14 Dec

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas from Invading Holland

I hope you all have a great holiday. I’ll be taking a short break until the New Year. Until then, have fun and see you in the New Year.

7 Dec

Pakjesavond Revenge

Pakjesavond is always a lot of fun. It might be the evening when Sinterklaas delivers all his presents to the children of Holland but it is also an opportunity for older family members to play pranks on each other with joke gifts and fun poems. For my Dutch family-in-law it is specifically a chance for them to highlight unintentional mistakes and mishaps made throughout the year.

On the first pakjesavond I celebrated with them I received over 20 toothbrushes, individually wrapped, ranging from child to adult toothbrushes, all because on the first weekend I’d visited I had forgotten to bring my own toothbrush. A few years later I was given a survival bag as a way of making fun of my accident prone nature (which they had become very familiar with).

So when my Dutch mother-in-law specifically requested no candles or candle related items this year (because she gets them every year) I knew my chance for revenge was at hand. I decided not to listen to her request. I decided to do the opposite and made this…

Sinterklaas Staff Replica

It’s a life size replica of Sinterklaas’ staff. The only difference between this one and the real one is that this one is made of paper and card. It is also filled with 106 tea light candles. The moment it was opened all 106 candles fell out on to the ground.

Revenge is a dish best served on Pakjesavond.

30 Nov

Speculoos Mystery

Case File #113c
It has been almost two years since the strange events that first started The Great Speculoos Mystery. It began one morning when I discovered a mysterious jar of Speculoos left on my desk by an unknown person. Despite my best efforts at the time I was unable to discover their identity. Half a year later a second jar of Speculoos appeared on my desk. Once again there was no note, no clue and no one stepped forward to claim responsibility. The trail went cold again and for a long time I heard nothing from my mysterious benefactor. Until last week…

The Great Speculoos Mystery Begins Again

Speculoos Jar

A third jar of Speculoos mysteriously appeared on my desk again just a few days ago (technically it’s a tub).

Upon discovering it I immediately started questioning the people who sit around my desk. Unfortunately none of them could recall seeing anyone place the Speculoos there or say with any certainty when it had first appeared. I cannot rule out the possibility that they might all be in on it but I cannot prove it either (and I doubt any of them would brake under interrogation).

Although the appearance of another jar of Speculoos is exciting, without any extra information, it is another dead-end… or so I thought. There is something different this time, something I had not expected, something exciting; a surprise hidden under the lid.

Speculoos Message

A hidden message! The mastermind behind this great mystery is trying to communicate.

‘What’s next?’

It is clear from this message that I should expect more Speculoos surprises but what does the ‘-B-‘ mean? Is it a clue to the next gift or the mystery person’s identity? Could it be a letter of their name perhaps or simply a red herring intended to point me in the wrong direction?

I could try to covertly secretly obtain hand writing samples from all my colleagues for comparison but HR warned me against that sort of thing last time when I tried to collect finger prints. I could set up a web cam on my desk with a movement sensor but that would generate hours of footage with no idea when the next drop will happen. It’s has been a year and a half since the previous drop.

So instead I have decided to leave a message here for this mysterious unknown person. I know they are reading this.

To the mysterious supplier of my Speculoos,

I have received your message. I do not yet know if you are friend or foe. You know about my Speculoos addiction but I do not know anything about you or who you are. However, I am intrigued by your desire to communicate. What made you change the rules of the game? Does it come from a desire to be caught, or perhaps a calculated risk to show off your intellect? If that is the case I challenge you to leave another message and I look forward to receiving the next Speculoos surprise.

20 Nov

Once a year during November Sinterklaas arrives in The Netherlands and brings with him his helpers the Zwarte Pieten. The black face paint of Zwarte Piet often causes a few raised eyebrows from those who are not familiar with the tradition. In recent years there has been a lot of debate about whether or not the look of Sinterklaas’ trusted helper should be changed. There have been a few attempts at creating alternative Zwarte Pieten; Blue Piet, White Piet and even Rainbow Piet. None have fully taken off yet but here are a few alternative Zwarte Piet whacky suggestions of my own which I think might help:

Alternative Zwarte Piet:

Alternative Zwarte Piet Braveheart

Alternative Zwarte Piet Darth Maul

Alternative Zwarte Piet Hulk

Alternative Zwarte Avatar

Alternative Zwarte Piet Simpson

Alternative Zwarte Piet Joker

Do you have any other alternative Zwarte Piet suggestions?

11 Nov
Categories: Cartoons

St Marteen
My first real St Maarten experance.