first snow day!

no, classes weren’t cancelled. but the snow was just pretty enough to make up for inconveniencing me. this was on Friday, December 7. also, Amstel Station is getting festive!

view from class

photo (1)

on my way to get a latte
photo (2)

Amstel Station wishes you “happy holidays”photo (3)

(i’m backdating this post, so it counts for yesterday!)


new post tonight or tomorrow!

it’s finals week, and i am SLAMMED! (not to mention i have an unhealthy addiction to The Simpsons: Tapped Out for iPhone/iPad. do you play? add me! -> kbarual)

in happier news, i’ll be home this time next week until early January. 🙂

puppies, puppies everywhere!

dogs are more than welcome all over the city. people bring them to parks, lunch, grocery shopping, etc. like they’re children, and that is perfectly fine by me. i can’t help but smile every time i see one. i’d say i’m one step beyond an animal lover.

this one came in and sat beside us in a cafe.


these are “Albert pups,” which are commonly seen outside (or inside) Albert Heijn grocery stores. notice the wall has hooks for leashes. just inside the front doors you’ll find something similar for when the weather is cold.


in Sarphatipark and quite good at retrieving a stick


and this little guy was at Noordwijk


this is  a very small sampling, but i can’t very well walk around photographing puppies all day (though i’d love to).

American products

They’re very difficult to find here (not necessarily “American” products but products that are sold in the US). There are a few familiar brands, e.g. Olay becomes Olaz, Frosted Flakes become Frosties, Cottonelle becomes Page. But you’ll probably have to go to a specialty store to find a decent selection.

So far I’ve been unable to find:

  • Pantene products
  • Neutrogena makeup
  • BareMinerals makeup
  • Crest toothpaste, etc
  • Jergens lotion
  • Aveeno products
  • sweet tea
  • breakfast sausage
  • Trident chewing gum
  • Bull’s-Eye BBQ sauce
  • PopTarts
  • Quaker oatmeal (assorted flavor packs)
  • pre-made pie crusts/pie tins
  • Fireball cinnamon whiskey
  • Various drinks (SunDrop, Diet Dr. Pepper, Mt. Dew)
  • coffee flavorings (like hazelnut creamer, Almond Joy creamer, etc.)
  • Victoria’s Secret (the only store is tiny in Schiphol (airport) and only has undergarments and fragrances)
  • tampons with plastic applicators (e.g. Tampax Pearl); they’re all cardboard here

Naturally, substitues for all of these are available, but it’s a bit annoying if you’re really particular about certain things (as girls tend to be with cosmetics).

A few places to find American products:

  • Eichholtz on Leidseplein, where I paid €12.99/$17 for a 16oz/1lb bar of Velveeta cheese. They also have PopTarts, candy, lots of drinks, Hamburger Helper, and seasonal items like Libby’s pumpkin pie canned and gingerbread house kits. Really overpriced, but sometimes worth it when it’s your only option.
  • has a pretty good selection. Free delivery within Europe.
  • Makro – it’s a bulk store that requires a membership (similar to Sam’s or Costco). If you know someone with a membership, they have a small American section that varies everytime I go in. Kraft Mac’nCheese, Lucky Charms, SwissMiss hot chocolate, Reese’s, A1, etc. Also a bit expensive, but every place is.

From Makro. The price on the left is with tax, on the right without.

Lucky Charms
€7.20 ($9.35)

€6.35 ($8.25)


Conclusion: It’s probably a good idea to pay the fee for an extra checked bag full of products you love.