Koninginnedag-Part One

Young BrandoToday (Friday , 27 April) was the Koninginnedag celebration for all kindergarteners at my son’s school. (There are several Dutch in his grade and in the whole school in general. The Americans are first in percentages, then come the Scandinavians [lumped together of course] then come the Dutch with about 20% of the school’s national makeup) It is actually the 40th birthday of Prince Willem-Alexander, the crown prince, but since there is no school Monday, Friday is the day for the school’s celebration. Monday is the real Koninginnedag which is in actually the birthday of the mother of the current queen. Everyone was decked out in orange (oranje?) clothes, hair, ribbons, or what not- it was the World Cup all over again – Hup Holland! My son decided on his orange pants and an orange shirt, and his “fancy hat to make Queen Beatrix happy.” Here he is, Number One Son, trying his best to do a young Marlon Brando imitation. Johnny Strabler anyone?

“My dolly she can sing, sing. My dolly she can dance, dance!” 1

Boba_Da

LittleN for the past few weeks or so has been attached to a little baby doll that we have had lying around in the toy box for who knows how long. Thanks to the training of LittleE, the baby ended up with with the name of “Boba Da”: a mixture of Boba Fett and Baby Doll. I’m not sure how Number One Son got latched on to Boba Fett but his kindergarten class is a hotbed of Star Wars and Lego Star Wars activity (at least the boys, “all the girls” are into Winx – so he tells me.) So there you go, a cross between a little baby with a bottle and a giggle when you press its tummy and a Mandalorian bounty hunter who only had like six or so lines in all six movies – not including a scream of course. And the only one LittleE has seen is the one where Boba appears for two seconds and then disappears. It still amazes me how much they learn from each other.

 

1 The title comes from the song, “My Dolly “, from Woodie Guthrie’s Nursery Days album

Medical Advice

I had a doctor’s appointment today . Nothing serious, just a general, run-of-the-mill physical exam. So to get ready for the exam I made sure Number One Son and LittleN had playdates during the appointment. Waiting around in a Dutch doctor’s office is even less fun than waiting in an American one.

I told the mother of LittleE‘s friend (who is Dutch) that I might be a little late in picking him up because of the appointment. I was worried about any sort of delays from earlier in the day trickling down to me. She told me that she used to work in a doctor’s office like the one I went to and said, “You have nothing to worry about. On a Friday, with good weather (like there was today), there will be no one at the office. You will see.”

So I go to the office and the waiting room is empty. The receptionist’s office was closed: lights off and blinds closed. My first thought was that I had been stood-up by the doctor! However the door to the waiting room was open and the light on so I decide to wait around for a few minutes; just to say that I did. Right before I was getting ready to leave, a guy comes out of a side door into the waiting area and there on the other side was the doctor waiting for me to come in. She was there, seeing patients all by herself and the receptionist took the day off.

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Intro to Web Publishing Class

If you have any questions about the class tonight, leave your questions here under comments and I’ll answer them as soon as I can. Thanks!

Texel

Over the school’s Easter break we went on a trip to Texel, one of the Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea. We sent three days there and had a good time. When I was planning our trip, I would ask some of the Dutch people we knew what they thought about the place and its possibilities for vacationing. The three that I asked all said it was a nice place to go but it was filled to the brim with Germans(!). All of them then proceeded to tell me what they thought of the Germans. Our dry cleaning man who comes around once a week1 told us that, “the place will be full of them, you will see”, “all of the property there is owned by them, they want to rule”, “it’s even worse there than Katwijk!” One of the people I asked at my son’s school said,”Oh, it’s terrible! They take over the beach and it should be for everyone.” And finally the last one we asked said that we need to watch out on the beach, “They dig holes in the sand to lie in, and will quite forcibly tell you that this is their spot.” You would think that they were being overrun with Californians the way they went on about the Germans.

Taking the ferry over we noticed that their were very few Dutch license plates on the cars but many from Germany. We were greeted in German many times by people in the shops and restaurants. Many seemed surprised and touched (or just maybe amused – it is hard to tell sometimes) that we tried to talk to them in our halting Dutch. The concierge at the hotel sure seemed momentarily taken aback when I used by Dutch drivers license for identification. Even with all of the Germans, who didn’t bother us in the least bit, we had a good time. Texel seems to have only three industries: tourism, sheep, flowers. That is pretty much what we saw; all three, in abundance, everywhere. The lambing was over about a month ago and little lambs all over the fields, hyacinths growing in enormous swaths of color, people riding bicycles everywhere, it was beautiful.

This was in the paper about the tourists in the Netherlands over the past year:

  • 2.6 million from Germany.
  • 1.85 million from the UK.
  • 970K from the US.

Main Tourist Activities in the Netherlands:

  • Visiting pubs and cafés
    • British
    • Scandinavians
  • Going to the beach
    • Germans
  • Visiting tulip fields and museums
    • Americans

I am quoting these numbers because these are the places you normally will find these nationalities.

1 (Yes, we have home pick up and delivery of our dry cleaning. We don’t use the others but there is the home delivery “Cheese Man” who delivers cheese, eggs, butter, jam, etc. and the “Chicken Man” who delivers all things poultry-it seems to be a very Dutch thing to do. )

Keukenhof

We went to the Keukenhof today. The weather was perfect and the bulbs were out in force everywhere. It never ceases to amaze me when I drive down the freeway and see row after row of flowers – everywhere – even almost right up to the train tracks. Once inside there were tulips of all different shapes, different petal shapes – tiny, enormous,fluffy, spiky, variegated, tea rose-esque, colors of all kinds. Also hyacinths (the smell of some of the displays was quite strong), daffodils (or narcissus), crocuses, flowers, flowers, flowers – rivers of flowers (quite literally! One of the “rivers” is called the Blauwe Rivier. There are others.) . The cameras were out in force today too – high powered ones: not at all like our simple, humble camera.

Bulb fields behind the Keukenhof