Netherlands 2016 – Rijssen

Steven & I absolutely LOVED the Netherlands. 3 years ago on my study abroad we met an amazing bus driver named Patrick.  He was from Holland and he told all of the students as we left “If you ever come to Holland, let me know and stay with me!” I messaged Patrick on Facebook and told him that Steven & I would be going to Europe & he said “come stay with me!” So we bought plane tickets from Paris to Amsterdam!!

Patrick & his wife Evelien met us at Schipol Airport – it was so great to see people we actually know! They had plans to tour the city center in Amsterdam and then stay in a hotel near the city so we can explore more at night. We went to dinner at and then explored the city.  Patrick and Evelien took us to the city and the Red Light District (super weird!!) and we went back on the ferry to go to our hotel.  Okay, if you’re ever in the area – stay at Amsterdam Forest Hotel – it’s new and so nice and very inexpensive!! Also, it felt so nice to sleep in a hotel bed instead of our ghetto airbnb’s!!! hahaha

The next day, we went to one of the biggest flower markets in Holland! Picture an empty Costco and you’re on the upper level looking down at this huge warehouse and there are little carts driving around everywhere picking up, putting down flowers! It was crazy! Patrick & Evelien took us to a little town call Volendam and it was a town right by the lake.  It’s very touristy but everything was so cute! We ate raw fish AKA herring the Dutch way and i ate the entire fish and Steven did not! It was kind of gross but not too bad. Just super fishy.  Then we went to the Stroopwafel museum and a cheese factory.  & ate dutch mini pancakes. So much good food!

We drove an hour and a half to the city of Rijssen! It’s the cutest little town with the cutest homes and just huge farmland! Patrick & Evelien’s home is amazing.  They were some of the best hosts ever. The bed was super comfy and it just felt so good to be in a HOME. That night, Patrick invited Steven to a men’s choir that he is a part of.  There’s 150 men who sing in this choir and they perform regularly around Holland! While he was singing Dutch songs, Evelien invited me to the gym for a Dutch bootcamp and it was so fun!! & it felt good to workout! It’s cool how exercise is universal and I didn’t have to know dutch to do the workouts!!

One of the highlight of our trip to Rijssen was getting to meet all of Evelien’s students! She teaches 11-12 years olds and she invited us to come to class to speak English to them & have them meet “real life” Americans. It was so awesome. They already speak English so well because they start learning when they are young. They had the chance to ask us any questions – and they asked us fun questions like “Where do you like to shop?” or “What iPhone games do we play?” and “Do you know the Dab?” hahaha But then they asked us some serious questions like “Which Presidential candidate are you going to vote for?” and “Do you own a gun in your home?” that kind of took me back and thought wow – I wonder what they think of when they think of Americans and USA.  I love the USA but it’s sad how we are portrayed as the “gun country” or a “violent country.” Anyways – overall it was a fun time being in a classroom full of Dutch kids.  They had the chance to teach us some Dutch words!  We took some group photos outside of the school (See below)

After school, Patrick took us all around Rijssen and i love it so much! We got lunch down town, ate ice cream, walked to Oosterhof (a castle), and just enjoyed our time in a wonderful town. It was our last full day in Holland and for dinner, Patrick made us a traditional Dutch dinner! Mashed potatoes with Kale and a sausage.  So yummy! I’m so grateful for Patrick and Evelien’s hospitality.  We loved our time in the Netherlands and we will definitely be back in the future and we hope they come to America!!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Lake Tahoe Half Marathon

So in February, my friend Brittany asked me if I wanted to do the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon with her in June! Obviously, I said YES and Steven said yes because his cousin that he hasn’t seen in forever lives in Lake Tahoe – so it was a perfect time to visit him and take a couples’ trip!

We flew from LA – SF and stayed with our friends Lucy and Jerry.  They both are newish residents of San Francisco and it was so fun to catch up with them! We had them stay with us in Provo in January, so we were really excited to see them! I can always trust Lucy to take me to the best food places and I was right! They picked us up from the airport and we went straight to the yummiest Ramen place (but the worst service…lol).

We had about a day and a half to explore SF – so the next day we went to Lombard street, toured Lucy’s work at Square, Twin Peaks and Dumplings! Touring Lucy’s work was a big highlight of our day because we were treated to free lunch, smoothie bar and ginger shots hahahah it was so fun. Maybe because I love free food but whatever!!

The next day, we went with Jerry to Seward Slides, Bi-Rite Creamery, Painted Ladies, and the iconic mosaic steps! Then we met up with Brittany and her husband Joram to road trip to Lake Tahoe! We checked into our hotel (HOTEL CHALET) & went to bed because we were so tired from the drive up and we had our race the next morning!

Joram & Steven dropped Brittany and I off at the start line for the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon! We ran the whole race together which was so nice because we could pace ourselves.  It was about 75% down hill and when it was up hill I hated it hahaha. I was feeling good from Miles 1 – 7.  At mile 8, I felt the blisters on my toes, but I kept going! I was really impressed with the snacks/drink stations at each mile. It made you look forward to each mile. Mile 10 felt like an ETERNITY! We were running most of the time on the main highway and then mile 10-11 was in the woods so I had no clue where we were.  The last mile we basically sprinted to the finish line while Brittany is holding on to a red bull from one of the drink stations hahaha It felt so good to finish!! It was so nice that this race wasn’t as big as the Nike Women’s Half because it was easier for Steven and Joram to take pics of us through out the race!

I think my favorite thing about the race is that I can eat WHATEVER I WANT!! We went to Heidi’s Pancake House and it was so yummy! We went back to the hotel to rest and shower and then we met up with Steven’s cousin Scott and his girlfriend Kayla.  Steven had not seen Scott in years so it was a great reunion for them.  We went out for fro-yo and found out that runners get free fro yo ALL WEEKEND. We definitely took advantage of that and went twice. Then we went and relaxed at the lake and ate yummy Greek food!

For our last day in Tahoe, we went to Emerald Lake and Emerald Bay.  Both, beautiful places to visit if you are in South Lake Tahoe! We drove back to SF and they dropped us off at the airport.  It was an awesome trip and another half marathon in the books! Now I’m training for the New York City Marathon happening in November – so wish me luck!!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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