The year of the tiger was an eventful year, in which Tatou had the opportunity to visit several interesting new places. She went to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, China and France. She lived in Vietnam and Norway. En route between different countries, she briefly set foot in Germany, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates (the airport, that is). She took plenty of pictures. She prayed to Shiva, Buddha, Guanyin and Jesus, at some of their respective temples. She reportedly talked to Norwegian forest spirits, Torajan ancestral spirits and Lao dragonflies. She was very excited about the Parisian museums she visited.
Yet there are few countries Tatou likes as much as the Netherlands. After all, this is where she spent the first years of her life. I first met her in a shop in the Staalstraat in Amsterdam, near the Waterlooplein, and we instantly became friends. Afterwards, we lived together at three different places in Amsterdam, before we moved to London. Tatou still loves Amsterdam - its canals, in particular - but she is also very fond of the Dutch countryside, with its green fields, flowers and partly cloudy blue skies.
So when I told her we were going to celebrate Christmas in the Netherlands, I made her very happy, even though this time we would not visit Amsterdam. In stead, we spent a weekend in the busy, strangely charming modern port town of Rotterdam. In addition, we visited the pittoresque village of Kinderdijk: a world heritage site with many old windmills, surrounded by tourist crowds in summer, but remarkably peaceful in winter. The snow greatly added to its beauty, and Tatou enjoyed the visit very much. So did we, incidentally. We did not take as many pictures as usual, but these give a good indication of what it was like: