Sunday, November 06, 2016

Lovely Leiden: Sunday Afternoon in A Cute Dutch City & A Lost Kitten

Leiden Windmill, City Center
 So, today I took a break from everything to spend a few hours in Leiden, a small Dutch city. As you can imagine I've spent most of the last week launching my site, The Teaching Cove. My new blog is for English teachers and educators looking for expert resources, motivational and organizational tips, so I really haven't had time to do much else. Of course, that means this week will be major catch-up time on my PhD data analysis (post-preprocessing) plan, and a research proposal for a class I'm auditing. 

Leiden was my mini-break today. 

This morning started out with panic, though...


Abla peeking from behind the sofa arm
We awoke to find that one of the kittens was missing.  Abla, the beautiful grey European shorthaired pictured here, wandered off last night with the other cats (there are 5 that live here at the moment!) and wasn't waiting at the door this morning. They had just been vaccinated, but they are tiny and it was cold, wet, and rainy so we were really afraid Abla was scared and cold.

Now, cats are very different to dogs. Really, I never expected to love little kittens so much, but it would be sooo hard for me to have one. Cats do their own thing and wander off into other people's yards and come back; they attach themselves more to places and food than people. That's a problem for me, as I attach myself to the pet! It turns out, so does Kiara. She's Abla's "adopted mom". They cuddle together and K is always licking Abla as if she were a puppy. It's sooo funny, especially since she seems to only have adopted her a couple weeks ago. (Cat moms, and sometimes dog moms too, I've heard, often reject their kittens after a few months as they believe they should be "grown up"). Kiara has happily filled the role of adopted mom!  I've been trying to catch a video of them all week!

At the time I started writing this post (on the train back from Leiden) we had no idea where Abla was so we were worried and sad...)


Poster at one of the Leiden book binding booths
Leiden is a small, cute city lined with cobblestone streets, quaint stores and cafes. The Pieterskerk, the main church and square were holding an event today, so I only got a few shots of the inside after paying a few euros to attend the event.

What event?   you ask?

A book-binding event

What?!

Apparently, it exists. It was like an old-fashioned scrapbooking convention. There were rows and rows of exhibitors with different book cover materials (paper and leather), printed notebook paper and wrapping paper, threads to bind the books and different types of pens and accessories. 

There were vendors selling everything from notepads to Christmas cards to 20 euro notebooks made from really fragile paper. I went to the demonstration section, where you could bind your own mini paper book for free, but I just observed. I definitely don't have the sewing/fine motor skills for that ;) I'll stick to photography and painting!

This is definitely my favourite photo of the photoshoot today. How lucky was it that the plant and the bike matched?!


Orange bike, Leiden, Holland

Check out the slideshow below for more Leiden scenery! Remember, if you're on a mobile device, please click here to see my Leiden Flickr set and flip through instead.



After a short, but sweet trip I arrived home late evening and, as usual, took Kiara out for a bathroom break. Suddenly, I saw a cat jump into one of the neighbours' gardens. It looked like a black cat and I was thinking, you're just hoping it's AblaIt was black, not grey. K and I quietly walked past the garden and all of a sudden "meowww!" . Then I saw that she was grey!  K stuck her nose into the hole in the fence and "meowww!". 

Okay, there is only one cat that goes TOWARDS Kiara instead of running away. 

I ran inside to grab my roommate Yelit, and we managed to get the kitten back. Wow, Abla, you scared us you beautiful little kitten!  Turned out to be an okay Sunday after all.  Now off to a crazy work and workout week - just under 4 weeks left in Holland to intensely do PhD work...and 4 weeks until I'm back with the trainer at the gym, so I'd better get to work!!

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