Tomorrow morning we fly to Düsseldorf for our Europe trip. Excited! This time we’ll meet less people (mainly German friends we didn’t see the last time) and we’ll be in Belgium for a week with family for my dad’s 95th birthday! Morgenvroeg vliegen we naar Düsseldorf voor onze Europa trip. Zin in! Dit keer spreken we met minder mensen af (vooral Duitse vrienden die we de vorige keer niet hebben gezien) en zitten we een week in België met familie voor pap’s 95e verjaardag!
6:30am flight AC1112 Regina – Toronto, arrive 11:19 (meeting with our friend Jessie there!)
4:30pm flight AC9175 Toronto – Düsseldorf Saturday 8/17
6:05am arrival in Düsseldorf, stay with Cora until Monday morning! Hopefully visit downtown Düsseldorf!
Monday 8/19 – Friday 8/23
Stay in Usingen-Wernborn (apartment) near Thorsten and Monica’s town. Visiting them, sightseeing in the nice area, meeting with Paddy in Frankfurt (hopefully Markus too). Friday 8/23 – Friday 8/30
Stay in Centerparcs park Erperheide in Belgium with the family, option for people from both Eindhoven and Heerlen visiting us there, and we may go on day trips too (I’d like to go to the Ardennes or Luxembourg). Verblijf in Centerparcs park Erperheide in België met familie, optie voor mensen uit zowel Eindhoven als Heerlen om ons daar te bezoeken, wij kunnen ook dagtrips maken (ik wil graag naar de Ardennen of Luxemburg). Friday 8/30 – 9/2
Stay with Volker and Martina in Bottrop. Monday 9/2
Time to go home….
12:25pm flight AC9174 Düsseldorf – Toronto, arriving 2:50pm
8:55pm flight AC1119 Toronto – Regina, arriving 10:16
After 3 months of construction workers in the house and overspending a LOT, the basement was finally ours (in June)! Since we’re camping a lot now, we haven’t had time yet to finish up some last things and decorate, but the winter is going to be long enough for all that!! We already enjoy the TV corner with reclining couches a lot! All in all we had way more done then planned, but all important things for the whole house: new efficient ducts, new stack in basement and all new sewer line underneath the house as well as in the front yard all the way to the street, new electrical panel and updated outside pole for the power lines. The mortgage money wasn’t nearly enough and luckily we had just enough savings to pay for it all…. about 58 grand in total, ouch!!!! BUT… it pretty much doubled the house space for us and it’s simply FANTASTIC!! Besides some things downstairs, we also have projects to do on our main floor, like new desk space in the office and getting my crafts room set up (still storage in there now). Here are some pics of the basement right now, you can view the whole album of the renovation process HERE for now.
But summer is short and we have to camp as much as we can right now! Esp. since we “have” to go to Europe in 4 days for dad’s 95th birthday 🙂 Here a few impressions of our camping season, and a few more pics are HERE.
Stay tuned, I’ll post the Europe plans in 1 or 2 days!!!
It’s March, but winter is still here! We had a record snowfall this winter and it’s still coming! This pic is from early February. Are we going camping yet?!
We have other things on our mind though.. we renewed and increased our mortgage and are finally able to renovate our basement now! We got Boyd and his son Cory to do the job for us and we’re so excited!!! We made a great plan and they just started, the basement is pretty much gutted now. Can’t wait for it to be done!!
And then there was HEART, again! This time here in Regina at the Conexus Art Centre. The idea of my idol Ann Wilson being only 2 km away from our house, made me very nervous!!! The show was great again, but of course it didn’t have the 21 year build-up that made the 2011 show in Saskatoon so emotional. Still awesome though, they played my favourite song Love Alive this time (see video) and got some nice merch 🙂
What About Love
Even It Up Dreamboat Annie
Dog & Butterfly
Dear Old America
Crazy On You
Black Dog (Zeppelin cover)
Love, Reign O’er Me (The Who cover, with support act Simon Townsend (younger brother of!)
Another great year on the prairies! Of course with ups and downs.. in May we had to say goodbye to our good friend Rob, which was a tremendous blow, and just days later to Nico’s manager Joy. That was the craziest week ever and luckily we went on our British Columbia trip the next day! For vacation and orientation, as we still had the wish to move to the Okanagan. It was a wonderful trip (by car), but Nico hadn’t been able to set up a single job interview and the health region just pointed to the external job postings online. Jobs are posted on an internal list first, so you almost have to get in through a casual or otherwise hard to fill position. Nico was not going to give up his permanent full-time job here for anything less though.
After that trip we let it rest and went camping in our provincial parks almost every weekend – 45 nights in 4 months, yay! We often stayed closer to home, having friends join us and it made us re-appreciate our beautiful prairie valleys. But we ended the season with a bang at Cypress Hills where we camped after season between the majestic lodgepole pines and had moose, deer and coyotes walk over the campground!
Our furry kids are doing better than ever. Tess had bladder stones removed and the vet put her on diet food. Feeding her separately was stressful on her though, so we now feed this (both wet and dry) food to all six. We already thought we were giving them high quality food (only dry though), but their coats have become much softer and Tess is more playful then we have ever seen her! We’d like to find less expensive alternatives to what we now have to buy from the vet, but we also don’t want to reverse this big change!
Now it’s winter (this time with lots of snow again!) and looking back on that BC trip and a wonderful SK summer, we’ve come to realize that we have everything we could possibly want right here and we don’t want to uproot ourselves yet again, only for mountains and milder (but greyer) winters. We’ve built up so much in these (almost) 5 years, that we don’t want to leave the amazing friendships, a better economic/financial situation, a cute house, our jobs, the many sun hours and the friendly prairie people behind! Never say never, but it looks like we’re staying! 🙂
So we are looking forward to more SK camping next year and a trip to Europe again. Not so much Holland, for this trip we’ll be visiting friends in Germany and spending a week in vacation bungalows in Belgium with family!
Hope you all had a Merry Christmas (or whatever other holiday you may be celebrating) and much happiness and health for the new year!!
Pictures on the card:
Main: home sweet home (a few days ago).
Inserts on the left: Buffalo Pound, Crooked Lake, northern lights, 2x Clear Lake (Manitoba), Tess.
Inserts on the right: Okanagan Lake, all 6 kitties, 4x Cypress Hills, sunrise at home.
We celebrated my birthday at my brother Ton and Rita’s place in Nieuw-Vennep and left for the south on the 22nd. We visited dad and Amalia in Eindhoven and continued to Landgraaf, where we stayed with Chantalle and Roald. From there we visited a lot of people in Heerlen, the rest of South-Limburg and even Aachen (Germany). It also included a reunion of the Kajuit, a youth centre that Nico used to work for back in the 80s!
On the 26th we drove to Dessel (Belgium) to visit Marjan and Erik (Anneke and Cordy joined us there), then on to Eindhoven on the 27th where we stayed with Els and Maurice. After some visits and shopping, we went to Baarlo for a few days, for the ProgPower Festival. Together with Cora we stayed at Anja’s B&B again, and the festival was like a family reunion again (but unfortunately it ended with a tragic accident afterwards)! On October 4th we drove back to Eindhoven and Nieuw-Vennep for some last days with family.
We flew back on the 6th, and I couldn’t wait to get back to Canada and our kitties again! It was great seeing everybody again, but I didn’t care much to be in Holland again (Nico appreciated that more). I’d rather cruise around over here in our RV haha! But of course we’ll keep visiting regularly 🙂
Early this morning we got the devastating news that one of our friends (and a well respected musician) decided to leave us last night. We thought he had left his dark years behind and was doing well with his new band and all, but apparently he wasn’t well at all. Rob, we will miss you brother, at least you don’t have to fight your demons anymore and we hope you found your peace :'(
Vanmorgen vroeg kregen we het vreselijke nieuws dat een van onze vrienden (en een zeer gerespecteerde muzikant) besloten heeft ons te verlaten. We dachten dat hij zijn donkere jaren achter zich had gelaten en het goed met hem ging met zijn nieuwe band en zo, maar kennelijk ging het hem helemaal niet goed. Rob, we zullen je missen, je hoeft tenminste niet meer tegen je demonen te vechten en we hopen dat je je rust gevonden hebt :'(
Oops, it’s been too long since we updated here! Busy busy… with work, my websites, camping! I’ll have to add reports and photo albums for that in the new year, sorry… but here’s our Xmas card and message:
click to enlarge!
No drastic changes for us this year, but still a lot of ups and a few downs of course.
To start with the downs, some of our friends and family had to lose loved ones, from Milan (our friends’ Anneke and Cordy’s son) at the end of last year to Bep (my sister-in-law’s mother) this month. We realize that this must be a difficult season for them, but we also hope it’s filled with lots of love and support!
A little down we had in our own house was that Nico put out his back at work in July, resulting him to be home for a month, then he slowly built up his hours again. Partly wear-and-tear, he’ll have to remain careful! And early in the year he was diagnosed with diabetes II (well under control with some tablets), he says it’s all downhill after 50 😉
And the ups? Seeing Heart again live (Ann Wilson is still my idol!), my bff Els and her family coming to Canada (we spent some days together in the – still wintery – Rockies in May), many camping trips here in Saskatchewan (most close by though because Nico couldn’t drive far after his injury), registering my own website design business Feel The Fire (after it being a hobby for 13 years) and a hectic trip to Holland! It was the first time back since we moved to Canada. It was great to see “everybody” again, but I already got a bit homesick after a week 😉 Other “ups” are that I’m now working from home for my Canada Life job too and that our “rental” cat Smokey is now officially ours. His former mommy felt she couldn’t take him away from all his playmates anymore after all this time. Thank you Char! <3
The start of winter is very mild this year (mostly just mildly freezing and hardly any snow) so it looks like we won’t have a real white Xmas – who would’ve thought?! But we’ll be spending it with friends 🙂
big photo: our RV on the Icefields Parkway (photo by Els)
top row: deer in Jasper, Peyto Lake viewpoint (Rockies) – dad and me, Eindhoven (Holland) – 5/6 of our feline kids
bottom row: camping pics in Echo Lake Provincial Park, Moose Mountain PP (northern lights & Nico chopping wood), Waskesiu (Prince Albert National Park, middle and last pic)
Last week we went for a bike ride around Wascana Lake, but we managed to do only the north side. When we tried to come back on the south side, the path was so flooded that we ended up just taking College. Vorige week wilden we om het Wascana Lake fietsen, maar we hebben alleen de noordkant gedaan. Toen we langs de zuidkant terug wilden komen, was het pad zoveel overstroomd dat we maar via College teruggekomen zijn.
And further, we had a great night with Steve Smyth and a few more members and crew of Forbidden on the Friday before our Gravelbourg trip. Unfortunately the show was cancelling because of flooding in the venue, but because of this we did have a chance to catch up with Steve all night long! Photos coming soon! Verder hebben we de vrijdag voor onze Gravelbourg trip nog een leuke avond verbracht met Steve Smyth en nog een paar leden en crew van Forbidden. Helaas was het concert afgezegd vanwege overstroming in de zaal, maar wij hadden daardoor wel de kans de hele avond met Steve bij te kletsen! Foto’s volgen nog!
Instead of a regular camping weekend, we decided to visit our Gravelbourg friends! The Solstice Festival was a bonus 🙂 We took the motorhome, plugged in at Cees and Carlien’s motel and had a great time with them (thanks for lending us your car!)! On the festival we also ran into our awesome realtors Jennifer and Angelo Coppolla, they love to visit small town summer festivals and were camping at Thompson Lake! And on Sunday we visited Toos and Darcy in their beautiful home and Fred and Jackie in Glenbain… without taking kittens home this time! 😉
In plaats van een normaal kampeerweekend, wilden we nu eens onze Gravelbourg vrienden bezoeken! Het Solstice Festival was een bonus 🙂 We namen de camper mee, plugden in bij Cees en Carlien’s motel en hadden een gezellige dag met hen (bedankt dat we jullie auto mochten lenen!)! Op het festival kwamen we ook nog onze geweldige makelaars Jennifer en Angelo Coppolla tegen, zij bezoeken graag festivals in kleine plaatsen en kampeerden bij Thompson Lake! En op zondag bezochten we Toos en Darcy in hun prachtig huis en Fred en Jackie in Glenbain… dit keer zonder kittens mee naar huis te nemen! 😉
Last weekend I was home alone and worked very hard for 2 long days to make a new office for me. Uncluttered the existing one, moved lots to the basement and created a nice, spacious new Feel The Fire office 🙂 So happy with it! Vorig weekend was ik alleen thuis en heb ik 2 dagen heel hard gewerkt om een nieuw kantoor voor me in te richten. Eerst het oude opgeruimd, veel spullen naar een kamer in de kelder verhuisd en een mooi, ruim Feel The Fire kantoor gecreëerd 🙂 Heel erg blij mee!
We are Nico and Marlies Wobben and in February 2008 we moved from the Netherlands to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is an RN at the General Hospital and I (Marlies) work from home, as an administrator at Canada Life and for my own web design business Feel The Fire. And we have 6 cats!
Wij zijn Nico en Marlies Wobben en in februari 2008 zijn we verhuisd van Nederland naar Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is verpleegkundige in het General Hospital en ik (Marlies) werk thuis als administrator bij Canada Life en voor mijn eigen web design bedrijf Feel The Fire. En we hebben 6 katten!