2014 in review

I keep seeing so many end-of-year comments and posts today that I have to keep checking that today is really the 30th and not the 31st. Fortunately, there’s still a day or two left of 2014 to get things sorted, including the purchase of oliebollen tomorrow, not to mention the Hoppin’ John that needs to be made for the first. And today is my first day back at work at Vino Veritas in over a week. We’ve been closed for part of it, due to the holidays and normal days off, but I’ve been out due to round two of the cold from hell. I’m feeling much better today, though, thank goodness.

Anyway, WordPress has gathered up their statistics for the year, and I thought I’d share them for lack of will to do research on other topics. And I still have to do my Rotterdam Markthal post, but there are so many pictures from which to choose! Maybe next year. If you’re curious about some of my stats for the year, you’re welcome to check out the report below. The most interesting thing to me, as I discovered the other day doing my own stats review, is that the BBC article that came out more than a year ago is the largest referrer to my blog, outside of search engines, Twitter, and Facebook. I still get at least one click-through from that article almost every single day, and often many more. It seems to be doing the rounds again this past month or so, as the number of daily visits has increased recently.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 53,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 20 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

If I don’t get around to blogging tomorrow, here’s one last photo of the sun setting over Utrecht and 2014. Thanks to all of my visitors this year, both new and old.
Winter Sunlight

Cultural Integration

We frequently watch BBC’s program called Coast, which explores Great Britain’s coastlines, along with those of other nearby countries. One episode focused on the Netherlands, but I missed that episode when it first aired and only recently tracked it down. Watching it this afternoon, I realized that although my Dutch is still limited, my cultural integration has definitely expanded.

The program featured a short piece on fierljeppen, which I’ve written about before. I recognized it immediately, and soon realized that I even recognized one of the athletes! Sure enough, I looked through my photos from the event we went to last year and found the guy in the video, Jaco van Groot. How’s that for integration! Not only did I immediately know what sport they were doing, but I even recognized the athlete.
Setting Up

In another segment of the show, there was a Dutchman used as a local guide during a visit to Scheveningen. (They mispronounced it in the voiceover, something which could have gotten you shot during WWII when the name was used by the resistance as a test to prove that the person actually was Dutch and not a Nazi infiltrator.) While at the beachside town, they enjoyed some raw herring. As I watched and listened to the local, I soon realized that I did, in fact, recognize him, as well! His name is Philip Walkate, and I recognized him from his humourous bits about the Dutch inburgeringscurse (integration course).

And, of course, there was the bit about Dutch cuisine. As they commentators discussed the popularity of Indian cuisine in Britain, I knew immediately that they were going to be talking about the popularity of Indonesian cuisine here in the Netherlands. I knew that meant one of two things, saté or the broader rijsttafel. They went with the rijsttafel, a meal that goes well with my love of a selection of lots of smaller dishes.

I was ridiculously thrilled to recognize the athlete and comedian and to realize that I was very familiar with much of the information they provided, although the story about Texel island up north during WWII was something new and fascinating. My cultural integration is moving right along.