Today was filled with sunshine, though not with warmth in this wintry land of the Netherlands. There appears to be some sort of carnival going on and the last few days we have seen people in costume all over the village of Geleen. There are posters in almost every window depicting what I can only imagine is the king and prince of the carnival. Although the dates are next weekend, perhaps they just party all month? We are working in an area off the beaten path and have been told that most everyone also speaks English here. Well that was a lie. The lady at the checkout of the grocery store today kept repeating herself in Dutch about how much we needed to pay. We were trying to hand her money but she kept saying something like a question. The kind lady in line behind told us she was telling us our total in Euros. Umm, ok. We could see the total on the screen and were trying to pay. She didn’t take the money until the lady told us what she was saying. Very strange. Then she tried to ask if we wanted the receipt. I had no clue what she was saying but could deduce, given the order of operations, that that was in fact what she was saying. Again, kind lady in line confirmed and we were on our way. I actually had a goal of learning some Dutch before we came, so as not to be totally lost. Well, turns out they talk too fast for the tiny bit of exposure I got on Duolingo to be of much use in conversation. It does help ever so slightly in reading signs though. Another oddity here, most of the signs telling you a city (I mean village) is ahead have a red line through them. It almost seems like they are telling us not to go there!! And the gps in the car is fun. It tried to tell us to drive on a walkway. I mean it was tiny, no way it could have been a road, so we made it find us a different route! Also Sunday night, not a good night to eat out. The only thing open was bars, and they were quite full of partying individuals (remember I mentioned Carnival time). So we tell the gps to take us to the only thing we can deduce is edible, Italian. Two strikes and we gave up. I guess all the Italian restaurants have closed, or maybe it was teasing us by offering something we knew, only to take us into neighborhoods, and to a retail shopping place which was closed. So we gave up and had Dominos. Oh and let me tell you the Europeans eat WAY smaller portions than in the US. We ordered a medium, which is plenty for 2-3 back home. It was the same size as our small, which explains the crazy look on the girl’s face when we said just one. Oh, she didn’t speak English either. Today was much calmer, since we cooked spaghetti in the house. I mean pizza is Italian-ish, but really more American. Perhaps tomorrow I will post some pictures of the crazy signs and tiny roads here.