Author Archives: Bicycle Mum

About Bicycle Mum

A geographically challenged, under-employed, on the go, exhausted mum of bicycle crazy boys and an equally (if not more) fanatical hubby.

2014 UCI BMX World Championships – Ahoy Rotterdam

For nearly 2 years now we have been preparing for the 2014 UCI BMX World Championships in Rotterdam.  If Mr 10 didn’t qualify for the Team USA Cycling, we decided that we would just be going to Rotterdam to watch the racing anyway, ‘coz how often is a World Championships in your backyard?

So over a year ago we booked a hotel about a kilometer from the Ahoy stadium and Mr 10 kept riding, training and racing with his beloved Dutch BMX club, the FCC de Boscrossers Heiloo, North Holland.  He has never won a race or even gotten onto the podium in all the racing that he has done here in Europe, but he is tenacious, persistent and driven and really wanted to qualify for the USA BMX team badly.  Once the USA team was announced we asked for a discretionary nomination since we are already here in the Netherlands, and it was accepted in late May, but disaster struck in early June when he broke his arm at school.  There is nothing quite like getting that call from school “Hello, this is the school nurse.  Is this …..’s mum?”  Ugh, my stomach dropped, my mouth got dry and I knew something was wrong, but thankfully it wasn’t as bad as we thought…. just five weeks and three different casts.  Not a problem – we can handle this!  But can he???


He was a super trooper and after the first week of the chalky white cast be worn, that was quickly graffitied by all this mates, and by his ever loving mum who wrote “Now we should rename you Walker”.  The 2nd red cast that was nearly up to his smelly-boy armpit was fitted and he started riding his road bike in the living room on the trainer.  I suddenly and inadvertently became a spin coach 5 days a week.  “Okay, two minutes of gentle spinning…. and GO!” “Okay, up 4 gears, faster, faster, faster…. and GO!”  Yes, barking orders seems to be my forte (I am a mum after all)! 

The third cast was orange, only to his elbow and he was able to swim and shower with this one. Life had just gotten better for him.  The impending school camp wasn’t going to be the pits just sitting in the corner watching his friends have fun, now he could join in with everything and basically be a crazy water loving boy again!

They are a little strange, but I still love them!
I had been shuttling the two monsters back and forth in a bakfiets that had I borrowed from a friend for the couple of weeks that he was out of commission.  Bakfiets really are the greatest thing, I was actually quite stressed out when he broke his arm because I just didn’t want to drive everywhere, having the bakfiets made me happier, made the boys happy and as you can see by the video above, they loved every minute of being silly together.

Once his arm was healed enough and he could ride on his own again, I had to give the bike back, that was a terribly difficult day for me and not just because I jogged the 7km home instead of riding.


Once back on the bike with his little skinny pale arm, and he got to train on the BMX track a couple of times and his dad took him out on the road bike a few kilometers every day, but nothing too strenuous or jarring as his arm was still a little tender after a few hours.

Soon the time had come – Monday, 21 July 2014.  We spent the morning packing and stacking the car.  A few suitcases, bikes, bags of random “stuff”, a few cameras, a few flags and a couple of silly boys…. we were finally off to Rotterdam.


The major port city of The Netherlands is only an hour and a half south of where we live, so the drive was definitely not tedious.  The boys watched a movie and didn’t even get to finish it by the time we arrived at the hotel.
You ready to go?
The Art Hotel Rotterdam was our home away from home for the week, and I am so glad.  Our booking was made over a year in advance which obviously helped reduce the room rate by half -SCORE!!  It was only 1km to the stadium, straight up a wide tree-lined street through the African district of Rotterdam.  There were convenience stores, restaurants, take-aways and a Metro and tram station next to the hotel, as well as underground parking.  On the way to the stadium was a massive shopping mall with an Albert Heijn supermarket conveniently placed along the footpath, so supplies were never an issue for my locust like children.

Art Hotel Rotterdam
Metro Station Maashaven directly outside hotel entrance.

The hotel lobby and our room were gorgeous.  Beautiful old up-cycled furniture and interesting mixed art adorned our room, but I think my boys like the funky carpet the best!  The only thing the room seriously lacked was a ceiling fan.  Once the rain passed, Rotterdam heated up a lot and inside our hotel room was like a tropical summer in South East Asia!  No aircon, no ceiling fan and windows that only opened a crack left my Arctic weather loving hubby very sticky, grumpy and uncomfortable!




Once we unpacked the car (and that took a good long while) we took a stroll in the drizzle to the Ahoy Stadium to see the finishing touches being put onto the BMX track and check out our entertainment centre for the week.

Can I ride it to BMX?
Tree lined walk (notice the size of the bike lane?)
 2010 TdF Prologue started here – this truly is cycling nirvana!
A drizzly afternoon welcomes us to Ahoy.
Brace yourselves – WE ARE HERE!
Putting the finishing touches on the track…

So after we sussed out the track, realizing that it is short, the start hill is VERY high and the first straight is going to be make-or-break for the racers, we then fortunately ran into a few friends from around the world as BMX is a very small community.  Once sharing similar opinions of the track, we walked back to the hotel and got some delicious shawarma for dinner from the takeaway across the street.


After dinner, Team USA had their first meeting at their team hotel, so off the boys went excited to meet new team mates and make the plan for the week.  A few hours later they came back with the USA jersey’s and team packs.  VERY COOL!



Yep!
The kit!



Now he is ready to ride….

Tuesday morning, the sun made a welcome appearance and he got to do his first practice on the track.  He could barely finish his breakfast as he had a grin just wouldn’t leave his little face.  So was so amped!

Little bro wants to be just like his big bro.
Heading in….
Team USA arriving for their practice right as Mr 10 is gearing up.
Team Australia rolling in.
Butterflies in his tummy.
Mr 4 found a friend from Virginia to watch the French riders with him.

Once our little rider was into the team area he had to wait for Team USA’s practice to start with the Swiss, the Aussies, and the South African’s, at which time we headed into the stadium, as parents can’t stay with their riders, and we had a look at the Expo to see what was on offer and to get a few t-shirts and a small cuddly for the boys – basically just to spend all our money.


Mission accomplished…

Cuddles waiting for “bubba” on the track.
The sea of stars and stripes waiting for their turn on the track.
Go Aussies! (That’s a bloody nice helmet – btw.)
Modeling next years Worlds poster for Zolder, BE.
Coming into the finish on his third and final practice lap of the day.

After his practice, where the South Africa families clearly won the competition for best cheering, it was back into the Expo for the boys to hang out for a little while longer and let them enjoy themselves.



Talking Strider-track tactics
Waiting to get onto the pump track with the whole world.
This is what BMX is about. Hard competitors on the track, but as soon as they roll over the finish line these kids play together and become best mates.  Borders do not matter.  Skin colour does not matter.  Language does not matter.  Geography does not matter.  Fun, friendship, experiences and sportsmanship is the only thing that matters here!

Scooter Worlds?
“Mum, we are coming back to Belgium next year right?”
Right outside the stadium doors.
Genius. Weird. Self Explanatory. Gross. Brilliant.
Heading back to the hotel after practice, lunch and mega 
play time. Mum and dad are pooped – too bad the 
monsters are not!

The view from our room at about 2200.

Wednesday morning was another gate practice session.  I had to go the The Hague, which I discovered was only 30km from Rotterdam, so I missed his  track session, but I needed to collect a package from his wonderful sponsor “SockGuy” who sent him some special USA socks specifically for his race. By the time I got back to the stadium it was just after lunch andI found them hanging out with friends catching the Belgian, German and Dutch practice sessions.  There were a LOT of Dutch riders, it was basically an Oranje washout! 

The Mothership
Practice #2. Ready to conquer it!
Belgium and Germany heading onto the track.

Checking out the competition together.
Team mates, besties and opponents from
FCC de Boscrossers (and a little brother).

Team USA after the 2nd practice ride.

After practice, photos and hanging out with friends we went and checked out the BMX museum and movie and found some really retro stuff.

We found some old skool bikes and plates. Crit plate is
our friend and Mr 10’s sponsor so we were excited to see this
old plate on a vintage BMX.
I am completely terrified of E.T. but my boys thought it was neat.


My husband is now kicking himself that he no longer has his bikes from when he was a kid, but I think he wanted to take every one of these machines home and make a museum in our loungeroom.




Moto’s were then posted with over 120 racers from 27 countries, with 7 Americans in the 11yr old Boys category on the UCI website.  So he had over 119 boys to race against.  The nerves started to kick in…

It was going to be a 0500 start on Thursday to be on the track at 0700.  Augh… everyone was jittery!  I am not sure that any one of us slept well Wednesday night as it was so HOT in the room, but we got a little rest at least. I think?

Thursday morning arrived quick smart, we shoveled down a big breakfast, got our jersey’s on and headed out to the car, but not before a few silly USA photos.

Love these goofballs!
Wonder where they are going?
“So are you ready to race?”
Excited much?

We reached the stadium at 0635 and the carpark was still not open.  People started unloading kids and getting ready in the street. Not an ideal situation for the families that arrived a little after 0645 as they were being unloaded out on the main road between traffic lights.  A lot of very unhappy parents sounded off about that on the way in!

The parking gate was still not open at 0700.
Riders and families were late, but the stadium still
charged everyone 12.50 to park.  Outrageous!

Once into the stadium, we got some good seats right at the end of the first big turn, hung the American flag on the rail and waited impatiently for the racing to commence.   Our boy was about to ride and represent America.  HOW. COOL. IS. THAT?

He had three moto’s to get through and we were hoping that he would at least make it into the next stage, but nerves  and the start hill got the better of him, and many many others.  He came in last in all three, but we couldn’t be more proud of him (and terrified) for even attempting competition at this level!  He represented America in the best way possible, with grace, spunk and sportsmanship.  As parents you can never ask for anything more!

Die hard fans!
Some gorgeous mum and her littlest monster.
Once racing had finished the kids went crazy swapping jerseys with each other.  We ended up with a Japanese jersey, that I negotiated for with a lovely Japanese family from Yokohama.  See, my Japanese does come in handy sometimes!  A Zimbabwe jersey was the next cool acquisition, the family who asked to swap was stoked to get an American jersey too.  Mr 10 and his team mate from the FCC de Boscrossers then traded jerseys.  These two look similar anyway, especially in their local team gear, but once they swapped the American for the Dutch, they looked like twins.  I traded my jersey for an Aussie jersey (thank goodness I bought a spare t-shirt).
Who is Dutch?  Who is American?
Finally it was time to go outside and collect all the gear and the bike from the team area.
“I wanna take it mama! I can help”
OMG!  Caroline Buchanan!
Caroline Buchanan from Australia, the (then) current BMX World Champion, walked out of the team area so I grabbed her for a photo.  She is one of my favourite athletes, so very talented and extremely generous with her time especially for women in sport.  As I introduced myself to her, she said that she had been talking to my son inside.  Awwww…. I love moments like that!  When he came out, just after I said goodbye and good luck to her, he was excited to tell me that he just started chatting with her and he told her that I was Aussie and his dad was American.  He was a little star struck – but I am certain I was far more!  She rocks!  Sadly though, she ultimately crashed in her final moto and finished fifth in the semi final, unable to qualify for the final.  Hopefully next year she will be World Champion again!

A few more photos around the stadium finished our day off.  Everyone was tired and hot and ready to go back to the hotel and relax.

Dutch team mates and his BMX coach.
On Friday after we had all slept-in, then taken a few deep breathes and had a decent breakfast, we decided to go to the Natural History Museum.  So across to the metro station we went, but it was going to be nearly 30Euros for a three kilometre round trip, so we decided to take advantage of the cooler weather and walk.  
Part of the way there, we stopped at a supermarket and got some rolls and cold cuts and had a small picnic in a grassy area.  Along the edges of the grass where photo images of old Rotterdam, so of course I had to get photos of them.

             

Once our tummies were all satiated we were off again toward the Museum…  
You don’t expect to see tractors with trailers full of hay in the
middle of the city, but here – you do.
These guys make me smile (when they are being good)
Some really interesting architecture.
Wind turbine props used for seating.
So much new architecture but nothing is as gorgeous as the old.
Found it!

Rockin’ a nose ring but I think I need to pluck my
neck hairs.
Loved the kids artwork on display in the museum.
No. That is not a person about to jump off the roof.
Yes. That is a whale penis in the bottom right corner.
Some big shoes to fill.
Found them!
Feeding some hungry friends.
Salmon Harbour.  Yes, I would live there!
Bike, boat, building.
The Abel Tasman. Apt for an Aussie.
Highway to heaven.
Drijvand Pavillion – conference and functions centre.
Canal boats.
We had a great day at the museum and then feeding the ducks.  Ever since then Mr 4 has convinced himself and us, that he is a “baby duck” which of course, is terribly cute.

That night my hubby and our little racer went back the the stadium to watch more practice, this time the Elites.  Mr 4 and I had dinner in the hotel restaurant which was absolutely superb! Thursday night he wanted fish, so we had shared catfish, and he promptly devoured. Friday night we got the Chef’s special – a trio of fish, which included tuna, salmon & a white fish (but I can’t remember the name) with mashed potato and seasonal veggies.  It was sooooo incredibly good!  The waitress made a mistake though and bought us two plates of dinner instead of just the one to share.  I sent the other back, but about 5 minutes later the restaurant manager came back with the plate and said it was on the house.  I don’t know about you, but I think that free food always tastes more fabulous!  Of course, we ate both plates but we almost needed to sit on a bike to roll us back up to the room.  Littlest monster went to sleep soon after that.  A happy full belly of good food always helps!

Saturday morning we packed up the car and rolled out by lunch time.  See ya Rotterdam it was fun!  Then it was back to North Holland, and onto another adventure… but first we had 6 loads of washing to do!

We would like to thank the wonderful sponsors who helped get Mr 10 geared up and ready for the UCI BMX World Championships in Rotterdam this year:

SockGuy
Crankbrothers

GoPro

You have been brilliant, generous and extremely supportive! 
We really hope he did you proud! 
Thank you!

Aussie in The Netherlands on game day

Flying some pride!

I shuttled the monsters to school, but first I decided to make the Burley a little more “appropriate” for the day, hoping by sheer will that the mighty Soceroos will thrash Oranje.  I really do love the Dutch by the way, it is just today…. well… I am flying the Green and Gold and a lot of Aussie flags!


So this is what my day looked like…
Aussie shuttle service
My gorgeous friend taking her pup
& daughter for a ride to the dunes
after school drop off.

About to hit the trails.

Lovink the name!
A nice little section of the trail through the dunes behind our house.
Met this lovely couple on the trail.  They are spending the next few
weeks cycling around The Netherlands.  

 

Tot ziens!  
Elf dwellings
…has some visitors.
Found myself in Bergen Aan Zee.
Facing down the North Sea.
Gorgeous houses, but a little hard to see tucked away.

Udderly rediculous!
Can’t imagine who these sparkling beauties are barracking for?
Like a bridge over green water…
Bergen Ruinekirk preparing for the hundreds of walkers participating
in a 4 day walk around North Holland.
The Aussie flags were attracting a lot of Oranje attention.

So much beauty!

Moto of today!

No day in the life of a mum is complete without a trip to the supermarket, right?  Even the supermarkets are getting into the Oranje spirit!  

Very Dutch indeed!

Everything was orange, even the supermarket hamsters.

Hamstereeeeeeeeeeeeen!
Crazy for orange!

Sugar high.
Team shirts and dresses sold in the supermarket.

Futbol shaped bread.

Snack sets and decorations.

Bedding and towels. 

Seriously, you can deck out a whole house with Dutch Team pride! 

Cheese.

More cheese… and yummy stuff!

A supermarket employee and a customer (friends) with the
“one and only Aussie brave enough to wear her colours”.

Choccies

And flora
Of course the bars were in the spirit of things.

Dutch pride everywhere.

Even the littlest love it!

What a beautiful day in such a great country!

Well done The Netherlands, you played a stellar match against the mighty Socceroos!  You should be very proud and I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to experience it here with you!

Bedankt!

Color me happy!

We made it!
Clean and ready to go…

On Saturday May 31, 2014 we “ran” in the Color Run Amsterdam.  It was truly the Happiest 5km On The Planet!

Priority parking outside the entrance.
At least an hour before the first group ran.

At least an hour before the first group runs, and it is packed, the party is thumping, race numbers being pinned, tattoos applied, t-shirts being exchanged, last stop for the porta-potties and everyone is already having a great time!

Tagging and bagging
My little runners
“Can’t see me Mama”
Heading to the start line to “warm up” and party!
I am not certain that a Strider, a Burley or a Crit Plate have ever done a Color Run before, but they certainly have now.  I am glad I bought them as I think 5km might have been just a little too much for Mr 4 to walk or run by himself, and he is such a heavy weight that I could not carry him that far, even though I would have been forced too!
Three…

Two…

One… we are off…

That is not a happy starting line face!

The start was loud so he hopped in the Burley & got his first dose of color.

1km away and the air has turned red… exciting!

Running the red…. so fun!
Seeing the world through rose colored glasses
Trotting into the green machine
“It’s like dry boogers”
“Keep running Mama, I want more paint!”
A civilised moment on the route.
Two cool dudes.
All ages.  All abilities.  All good fun.
Who said tutus weren’t cool?
Sums it up…
We couldn’t stop grinning.
Can you even imagine what it would have been like had it been raining? We were so lucky to have such gorgeous weather!
Clowns
Rockin’ my black & white tie-dye pants!
Seriously, we didn’t do a lot of running.  Neither did anyone else for that matter.  There were of course a few “real runners” who were there to obviously get some exercise, but for the rest of us, we were there to have a tonne of fun!


I don’t know what we would do without the Burley!
Gritty teeth!
Cyclocross?


I love the “tutu epidemic” and hope that it is here to stay.  It should NEVER EVER matter what you wear or what you look like, as long as you are out there having a good time and getting in amongst it!  These girls rocked their tutu’s, as well as so many others that day! 

My little loves.

Seeing spots.

Mr 4 got a lot of attention!
And so did Mr 10!
Pinky and the Brain Brain Brain Brain….
Mr 4’s love!
Ambo’s on bikes?  Brilliant!
Mini-tutu!
WE DID IT!
Little bags of HAPPY!
My boys love good tunes!
Lots of hungry peeps!
It tasted sooooo good!
COLOR!
Mr 10 in amongst it.  Gets that from his mum!
Having a ball!
Found more spectacular tutu-girls (Now I wish I had one!)
The boys and I didn’t stop dancing as soon as we hit the finish area.  They most definitely take after their mum and I have promised to take them to a music festival one day.  They seem to have great taste in music so far, I will also take full credit for that!
“Mum, I am so tired – I can’t walk anymore”
Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have had the foresight to buy that Burley nearly 10 years ago?  I don’t know what we would do without it?  I do know that my children would be walking a whole lot more though!  
Post run carnage. 

Back at the car I made the boys change and I put towels on the seats so they wouldn’t leave painty bum marks everywhere.  Mission accomplished.  I can’t say the same for painty tyre marks in the back though… but oh well!

The next day I hosed down the Strider and the Burley in the yard, and after an afternoon in the sun, the Burley was dry and usable again.  Seriously LOVE that thing!

Here is the official Color Run 2014 Amsterdam footage.

See you at the next one!

My ride…

This is what my ride looked like this morning.  I ride different bikes all the time.  Some are mine and some I borrow from friends.  I ride what is comfortable, what suits my purposes and I usually never go too fast.  I don’t like fast as it kinda scares me, and I don’t get to see, hear and feel what is going on around me.  I like slow.  I like steady.  I like to ride….

I like my ride.

Hovenring – The Floating Bridge


I have, for about two years now, seen post after post on cycling, environment and architectural websites with stories and photos of a legend and an urban myth known as the Floating Cycling Bridge or Hovenring.  Of course it is a special piece of Dutch engineering that incorporates style, complete functionality and safety for the improvement of cycling and pedestrian conditions on a very busy intersection.  

But is it real?  Does it actually exist?
Why yes.  Yes it does.  And it is so famous that even has it’s own website.  

It is situated in Eindhoven, North Brabant which is 170kms south of where we live, and 120km south of Amsterdam.  It’s name literally means the “Ring of the Hovens” as it is at the intersection which connects Eindhoven, Veldhoven and Meerhoven.


On Saturday 5th April it was an unseasonably
 warm day with a very shiny ball in the sky, so we decided to chuck our bikes and the bike-trailer in the back of the car and we headed south.  Madagascar 3 was the movie of choice for the trip as the boys snacked and played… and were never ever annoying!  No.  *Note sarcasm*

From quite a distance away we spotted the 70m tall pylon in the centre of the structure.  The intersection that it encircles is a 4 lane highway with a large median breaking up the lanes.  I would assume being a pedestrian or cyclist at this intersection in the past would have been a little harrowing, as although the Dutch are far better at negotiating and not hindering pedestrians and cyclists than any other country I have traveled too, at big intersections there is still a lot that can go wrong.  It was formerly a roundabout, but traffic became overwhelming, so the decision was made to separate car traffic and cycling traffic and turn the roundabout into a regular intersection instead.
We found the Park and Ride nearby that seemed to be specifically designed, built and positioned for the Hovenring and it’s users.  Although there was a bus stop right at the P&R most drivers were parking and then renting bikes or using their own to ride onto or near the bridge.  The P&R has a lovely cafe, rest area and covered area for rentals. Trust the Dutch to build infrastructure to support it’s amazing ingenuity!
We piled out of the car, hooked up the trailer and off we pedaled, straight up the slight slope of the red cycle path, negotiating our way around stray balloons left on the path from a group of squealing girls, and onto the suspended Hovenring.  
The day was not terribly windy and there were not too many pedestrians or cyclists, but all those young and old were enjoying the sunshine, taking photos or just going about daily life. 
The structure itself is not as big as I imagine it to be.  However, saying that, it is very interesting to ride around on top of traffic and very cool to look at.  I am certain that everyone on the bridge that day thought that I was a complete lunatic for recording and photographing what we were doing… that is just par for the course in my life!

Keukenhof – A ravishing beauty!

Since this is our second and last spring season in the Netherlands, I felt it imperative to get our “Dutch on” and what better way to channel our inner Nederlander than strolling through the worlds largest flower garden only 63km south of our house, and 35km south west of Amsterdam, in a town called Lisse, South Holland. 

It is only open for three months a year from 20 March to 18 May so I didn’t want to miss out on seeing it’s extraordinary beauty.  I bought tickets the night before for the Keukenhof.  Tickets were Adults 15 and Kids 4-11yrs 7.50, parking was 6.  Buy the parking ticket together with your entry as it is chaos getting out of the carpark without it. The parking lot is HUGE spanning a few fields in from of the park and I hear you can also park in town, but of course there will be tariffs for that as well.


Keukenhof means ‘Kitchen Courtyard’ in Dutch, and was originally the 15th century hunting grounds on the estate of the Teylingen Castle.  This gorgeous park now covers 32 hectares and amazingly, has over 7 million bulbs planted each year.

We ate as soon as we walked in the gates.  There was a lovely little bistro with fresh sandwiches, salads and paninis, smoothies, freshly squeezed juices, and coffee and tea.  You are able to bring your own food in as well, but dotted throughout the park are rest areas with cafes and some food carts with icecream, wafels, and coffee.
It is truly one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen, and even though the boys were not keen on going to a “boring garden” in the morning, they ran and played all day and I had trouble getting them out of the park at closing time!


















You know you are geographically challenged when….

1.  You wake up in the morning and forget where you are.

2.  Sounds of the morning are strange.  Bird calls, the hum of traffic, morning colours and church bells tolling are all different everywhere you go.

3.  You go to call your bank and realize that there is a 10hr time difference, and when you finally do get through to a human being, you get angry at them for not being at work when it is convenient for you.

4.  If you hear your native language or accent on the street, you cringe, then double-take and then follow that person like a crazy stalker.  Within hours they are your new best friend.

5.  Your bookshelf is full of books and magazines in many different languages.

6.  Your house has a random scattering of international trinkets.  Nothing of any real monetary value, but everything has an unusual story, a piece of history or precious memories attached to it.

7.  Everyone in the house speaks two or three different languages, and not all the same ones, which makes traveling and meeting new people far easier but some conversations amongst yourselves a little more of a challenge.

8.  You have a different word for certain everyday articles. eg. Underpants/onichan pantzu/undies/onderbroek.  Take your pick.

9.  School reports are written in multiple languages which is not always so enlightening but makes for quite a relief for your kids, especially if they have been mucking up.

10.  Your kitchen cabinets resemble the shelves of an international supermarket, and you have had friends ask you for random ingredients; most of which you are able to provide.

11.  A laminated chart of cooking temperature conversions from Celsius to Fahrenheit is in your kitchen just in case you forget where you are.

12.  Cooking with a cell phone or computer near by is a must, to translate either the ingredients for your shopping list, or the actual cooking instructions.  And said translation actually takes longer to execute than the cooking itself!

13.  Converting petrol/gas/benzine prices from US$ to Euro’s to A$ to Yen gives you headache but talking with family and friends about the “absolutely outrageous prices” are what everyone seems to do during a regular conversation.

14.  Converting miles to kilometers is also headache.  Why can’t the world just all be metric?

15.  You have 2 different paper sizes in your office.  A4 & Letterhead.  Why do people need to read in two different sizes?  

16.  Your music choices are eclectic to say the least and even if you can’t speak French, you can belt out Papaoutai like a true Parisian.

17.  Your kids favourite songs are not ones from their birth land.  They can sing in different languages and actually know what they are singing about.

18.  Your kids are coming home from school with a new accent and different way to spell.  This is my personal favourite because they are speaking and spelling correctly – finally!

19.  You have at least 5 different currencies in your wallet, but still not enough to buy a cappuccino.

20.  When you travel, you take every form of ID known to man with you, even ones from the previous 3 countries – just in case…

21.  When the assumption is you are from one country, but you are really from another, on the other side of the world.  

22.  Your accent is peculiar, because much like a lyrebird, when you are with a group of people you adapt to mimic their speech patterns.  The only time you speak naturally is with your family or good friends from your birth country.

23.  You have lived outside your country of birth longer than you lived in it.

24.  Your parents have never lived at the same address for more than 3 years, so it must be a genetic thing, right?

25.  Filling out forms that ask for the previous 3 addresses and telephone numbers breaks you out into a sweat, as you can only remember the phone number from 11 years ago, in Japan, off by heart.

26.  You have memorized all the country codes to everywhere you have lived, everywhere your friends and family lived and every country around them, especially if you live in Europe.  You can not however, remember the code of the current country that you live in.  Or your telephone number.  Or your address.

27.  Your fashion choices are “worldly”.

28.  Your dream house (the amazing house in your head, that will probably just stay there) has the very best of everything from everywhere you have lived.

29.  Speaking to family can cause trepidation when that one little question is uttered – “When are you coming home?”  

30.  You know that home is anywhere where your kids are smiling and happy, your bikes are ready to ride, your clothes are in the washing machine and you have a hot cup of coffee or tea ready in the morning.  And mid-morning.  And lunch-time…. Well, you get it…