This year I experienced my first real sinterklaas. Last year I had barely moved into my rental apartment and my energy was all in getting my boxes delivered from both South Africa and Peru, and the height of my celebration was wishing my Dutch colleagues a happy Sinterklaas.
This year, however, was a bit different!
Marinus acted as my local guide and guru on all things Sinterklaas. In the morning we wrapped all the presents, and I was told that I’m a much better wrapper than him. I am not so sure, because he wrapped one as a robot, complete with a face and arms drawn on!
After packing the presents in a big duffel bag, we took the bag and the robot on a train to where his sister’s family lives (Marinus’s sister, not the robots).
After we arrived, we left the presents in the car and waited for the rest of the family to arrive, which was quite soon after.
The youngest of the family(5) was all dressed up in his Piet costume, but with a hat that has his own name, and he was just about ready to party.
When everyone was there we gathered around the big dining room table, laden with traditional sinterklaas sweets, and sang songs waiting for Sinterklaas (they sang, I don’t know it yet).
The presents had been sneakily piled outside the door, and a neighbour got the signal to knock on the door 3 times and then disappear.
The next moment the kids went to look for Sint, but only found a pile of presents. They were so excited, the little one even did a little happy dance!
The big bags of presents were dragged into the house and then given to the recipients one by one. Once received, the recipient opens it before the next is handed out, and everyone has a chance to ooh and aah.
I was so spoiled and I received a big stack of presents myself!
One of the kids got 2 boxes of elastic rubber bands, and then got really excited when he got what looked like a mobile phone, but really it was more rubber bands. His face kind of fell and I felt sorry for him. But then at the end, the robot present was opened to reveal a beautiful wooden rubberband gatling gun, lovingly made by his uncle Marinus.
After everyone received their presents, we inspected it some more, the kids (and grownups) built some lego, and we had such a jovial time, singing together and being “gezellig”. Baby Shark made an appearance, as well as I want to break free, and we had a really fun time.
After a delightful dinner we headed home again and I could comfortably say I had just experienced my best Sinterklaas ever!
Be kind. Stay safe.