfing. Is a couch water resistant or sea worthy? Does it have enough float capacity for surfing? Is it manoeuvrable enough for hitting the waves? Later I learned the concept behind it. Last weekend I even experienced it and went Couch Surfing with my dear friend Ruth in Brussels! I thought it would be like crashing on someones couch and be gone in the morning. I guess it is used like that, but I experienced something different. My couch-host left us at his house for the weekend with a key and went his own way. He wasn’t there most of the time. I admire such trust in us, after all we are complete strangers to him. He did even guide us through Brussels the first day and made us dinner. What a hospitality!
I love the Belgians.

Source picture: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.couchsurfing.mobile.android

68: Loud Directions

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As I told you in my last blog I travelled to Brussels by train. I took the cheap-ass way and had to change trains twice. The first change was in Rossendaal and the second one in Antwerp. The switch from the Dutch railways to the Belgian railways is taken care of by NS HighSpeed. In Rossendaal this switch was made, I had to change to a Belgian train. Riding to Roosendaal I was wondering if I was able to find this Belgian train in time, because I only had 4 minutes to change trains. I did look up the platform numbers of arriving and departing trains, so I was prepared. But I wasn’t prepared for the service I encountered at Roosendaal… On arrival I got off the train and heard some people shouting out loud. The second time they shouted I could hear what they were saying, they shouted: ‘CHANGING TO BELGIAN TRAIN HERE! TRAIN TO ANTWERP HERE!’ All I had to do was follow the voices to find my connecting train to Antwerp. Along the way I saw several people in NS HighSpeed jackets, shouting like they thought I was deaf. This was My First experience of such service on a train platform. I know for sure I will travel with NS HighSpeed next time again! But probably will bring my earplugs 🙂

Source picture: http://www.spoorforum.nl/spoorforum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4843&start=64

67: Public Transportation

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A couple of years ago my employer gave me a company car, which I am very happy with. Before that I had my own car. There was no need for using Public Transportation. The last time I used the train was before we had the Strippenkaart. Some time ago the Strippenkaart was cancelled and replaced bij the OV-kaart. There is no other way to use Public Transportation without the OV-kaart. Last weekend I went to Brussels (read my upcoming blogs about this trip!) and I didn’t want to take my car and pay a lot of parkingfairs. So I took the train. The biggest downside of Public Transportation is that it doesn’t stop in my front yard. I had to take the metro to Rotterdam CS first. This was where I needed an OV-kaart, My First OV-kaart. I went to the metro station, to the counter of RET and asked for an OV-kaart. I also asked how it worked, because I hadn’t been on Public Transportation for quite a while. The man from RET said: Don’t change that! I wonder if he realized that if every customer did that, he would be out of a job… I didn’t want that, so I bought My First OV-kaart anyway.

Source picture: http://www.ns.nl/reizigers/ovchipkaart

66: Empty Pen

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Whether you are a writer for fun or for a living, or you write a lot for your work or for your study, the use of a pen is a familiar exercise. Most people use the regular ballpen, the throw-away version. The ones you get everywhere you go, from advertisers, suppliers, shop keepers, activist groups. Or you can buy them real cheap.
With the intrduction of the computer with software to write and smartfones with message programms, the use of a pen has decreased. At schools kids even get lessons on iPads in stead of in exercise books. I guess it would be possible to have a life without ever holding a pen these days. I do still use a pen because writing with a pen is still the easiest way for me. But that’s just me. To be honest, I do write more and more on the computer, like these blogs, even I use pens less than I used to. So the main reason for me to throw away a pen is when it is broken. But for my study I still write a lot, more than I thought even. Yesterday I had to throw away my pen, but not because it is broken, it was because it was empty. I started thinking about this and realized I had never emptied a pen to the full before. Old trades aren’t all taken over by technology. But maybe I am a dinosaur in that mather…

Source picture: http://goyalankurm.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=131013421