Todd’s birthday started off slow but he came around slowly after many congratulations. As Barney and I first walked into the room and we were met with our first “congratulations”! We looked at each other rather puzzled as I said thank you. It took a good hour, maybe more, for us to realize, here in the Netherlands, everyone seems to get congratulated on one’s birthday. Not just Todd either, I get them, our friends even congratulated one another! Now I can’t tell if that is customary or if we happen to be acquainted with some of the sillier of the Dutch population ….. or what is most likely – a combination of both.

As I said, the day started of rather quietly……..as we walked in excited with our birthday treats Todd was very sleepy. We were feeling rather deflated, but as we pulled out the cards I have been saving up and the calls from his family trickled in, the energy in the room built up. By the end of the day we were all sitting around the bed, laughing, smiling, with a Dutch rendition of Happy Birthday no less! We feasted on chocolate mousse and also a caramel balsamico one as well, the lasagna will have to wait for the week to come, but it was there….and so was Simone.

The trip to the Kunsthal Museum was bittersweet. Barney and I postponed our trip on Thursday for a variety of reasons, the best of which was to be joined by Mascha & Jochem (they were just in Oakland not long before Todd came to Amsterdam). We met at the train station at ten and embarked on the 1 hour train ride to Rotterdam. The show proved to be an inspiration to us all, and what a treat to see so many works by one of Todd’s favorite artist. Jean Tinguely is very influential if not a pioneer in the genre of art Barney, Don, and Todd teach at CCA. The layers of his work can inspire anyone from the artist to the engineer to the child. Movement everywhere! Without a doubt, a show for everyone. The museum itself, I was to discover, is designed be Rem Koolhaas-OMA so I was also in for an additional treat. I notice right away how the building met the sidewalk, which is generally not such clearly delineated moment. The catalog is in Todd’s drawer waiting for an opportunity to share………our first attempt was met with a sound nap. How much he would have enjoyed the experience was clear to us all. I fantasized about putting him in his wheelchair and heading off to the train station…..

It has since been determined that the food rejection we have been experiencing as of late is due to the NEG tube (nose tube), it seems like he is having problems swallowing with the tube in his throat (I can imagine). So this week the tube is removed and we hope to see an improvement in speech and swallowing. Boy, do I wish I could do something to help things along….I continue to bring tantalizing treats to make sure he will at all times have an alternative to hospital cuisine.

Alas there are times when impatience rears its head, but I beat it into submission. It goes without saying we miss our home, our friends and our family. There are some lovely friends here that keep us smiling and make Amsterdam also a special place, that is now almost home. Here the rain has slowed down and the sun considers showing itself.

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