Love Earth Life Happiness.



To start off.. I have to say, Easter this year rocked. I was smacked in the face with gratitude with being blessed enough to have a family here in Holland to take me into their home to celebrate the holiday with them as if I was their own. My mom is adorable. She had arranged a surprise specially for me! Sneaky mother.. I can't believe she managed to get it past me. I woke up Sunday morning to find out that there were 60 eggs hidden for me to search for. Each egg had a piece of candy as well as a little note from everyone in my family. (except for Cory because he was sick)- Everyone else even my niece and nephews wrote (or drew) on some paper. There were pictures from the kids, words of encouragement, inside jokes and expressions of missing and loving!

After the hunt, we enjoyed a yummy bread and hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles on bread) breakfast outside in Renate's garden.

Next up.. Painting eggs. Each of us decided that the eggs we ended up painting resembles our personality somehow. Mine is the green monster.

Next-- off to the beach! This was new for me, I've never spent Easter relaxing on a beach. This was a great time! Of course, we have our classic jumping picture.

Then, back to Renate's home for dinner out in the garden. Now this was a different experience as well. Well first off, I made some deviled eggs for them (my mom's delicious way of preparing them). For dinner we had a grill with the small handle thingies that you see in the picture below.. and you cook your own food. There were bowls of anything you wanted to cook.. things like vegetables, meats, fish, eggs for an omelet, and pancake mix. It was a fun way to do dinner, we were outside cooking, eating and talking from 5:30 until about 8:30. At first, with my "American way of eating" (as people here would call it).. I found myself thinking.. uhh, how am I ever going to get full off of tiny amounts of stuff at a time? I began struggling with patience waiting for my small portions to cook. haha. But I have to say, this is such a genius way of doing dinner. Not only do you get to make whatever you want, but you also get to socialize without having some huge amount of food on a plate (which is usually how my Easter dinner is at home). Plus, I didn't eat nearly as much as I normally would.. you'd be surprised how quickly you fill up if you take the time to eat and enjoy. After dinner, we had a fire in the garden and I was surprised to hear that they had never roasted marshmallows and they didn't even know what 'smores are! I taught them how to make the perfect 'smore :) For those of you who don't know what this is... it's a graham cracker sandwich with a golden, perfection marshmallow melted with a piece of chocolate. Apparently it's American. Learn something new every day

To end the day off, I came home and skyped with my whole family (at 2am in the morning here) while they were over at Grandma E and Grandpa Joe's home. I was able to watch them enjoy some of my favorite Dutch treats that I sent home with my mom and watched my niece and nephews do an Easter egg hunt with 340 eggs! I've been preparing all week to not cry while skyping knowing that this is my first Easter being without my family.. but I was so happy to find that instead of being sad about it, I was again... smacked in the face with gratitude and an awareness of how blessed I feel to be part of the Kougioulis family. I love my family with everything in me. I always knew I loved them.. but growing up, it was like I was scared to admit how freaking cool they really are. Being shipped off to a different country has helped me Realize. how bad ass they are. I can't say it enough. I LOVE MY FAMILY! Each and every one of them and I want the whole world to know it!

Happy Easter yall. Greetings from the little kid in Holland. :)

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