I have never made lemonade with sparkly water

This is one of those I Never posts that’s partially about something I never did before, but mostly about all kinds of things that are going on.

You see, for this I Never I originally planned to write about visiting the Deventer op Stelten festival. Deventer op Stelten (Deventer on stilts), being one of the largest events in Deventer, is one of the things I should attend at least once in my life. So, Lena and I planned to go there on Saturday a week ago. Medley was staying at Carolyn’s, so we were free to do as we pleased.

But before going to the event, we decided to grab a movie. We noticed a lot of good movies about to be released, so we both got a Vue Movie Pass, which means unlimited movies (as long as we can find a baby-sitter) and a discount on movie snacks (so come with us to the movies)! Anyway, we went to The Legend of Tarzan. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a major mistake, as it was one of the most boring experiences of our lives. Wouldn’t recommend at all.

So we left during the break. However, this left us with the problem that it was way too early to go to Deventer op Stelten. And, only a few days earlier, we got hooked on a new game: Stardew Valley.

So we decided to switch up our plans and do what we wanted to do most: enjoy an evening of gaming without having to deal with a crying baby all the time.

Which brings me to this simple I Never. Not a big experiment, but something I did wonder about for a while: what does lemonade taste like if made with sparkly water. The answer: not too special, but a refreshing change nonetheless. I’ll definitely try this with different flavors as well.

Anyway, that’s it for this month. Nothing huge, but I can’t only do huge projects.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my farm is waiting.

I have never attempted the sugar break challenge

After last month’s bugs burger, this month is again about health. I’m not sure if it’s because I became father, or I’m just trying to be healthy in general, but I really want to improve myself in this area.

So why the sugar break? This one caught my attention when I saw a news article in our local newspaper, mentioning that a nearby supermarket would organize the sugar break challenge. Of course I seized this opportunity and applied. I hope that following through will result in an increased energy level, which should also come in handy as a new parent.

Tomorrow it’ll start with three days of cutting down, followed by seven days of the challenge itself. I’ve been working towards it by checking some of the products I’m using and found that it may be more difficult than I thought. There are way more products with added sugar than I expected. But still, I’m going for it!

If you want to keep up with my progress, check back here. I’ll try to post daily updates on here. You can also follow this Facebook post to receive updates.

Day 1

So as it turns out, the challenge does not actually start on day 1. Instead, the first three days are a sort of introduction with some tips and background information. Also, I set a goal for myself, which is to consume no added sugars, except for special occasions: in this case, Lena’s birthday will be during the challenge, for which I will allow myself a piece of cake.

But yeah, nothing so far.

Day 2

Today there’s even less to report than yesterday. Basically, the challenge hasn’t started yet. I’m enjoying some sweet, sweet sugar before it’s time to say goodbye.

Day 3

The final day before the challenge begins. I would have expected to take in excessive amounts of sugar today, while I still can, but I haven’t done so. I guess I’m not such a sweet tooth after all. Still, I did realize that certain things I consumed today would not be on my menu for the coming 7 days.

Wish me luck!

Day 4

Today was the first day of the actual challenge. I already failed. Twice. But both times with a valid reason as far as I’m concerned.

It started off pretty well. I got up early to feed Medley, had a good breakfast and started working. Aside from my coffee, which I’ve been drinking black for many years already, nothing of interest happened.

At lunch though, I was checking the ingredients of some of our bread toppings, when Lena asked me whether the meat I was eating was allowed. I thought I’d checked it. Apparently I hadn’t checked thoroughly enough. Strike one.

I continued working. The few times I went downstairs to get something to drink, I walked past the candy bar jar without taking something. It didn’t feel bad. I guess I’d usually eat candy because it’s there. The one time I did get the munchies, I went for an apple instead, which is something I haven’t done in some time either. My lifestyle is already improving!

After work I took a quick trip to the supermarket to stock up on things I will be allowed to consume during this week: eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, salted peanuts and chips. Especially the last one is an important one in dealing with stress when sugar is not an option. Let’s hope I won’t need it.

During dinner, I had a second strike. We had shawarma, but I technically wasn’t allowed the pita bread. Still, they come in packs of six and Lena can eat only so many before they go stale, so I decided to help her out on this one. That is one of the things about this challenge: it’s difficult to deal with products we already have bought. I’ve been thinking about how I’ll continue after the challenge. On the one hand, I don’t want to throw the results away, but at the same time, there’s still a lot of things we have that would be wasted if not consumed. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how I feel about it after this week.

Day 5

Today was chaos. I had chips for breakfast and more of them for lunch. Went back to bed at about 12 and got up for work again at 2. Taking care of Medley today was stressful, which reflected in my eating habits.

It got better though. After some more resting and a shower, we had a good dinner and some Wii U fun with friends in the evening. Only challenge today was to not grab anything from the open bag of Doritos everyone was eating from. I ate a kiwi instead. I’m proud of myself for eating fruit.

The hard days have yet to come however.

Day 6

We’re almost at the half-way point and it’s getting difficult. Today I had sugar twice again. Both times were again a mistake.

It started with the consultation bureau, which is an agency helping parents take care of their children by offering advice, paid us a visit to see if we could do anything about Medley’s restlessness. Their advice was for us to be strict about her feeding schedule: at least three hours between meals and only one meal between 11 pm and 5 am.

Medley did not agree with this. Her last meal was at 9 pm yesterday, which meant that there were 8 hours to bridge during the night with just a single meal. Medley started crying after only 3 hours. So the objective became to quiet her for another hour.

We went outside. Earlier, we had found that placing her in the car seat and driving around could calm her down. So we went to McDonald’s to also make our little ride enjoyable by mom and dad.

Unfortunately, because it was so late, I had barely slept the night before and Medley’s crying was again stressful, I forgot about the challenge. Lena reminded me after eating some chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce. And after we got home and took care of Medley, I took some sips from our cola.

Ah well, mistakes can be made.

Today I know beforehand that I won’t have a sugar-free day, as it’s Lena’s birthday and I promised her I’d have a piece of cake.

But you’ll hear all about that tonight.

Day 7

I went way overboard today.

It started off okay. Like I said, I had a piece of cake this morning (afternoon actually, got to sort of sleep in). I genuinely enjoyed it. It wasn’t like I needed to chow down on it. I could slowly consume my treat and enjoy every bite.

But then in the evening, things turned around. Lena and I went out to all-you-can-eat sushi. I expected it to be mostly sugar-free. After all, it’s mostly fish and rice, right?

I’m sure some things had sugar in them. I’m pretty sure mayonnaise of the salad had sugar, and some other things as well probably. I’m not one to ask for each and every possible dish whether it had added sugar or sweeteners though, so I just ignored everything and ate what I wanted.

Then came the dessert. After checking the available options, I planned on skipping it. However, while Lena went to the bathroom, I asked one of the waiters whether we could have sparkles, as it’s Lena’s birthday. They said yes, but seeing how I didn’t know which dessert Lena would go for, I decided to simply take the same dessert she did, so she would always get the right dish with sparkles.

She picked ice cream and two brownies. Screw it, I thought, it’s an all-you-can-eat dinner. I counted it as a special occasion.

In the end, Lena ate my second brownie. I was full beyond reason.

Though I did manage to avoid carbonated sodas, so partial success for me?

Day 8

We’re nearing the end of our challenge. I’m not craving sugars, but I do feel like I’m missing out on a lot of things. For example when Lena was eating some Ben & Jerry’s today. Or Carolyn’s chicken stew, which is so delicious, but contained broth with added sugar, which meant I had to say no (though I did have some before I knew the ingredients). There’s probably not that much sugar in it, but the challenge is to have none at all.

Things like the chicken stew will probably find their way back into my menu after this week. On the other hand, I have no desire for things like candy or soda pop, so I’m happy with that result.

Day 9

I feel like I failed the challenge. Today, I again had various things with added sugars, but to be honest, I don’t feel like there’s a point in avoiding them altogether any longer. I’ve had too many mistakes and sins this week to consider the challenge a success, and these last two days also have plenty of moments where sugars are part of the occasion. I guess I’ll just accept that as it is, and enjoy these moments.

But though I failed the challenge, the challenge did not fail me. I’m taking enough teachings from this week and bring them into the future. For example, I’m reducing sodas to when there’s literally nothing else to drink. I’m also quitting sweet snacks during the day. Instead, I now prefer a piece of fruit. And the moments I do get to eat a sweet treat will be more special now.

So that’ll be it for this week and for I Never this month. Thanks everyone for the interest and the support. See you all again next month!


I have never tried bug burgers

There are many reasons why one would eat bugs instead of regular kinds of meat. It’s healthier and more environmentally sustainable. With a kid underway, I feel responsible for making sure these two values are maintained.

So for May’s I Never, I agreed with our friend Heidi to try out bug burgers.


Heidi inspecting the burgers.  We had some friends over for the finals of the Songfestival (which were moderately disappointing), so don’t mind the mid-party mess.


Insecta burgers! Made with buffalo worms.


Preparation of our meal.


And the result!

The big question of course is: how was it?

Well, it wasn’t bad. From time to time, there was a crunchy bit, which caused me to pause and wonder whether I just chewed the head of a bug, but I managed to convince myself that wasn’t the case and made it through the entire burger.

When it comes to taste, there isn’t much to it. It was actually kind of bland. We decided to add some ketchup to make it more interesting. Someone should invent herb mixes for bugs.

But the biggest problem I have is the price. We paid 3 euros for 2 burgers, which is significantly higher than what we usually pay for our meat. Though I find environmental sustainability important, it needs to be financially sustainable for ourselves as well. This will not be a regular thing.

Now to hope Lena will allow me to kiss her again soon.

Gotta Sketch ’em All

We did it! Over the course of the last 30 days, Lena and I drew a total of 151 different Pokémon! Like always, there were highs and there were lows, but I sure can look back at this project and say it was a good one. When looking back at day 1, all the way through to today, the quality of the pictures is somewhat improving. I also feel like learned a lot over the course of drawing. For example, I learned that most Pokémon have a total of three claws per leg. I also learned that for every Pokémon, there are at least 3 fan-made Mega evolutions (seriously, why?). And I think I’ve seen a real-life version of every single one as well. And, in the end, I think I learned some things to improve my drawing skills.

The Results

Also check them out on our DeviantArt: Lex and Lena.

The first drawings are made by Lex and the second drawings are done by Lena.

1 – Selfie Time!

01 - Selfie Time! 01 - Selfie Time!

2 – Dressed as a Princess02 02

3 – Chibi Pokémon03 03

4 – Easter0404

5 – Light and Darkness0505

6 – Happiness is…0606

7 – Pillow Fight!0707

8 – So Happy I Could Cry0808

9 – Snowball fight!0909

10 – Lost in Space1010

11 – There’s Something on your Face1111

12 – Board Game Fun1212

13 – Giant Pokémon1313

14 – Over the Rainbow1414

15 – Carnival1515

16 – Thunderstorm1616

17 – Crazy Weather1717

18 – Autumn1818

19 – High on Coffee1919

20 – Food Fight!2020

21 – Dreaming of Flying2121

22 – New Years2222

23 – High Up In The Sky


24 – Swimming in Chocolate2424

25 – Diving in the Ocean2525

26 – Different Emotions2626

27 – Robot Pokémon2727

28 – Halloween2828

29 – Yarr, Pirates!2929

30 – Summer3030

We have never sketched 151 Pokémon

There’s not much to say about this challenge. Lena suggested it a while back, and I’m going to try this out throughout April. The idea is ludicrously simple: randomly sort the list of the original 151 Pokémon (because drawing in order has been done to death) and draw 5 each day. And to mix it up even more, each day we have a random theme from one of the Artist vs. Artist challenges from the most recent Hearth’s Warming Con.

Execution is definitely going to be tricky, as I’m not a great artist and this is a large amount of Pokémon I have to draw in all sorts of poses and settings. Still, I won’t back down! Luckily, I have Lena to support and accompany me (yes, she’ll do the same challenge much better).

So, as of tomorrow, you can expect daily pictures from the both of us.

Follow our progress over on my DeviantArt and Lena’s DeviantArt.

I have never received a new name

Today was a special day. Even though we just met, Lena and I have taken big steps together, starting with moving in together in February 2015, buying a house together in September and finding out Lena’s pregnant that same month. Today, we combined all that into our next step: we got a civil partnership (geregistreerd partnerschap)!

First off, don’t worry if you weren’t invited to the proceedings. We went for the budget (read: free) option of Monday morning, 9:00 am, with little more than the bare necessities in terms of a ceremony. In this setting, we were only allowed to bring up to four people, who would be our witnesses. Because of the nature of the day, we each had our both parents accompany us.

The reason for this minor celebration is that we decided on getting a civil partnership to make sure everything was taken care of when our child arrives. Not that we don’t love each other or are not sure we would stay together: nothing is less true. But we do want to have that big wedding and a big party and a honeymoon right after. That takes money, and money is tight.

So, just half an hour today, with a small group. Though luckily in the expensive wedding room, as the free room was being renovated XD

Anyway, this post’s title relates to the major decision we had to make in this story: one of the reasons behind our civil partnership was to make sure that Lena, our child and I would be able to have the same last name. But: what name would it be?

There were four options: Lena’s last name Poortvliet, my name Utama or one of two combinations: Utama – Poortvliet and Poortvliet – Utama.

We quickly decided on not taking a combined name, because that would be too complicated. In the end, we decided on the Poortvliet name: it’s less error-prone (more often than not, people mispronounce Utama) and, sad as it may be, there is a higher chance of discrimination with a foreign-sounding last name, now more than ever with the ongoing refugee crisis.

It wasn’t easy to do this. By the Dutch regulations, I will keep my original last name, while being allowed to use Poortvliet as well. But still, it felt like giving up a part of myself. I guess it kind of is. However, in the end it feels like the right thing to do. And I will have a famous person related to me ^^

As for today, like I said at the start of this post, it was a special day. Somehow, nothing changed while everything changed. The big change is that instead of being boyfriend and girlfriend, we are now husband and wife. Sure, we promised to support each other and stay loyal. But with our love, that was a given anyway.

20160321_093916 (1)

Luff you bby <3

I have never missed an I Never post

Even though I had an entire week off from work this February, I failed to do anything for I Never, which in itself is something I’ve never done, so you’ll have to make do with this late meta post that has nothing to do with I Never.

The reason for my lack of time last month is of course Hearth’s Warming Con 2016. After the resounding success of HWCon 2015, we came back for a second wind and with an expanded version. Instead of the evening + Saturday we did last year, this year we extended it to an evening + weekend. Needless to say, this had its impact on the amount of work required. Even with the experience we got from last year, there was enough to be done to fill more than a full-time job.

But we did it, and judging from the first responses, we did it pretty well. Of course, there were many things that could have gone better and we have again learned new lessons that we can take to the future. In the end, almost any event will have its struggles. The important thing is that most of these problems stay within the organization and do not impact the visitor’s experience. It seems we managed to contain the chaos sufficiently.

So what was my experience of Hearth’s Warming Con 2016?

For me, the real deal started on Friday evening, when we set up for the pancake eve in the Pancake Pavilion. As we expected, this evening was fairly simple to setup, requiring us only to check for tickets and to enjoy our own dinner. Just like when we visited with the committee before the con, I took a Dame Blanche pancake, which was again divine. This day, I also had the pleasure of meeting M.A. Larson, who’s not only an interesting guest for what he does on the show, but also a great guy to simply have around. He interacted with his fans very well and people were very happy he attended the convention. But most of all, I enjoyed seeing some friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while. Stargaze, from Germany, prepared a care package with some goodies for our upcoming child, having had a daughter himself a few years ago. If you’re reading this, thank you so much again!

Saturday was the big day. I got up at 6:15 and left the hotel for the venue at 6:45. From that moment on, I was pretty much working all the time. Bringing items to the convention, picking up M.A. Larson and fixing any small issues that arose throughout the day: the life of a committee member is one of running around non-stop. It was probably around 18:30 that I found the time to sit down and eat dinner. During this break, I listened in on the party that was starting. I think MC Arch, or Oceanbolt as he is known in the Dutch brony community, is worth mentioning here, because he really nailed it. I wasn’t just surprised, I was overwhelmed. Though rap is not my type of music, he does know how to get the crowd going.

Anyhoo, after the party I took to hosting pony pictionary, which basically meant I had to hold a whiteboard up for people to draw on. It wasn’t very crowded, but we did have a lot of laughs. And just before heading home, I ended up assisting a group of bronies changing a flat tire. Not what I expected to do as committee, but we’re there to help in any way we can.

Sunday was easier. We had our setup still from Saturday, so we didn’t have to do much about that. The Sunday events largely took care of themselves. It was quieter, because some people had a long night of partying. And in general, it felt as if the staff got into the gist of the convention and were cruising on auto-pilot.

Because of this, we had more free time. I even managed to join the cosplay dating show, where I had to play Apple Bloom who tried to score a date. Turns out Apple Bloom is too young to date, and Baree playing Twilight Sparkle got to be the lucky winner. The event was a big success though, and I’d like to see it again.

Another highlight of that day was the Skype call with Claire Corlett (Sweetie Belle) and Chantal Strand (Diamond Tiara). I was on duty as audience question screener, so I managed to follow a lot of the panel. Everyone was enjoying the panel, and even more so when M.A. Larson sat down behind the laptop to ask them some questions.

But time flies, and almost straight after the Skype call, the con came to an end. We’ve been working for a whole year to put down three days of fun, and I’d say we did a great job. People were happy. People were sad it was over. And even now I see people online talking about how much they enjoyed it.

I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I mostly expected to feel relieved after the convention, but there is also a big part of after-con blues. Despite the enormous amounts of stress, I did enjoy it a lot.

Still, the convention being over opens up new opportunities. I’ll be working on the finalization of this year’s Hearth’s Warming Con, but there are other things on my path as well. I’ll be a dad soon, and I’m going to dedicate a lot of my time to that. Maybe there’ll be a next Hearth’s Warming Con as well. Maybe not. Time will tell.

Until then, I’m going to enjoy the quiet.

I have never lived like a vegetarian

This post was started on Wednesday 13 January. Unfortunately, due to a busy schedule, I wasn’t able to finish it until today. As it stands, I find that concluding an I Never activity with a blog post is taking me longer than I’d like. I’m considering a change in the format to decrease the reporting time and focus more on the activity itself. To be continued.

For now, enjoy this month’s I Never!

I don’t envy people who choose to be a vegetarian, but near the end of last year, Lena told me this would be a good I Never. I didn’t really see a reason not to do it, so here we are.

Now, I’m not planning on going the rest of my life without meat. After all, this is about the experience, not the life choice. I’m not even doing the entire month, basically because there’s two people in our household, and I don’t want to burden Lena with going an entire month with relatively little meat.

A week it is. I initially planned on starting the Monday morning, the first week of the year, but we had so much meat still in our fridge, that we would have to throw some of that away, which would be a waste.

It wasn’t until today that our meat supply more or less ran out, so I started today at 18:00. Why not start at 0:00? Mainly because there’s a vegetarian eating at our place tonight, and I don’t want to miss this opportunity to get a head start. And I guess it will be more fun to be awake when I complete the challenge and can eat meat again.

One thing to note is that my vegetarian diet will include no meat, but also no fish or bugs. If it’s an animal, I won’t eat it. Milk and eggs on the other hand, I will consume, because though I respect vegan’s life choices, I see no point in doing that.

During the challenge, I will maintain a log of what’s going on. The log won’t be published until I’m completely done, but it should give you an idea of the timeline.

Day 1, 21:47

The first few hours went by as well as they could, I suppose. We had guests for dinner, one of whom is a vegetarian, so Lena made a vegetarian curry, which was delicious. But I was also faced with my first challenge, because I was about to get some prawn crackers when Lena reminded me of what I was about to do.

I guess it’s harder than I thought.

Day 4, 12:32

So far so good. Last Thursday (day 2), we ate at some friends, one of whom is also a vegetarian, so that wasn’t so difficult either.

Yesterday (day 3) was even easier. We had leftovers from Wednesday, so I ate more of the curry, while Lena went for some nasi. Lena wasn’t satisfied with nasi alone, so later we ordered a half/half pizza: tuna on her half, vegetables on mine. I may have gotten a slight bit of tuna on my side, but eh… Nothing’s ever perfect.


It’s quite long after I did the actual I Never, so, the details are a bit hazy. I do remember that we bought vegetarian schnitzel with spinach, of which I ate two on two separate days. Basically, it highlighted the problem I have with vegetarian meat-products: they all taste the same. Even this schnitzel, which could have tasted like spinach, tasted like meat-replacement, which is a real shame.

In the end, it’s clear that a vegetarian lifestyle is not for me. Besides having to miss out on a lot of very tasty things (yum, spare ribs), you’re constantly checking everything for what it contains and it almost always tastes the same. That said, I am not against substituting meat for non-meat in things sauces, like the curry I ate. That taste is all about the sauce anyway, so I didn’t feel like missing out much.

Turn of the Year – 15/16

As of about April last year, Lena and I had a physical 2015 calendar. We had been living together for a while by then, and we thought it would be a useful addition to our home. As is to be expected, we bought a kitten calendar.

As the year drew to its end, we agreed on the usefulness of the calendar and we decided to buy a new one. However, it took a while before we finally found the perfect calendar, which is why as of yesterday we have an awesome Simon’s Cat calendar.

One of the things we did was filling it with all important birthdays this year, which involved me going through our old calendar. Although we only started it in April, there are a lot of good memories I associated with the various appointments.

Which brings us to this post. About this time last year, I  took a look at the year that had just passed and what I expected for the upcoming year in my first Turn of the Year.

Oh, how much I planned. And how much plans change during a year.

Let’s take a look at what happened, and what didn’t happen, this past year.

Early February: Lena moved in. Officially, it wasn’t until April that she was registered as living here, but as I got the entirety of February off, we thought it would be cool if she stayed over for a while. Turned out a while became a lot longer than we thought. It’s strange to imagine that at the start of 2015, we were still living apart. I’m very happy like this.

February 8: Onesie-cinema meet. We went to watch Spongebob The Movie in onesies. That was brilliant. Onesies are insanely comfortable and most people react very nicely (though some are just plain rotten). The movie was incredibly funny. All in all, a good meet.

February 20-21: Hearth’s Warming Con. Something that started all the way back in 2013 finally came to its conclusion. I’m glad to say that we were successful enough to have another go. Check www.hwcon.nl for everything about Hearth’s Warming Con 2016.

April 27: Lena officially moved in!

May 23: Eurovision Song festival. The first time I watched the entirety of the finals. I gotta admit, I’ve listened to a lot of those songs at work since then.

June 6: First visit of our new home. I remember this day. We were going to visit a friend for her birthday, but we decided to check a house first. The weather was beautiful. It was our first visit to a house, and we fell in love with it. But we didn’t dare imagine it would become our home.

July 30: Galacon. Another time visiting Galacon. It was good meeting old friends again, and I enjoyed my time as a volunteer. The Gala was amazing, with Lena and I “dancing” for the first time.

September 2: keys to our new house! Lena and I became home owners! It’s a big responsibility, but it comes with even bigger rewards: a place to completely call our own, as well as a solid investment in our future.

September 5: start of my week off of work. We originally planned to go hitch-hiking this week, but plans change and we put all our efforts into moving to our new home. We hoped to go hitch-hiking another time, but that may also change…

September 20: my birthday! There were many guests who visited us in our new house on my birthday. Both my family and a part of Lena’s family came over, meeting one another for the first time. They hit it off quite well, while we enjoyed the last barbecue of the season.

September 21: the strangest birthday gift I have ever received. On this day, we found out Lena is pregnant. We’re at week 19 right now, expecting to become parents either late May or early June. It’s very exciting, but also stressful. We thought owning a house was a big responsibility, but it pales in comparison to what’s ahead of us. But as long as all three of us are happy, everything will be fine.

September 30: the final day of Groenewold 222. Even though it was my first time living completely on my  own, I don’t miss it. I got a house of my own in return. A house that I am happy to share with my amazing girlfriend.

October 5: my first week of 5 days. Well, actually… My first week of 5 days was the week of October 26. October 5th was the first week of getting paid for a 5-day week.

November 30: my first week as scrum master at work!

December 14: our first real vacation together. I really enjoyed Hamburg!

December 20: Christmas dinner. We invited friends over for a Raclette dinner (gourmet for the Dutchies), which was extremely fun. Definitely something we’ll host again next year.

December 31: first New Year’s in our new house. Again, with friends over. We have a small patch of grass behind our house, where we were able to see over all the houses and enjoy the fireworks everywhere we could see. We had a great time, even though I didn’t have much time off from work.

Looking back, I did do most of the things I planned to do, but the big things this year were merely the groundwork for what’s yet to come. Our new house, a baby underway… Our lives are rapidly changing and won’t stop changing in the upcoming years.

There will definitely be difficult times, but it will be worth it. I’m ready for the next year.

I have never visited a Christmas market

Sometime around November, Lena and I realized we had never been on a vacation together. Sure, we went to Galacon, but that was also partly working as volunteers. So we did what any sensible couple would do: we bid on a vacation auction. The result: a three-day trip to Hamburg, including a stay at a hotel.

After some minor hassle getting the right date (we planned on going for a weekend, but were only allowed to go in a midweek), we flew to Hamburg for our first vacation together.

It was fun! A friend from the Galacon volunteer team gave us some advice on what to do beforehand. Our main activity: visiting a few of the Christmas markets.

Neither of us had any idea what Christmas markets really would be. It turned out that in Hamburg, it mainly revolved around lots of different types of food and drink, with drink meaning mostly Glühwein. With Lena’s pregnancy, she lost most of her appetite, so this was pretty much lost on her. We did eat some kale (boerenkool for the Dutchies), which was tasty (though not as tasty as in the Dutch cuisine).

And despite there being mostly food, we also found some nice stalls. We did have a good time.

Have some pictures of our adventures.


Lena eating boerenkool.


Though the center of Hamburg looks pretty nice, our hotel was in a bit of a slum part of the city. Here’s us walking to our hotel.


Glühwein! Not for Lena though, she had cacao.


I also came across this gem. 😀

Ramblings and other things