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-

Geplaatst in Amsterdam, France

Camping

According to ‘wiki’ is camping an elective outdoor recreational activity. Generally held, participants leave developed areas to spend time outdoors in more natural ones in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment. All with the purpose to enjoy the pure nature. Well my parents took this literally.

For me this disaster started when I was about 11 years old. I did not mind camping, but my parents decided to take us to a naturist campsite. I never forget the moment when our car entered the campsite. Imagine being a teen and being exposed to others than your own close relatives walking around in their Adam and Eve costumes. Discovering that there are so many different shapes and sizes. Some hidden under a big belly or behind big bushes, others fully hairless or pierced on places you can’t even imaging being pierced.

The first hour my sister and were astonished by what we saw and giggled till we pied our pants. All sweaty putting up our own tent, we were ready to go for a swim. The giggling and staring abruptly ended when we found out that swimwear wasn’t allowed at the pool. No way that I was taking of my shirt, ever!

Have you ever seen naked people play tennis? For those who have not, let me describe what I remember. Except for the white tennis shoes and knee socks as prescribed in the ’80 most people played tennis fully naked, some partly dressed. I guess determined by their size some man kept their underwear on as some women wore a bra to protect their private parts from whipping around. I will not go into further details, I leave the visualizing up to you.

In some cultures you have to take of your shoes by entering the house. On naturist campsites they have their own habits as well. Like bringing your own towel to sit on when you are invited to friends. Rather than putting on some cloths when it’s raining, people rather take it off.

Most campsites have a shop where they sell all kinds of stuff. Bread, candy, detergent, dairy products and all kinds of fruits and veggies on display racks. Pretty convenient to have a store like that on your campsite, you would think. But would you still buy your grocery’s there when I tell you naturist do shop naked as well. Can you imagine grabbing a guy’s crown jewels instead of a cucumber by mistake! -by Bregje

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

My tolerance is reaching its limit.

I am back home, as in back in Amsterdam, Holland. To my sorrow my trip to ‘The Big Apple’ has ended. Although seeing friends and family is nice.

Today I have lunch with one of my friends at the waterfront when a canal boat and a private boat bump into each other. To my opinion a captain of a small boat should know that bigger boat is less flexible. Not only because of their size, but also because of their ego’s. As I write this… Actually it might be the other way around. Men with small boats have bigger ego’s. Like men with big cars have small penises. Both captains get into a verbal fight. The passengers of the small boat seem to enjoy this verbal feud and start cheering like they are watching a game. The 10 passenger, all in their 60’s, are on day trip visiting ‘the big city’ of Amsterdam. You can tell they’re provincials by their accent, loud voices and way they behave. This sophisticated looking lady is clenching her fists like she is ready to fight. An also well dressed elderly man tries to lure out the other captain by provoking him to fight, meanwhile filming the scene.

Amsterdam gets a lot of tourist like this who miss behave themselves. Thinking in Amsterdam you can do whatever you want, because no body cares. I’ll bet they don’t act this way or would be amused if I would act the same way in their hometown. Not to mention the tourists who visit Amsterdam to drink or to get stoned.
Back to my story. As the captains were arguing, both boats are sailing in opposite directions. The cheering of passengers works like waving a red flag to a bull and the captain of the small boat jumps on the canal boat and runs upfront to the other captain. At that point we loose sight at the canal boat. I grap my phone and call 911. I tell the lady what just happened and point out the location of the incident. My hart is pounding. She ask me to describe the boat, the captain and the passengers. She tells me that a car is on it’s way, several calls came in on this incident. They might call me back as a witness Twenty minutes go by, the captain of the small boat has not returned jet. The so called sophisticated man, who before tried to drain the weasel, leaves the scene by foot and walks in the direction of the canal boat. After a while the older man returns to the boat and he takes over. He makes a turn with the boat and sails in the same direction as the canalboat. Meanwhile we see two policemen on the bridge. These men only know there was a crash between two boats. For my own safety I do not want the provincials to know that I called the cops. They ask me if they were aggressive as well. Maybe not aggressive but they sure adds fuel to the fire with their obnoxious behavior. One of the cops responds to me ‘what’s new!’ I go back to my friend. The boat with the ‘new’ captain, passes the cops.At the same time a boat of the water police department arrives at the scene. To my question if they have found the captain one of them respond ‘he just took off’. My friend and I leave the scene.

One hour and half later I have a call of the water police department. The cop, mr Stevens, wants to know if I am still at the scene. He would like me to describe the incident again, but since he is not able to write anything down, he will call me back later.
Seven thirty I get another call. The same guy. He asks me to describe what I’ve seen. I tell the whole story and he asks me some more details. Luckily the captain of the small boat came to his senses on time and left the boat. The cop thanks me for my input as a witness and that he has enough information on claim for damages. Outraged by his comment about the claim, I tell him that I called 911 because my concern of the safety of the captian. I don’t care about any claim. My tolerance is reaching its limit for sometime. Of course I am not talking about all provincials and tourists but a large part does not know how to behave like a guest. To my opinion these ‘guest’ ruin livability in Amsterdam. Mr. Stevens could not agree more. The police has to deal with this kind of visitors every day!

My respect to these men and women who join the police department. -Bregje-