Snug in our little brick house on a cold Saturday in November, Yves and I yawned into a quiet day with an espresso and lots of blankets. It wasn't long before I heard some sort of clamoring on the canal outside, and when I drew back the curtain, I was unexpectedly filled with all the exhilaration and excitement of a 5-year-old girl. Amidst the shrieks and tears of the little child inside me, I flung open the door and ran to the canal edge. The drawbridge was raised, and through it came a royal procession of majestic boats. Perched aboard the glorious lead ship was Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten. They waved as they passed me and my little house, and crowds of fanatic children ran waving and screaming after them at the canal's edge. Having awakened that little 5-year-old Laurie with my heart beating fast and my eyes open wide, I couldn't bear to wait for Yves or even tell him I was going, and I ran along with the other Dutch children to Leiden's main square.