Wednesday began my 2 weeks off from work.  YIPPEE!  We aren’t going anywhere, just staying home and doing some work on the house and just hanging out enjoying local things.  My first day of vacation was spent just how I wanted – doing NOTHING except some knitting and blog surfing and reading.  Ahhhhh.

Yesterday, on the other hand, was a busy day and a very fun one.  I went first thing in the morning to Haarlem city center and got my hair cut (yes, AGAIN).  Haarlem is so quiet at 9:30 in the morning.  The shops aren’t open yet.  No one is out and about.  I love it.  Here’s a photo of the street where I get my hair done.

After that relaxing and useful time, I headed first to Amsterdam and then to Hilversum.  I was in search of shoes.  Not just any shoes.  I was in search of Nike Free running shoes.  I had already been to all the running shops and even the Nike specialty shop in Amsterdam and NO ONE is selling these shoes here!  You just can’t get them in NL.  So I emailed my ex-colleague at Nike European HQ in Hilversum and asked if he knew where I could get them.  He said “come on out to Hilversum to the employee store”.  Yea!  

I used to work at Nike in Hilversum.  It was my first job when I move to NL.  It’s an amazing place to work, at least facility-wise.  I took the train there yesterday and when I walked up to the campus I got this little buzz of excitement.  There are people jogging here and there.  There are people playing tennis on the tennis courts.  I could hear some kind of aerobics class going on.  I walked into the reception area and smelled coffee from the new Starbucks outlet (only the second one in all of the Netherlands – the first one was at Schiphol airport).  People were walking in and out, busy and bustling, and they all looked happy.  There’s a buzz in the air at Nike.  Man, I thought, I miss this!  Maybe they’ve all drank the Kool-aid, but who cares?  They’re working and happy – what more do you want?


Backside of Nike EHQ, running track being refurbished
Backside of Nike EHQ, running track being refurbished


Nike EHQ, reception area
Nike EHQ, reception area

I met up with my colleague, who got me a visitor’s badge and entrance to the employee store.  I headed straight for the shoes and found what I was looking for.  I’m glad I went there and tried the shoes on first and didn’t just order them online.  They DO run small and I bought a pair 1/2 size larger than my normal running shoes.  I also bought running shorts, running shirt and a gym shirt for DB.  I was only limited by my small budget.  Man, I could have spent a fortune in there.  It’s a fantastic shop with all the best of what Nike makes.  Thanks to my friend I also got a nice employee discount, which I just couldn’t refuse. 🙂  Here are my new amazing shoes – 

I left Hilversum and headed back to Amsterdam.  My big day out wasn’t over yet!  My colleagues from my old department were taking me out to dinner to say good-bye.  I met them in front of the Bieb and we walked over to A Tavola, an Italian restaurant kind of close to Nemo.  We drank wine and ate really nice food and laughed and laughed.  They bought me presents, which was totally unexpected!  My ex-manager even tried to find some kind of knitting present for me, but gave up after realizing he had no idea what to buy and knew nothing about knitting really.  They bought, instead, my second love – books!  I now have:

I don’t know which one to start with! They all look really interesting and I haven’t read any of them before. The friend and colleague who picked these out picked just the right things for me (we talk about books a lot).

So, that was my fabulous Thursday! Oh, and I didn’t even mention that with all that train time I got some knitting done too. I’ll have to see how I can top this during the next two weeks.

3 thoughts on “Free

  1. Dagmar May 15, 2009 / 14:32

    The Murakami-one is awesome. Read it first! I enjoyed it SO much!

  2. Clasca May 15, 2009 / 15:14

    Wow, what a way to start a holida. Enjoy it!

  3. HJ May 18, 2009 / 11:04

    Hope you’ll like the books. Let me know if they are any good so I can put them in my Amazon shopping cart for 1/1/2010

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