Geplaatst in Amsterdam

Parenting

Parenting is probably one of the hardest jobs to do. You need a license to drive, a diploma to swim, a certificate of conduct if you want to be a teacher and so on, but there is no diploma required for having children.

Do you recognize the following? You rather give up in exhaustion than enforce limits. Let your child butt in and take over every adult conversations on behalf of disciple your child. Leaving your precious back home to avoid an another embarrassing scene at the grocerystore.  Instead of encouraging your child to dress him- or her-selves, you take over because you’re  in a hurry. They nag about the rain, so you’ll take them by car.  Using the IPad as a virtual nanny.

Most parents know it’s not commendable to spoil a child materialistic. However how many parents are aware of pampering a child or not setting boundaries can also have a negative influence on the behavior of an infant. Instead they stick closely to their children as they attempt to shield them from being hurt or disappointed. Constantly telling them they’re so special.

What will become of these childeren? Some highbrows think we are raising a generation of narcissistic kids who think only about themselves all of the time and feel a sense of entitlement.

Time will tell… -Bregje-

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

Mixed race

Can you imagine having to pretend that you’re adopted because your white mom can’t acknowledge you being her daughter because of the color of your skin.
This happened to June Cross, a daughter of an interracial couple in the ’50’s. She narrated her life in an intriguing documentary called ‘secret daughter’. https://youtu.be/dIqrUVpU40M

My first reaction was how can a mother not acknowledge the existence of her own daughter! Unfortunately it is not all white or all black.

Up to now some people still view interracial relationships as immoral, unethical and in some places even illegal. The majority of biracial children have difficulties being accepted by either the white or the black community.

Growing up in Amsterdam, in my late teens, I remember lot of my classmates were the opposite. They were proud to be bi-racial and felt sorry for me being fully Caucasian.

Not so long ago I saw this video on Facebook on people having their ‘ancestor dna test’ done. This dna test uncovers where your DNA comes from around the world. Your DNA can tell you where your ancestors lived more than 500 years ago.
The results show that we’re all a lot more connected than we think we are.

In a few more centuries we might all be biracial and all have the same geographic roots…  -Bregje-

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

Warm welcome 

I’ve been asked to work as a substitute teacher for two days a week for the next two months. I agreed.
Yesterday I started my temporary job. My new co-workers and supervisor gave me a warm welcome. My direct colleagues are so helpful and involved. So is the supervisor, he came to my classroom twice. Once to tell me that I can probably stay for a longer period of time and once to ask me if I had a nice day.

A good start is half the battle…. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

Talented

How come that some kids are born with an outstanding talent while others are not?
When I was kid my sister was a bright student while I had to work hard to even pass. My mom use to comfort me by telling me I had other talents. It took me years and years to discover my own talents.I guess it took me so long because my talents weren’t really visible like being a great musician for example, as this kid who plays the piano (link below)

At the age of 12 I won a club competition. I was asked to join the federal tennis-training. My mom wasn’t to fond of the idea me giving up my entire social life and hers to do an individual sport.

What if….? Would I’ve been the feared opponent of Steffi Graf? I am afraid not. Do I regret? I did for a long time, I often dreamt of either being a top athlete, musician or artist. Unfortunately this dream always ended by my alarm clock.

Of course just like everyone else I have different kind of qualities, but up to today I never had any significant talents.

Going public with my blog, seeing all the views by all the visitors, shows for the first time in my life that I also have a demonstrable talent… -Bregje-

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

‘ A good neighbour is worth more than a distant friend.’ But what about co-workers? 

As a teacher your job includes, besides tasks and responsibilities, a cast of co-workers, parents and students who you’ll be working with day in and day out. There is an excellent chance you spend more time with them than with your beloved ones. Therefore I tend to bond with the people I work with. Having business orientated conversation as well as small talk and private conversations. For me that’s important because it makes collaborating at work much more relaxed and enjoyable, since you have a better connection with each others. Over the years I developed a tight bond with ‘my cast’. Despite of I decided, because of circumstance, to leave my workplace after 6 years.

Eleanor Roosevelt once quoted: ‘Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.’ I disagree. I think many people can leave a footprint in your heart although they just pass by. I think that’s what makes leaving my job so hard. We might not see each other again, but I’ll cherish our great working relationship. Thank you. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

The heart and soul of Amsterdam

In August 2010, Amsterdam’s 17th-century Canal Ring was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. ‘Sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties. UNESCO regards these sites as being important to the collective interests of humanity.’ But what about the heart and soul of Amsterdam!?

The identity of the Amsterdam culture is also determined by its residents. What really concerns me is that the balance between the amount of tourist and the residents of Amsterdam is really getting out of hand.

I developed an enormous allergy to a certain kind of tourist over the past few years. Some giveaways how to spot an obnoxious tourist. They wear ‘Amsterdam hats’, carrying Van Gogh Museum or Heineken gift boxes, wear their backpack in their front, ride and park their yellow rental MacBikes where ever they please, and get stoned and drunk all day, every day.
 Amsterdam is one of the biking capitals of the world and the Dutch are outstanding and experienced bikers. Unfortunately most tourist have never ridden a bike in their entire life and and therefore taking a ride of Doom on their rental bikes. Not to mention the pedestrians walking around like Amsterdam is as an open air museum, not paying attention to any kind of transportation.

The beer-bike tourists can be labeled as the most nuisance of all. Beer-bikes are huge pedal trucks for drinking party-crews. Aspecifically the kind that have decided their drunkenness would be even more awesome if broadcast to an entire city. This type of tourist like to show their appreciation for historic architecture mainly by urinating on it.

The presence of an overload of tourists in the city is an expense of the quality of life in neighborhoods, and it impacts the availability of affordable subsidised apartments. Amsterdam is overcrowded with tourists and forecasts show that this will only get worse.

Please do not rip out the heart and soul of my presious Amsterdam. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

Childless-not-by-choice

From an early age I had it all figured out. Have sex at the age of 18 and start a family- husband, two kids and a dog- at the age of 28. 

Before I knew it I turned 38. Being allergic to dogs and my biological clock ticking overtime. Unfortunately, even though I had a relationship at the time, after a long journey I stayed childless-not-by-choice. I have grieved my childlessness. What first was an open wound in my heart is now an inflamed scar. 

What helps me grieving is to see that the grass isn’t always greener at the other side off the fence. Right now I even think life without kids isn’t so bad after all. Kids have a way of zapping all the meaning out of life. You have to clean up after them all the time, you can’t be spontaneous anymore because you have to plan everything ahead, your body changes, they suck your energy, you go broke, your friendships may suffer, kids do stupid things, you worry all the time … Me writing this does not mean that I never really wanted to have children in the first place. Don’t even dare to think that. Believe me never being called ‘mommy’  or having to answer the question ‘do you have children?’ every-time you meet someone new is a heavy cross to bear.
Realizing that there is a downside to having children is part of my grieving process. Like for a while I focused on parents with disabled children, blessing myself not to have a disabled child. 

Filling my time has never been a problem. Finding people to spend time with in the weekends, even tough I have a big network of friends, can be difficult. Let’s face it, parenting takes a lot of time; time experts say that it takes eight hours a day to raise two children to the age of 18.

Right now my biggest challenge is to acquire myself a new place in society and amongst my peers, who do have children, in order to fill the void in a life without children. -Bregje-