Wednesday, July 18, 2018

First impression of Namibia


Over leven



Gisteravond zijn we in Frankfurt op een overvolle vakantievlucht gestapt, naar Namibie. Nokkie vol met opgewonden Duitsers. Terecht want de bestemming van de vlucht is subliem. Pracht natuur, rust, veel zon en vriendelijke mensen in Windhoek, de hoofdstad van Namibie. Het was alweer een tijdje geleden dat we een lange vlucht (11 uur) hadden gepakt. De ongemakken van dergelijke vluchten waren bij mij daardoor alweer wat op de achtergrond geraakt. De vlucht vertrok om 20:10 uur dus dat betekent automatisch een nachtvlucht, of eigenlijk ‘een nachtje slaap overslaan’. Daar stelde ik me dan ook op in. Iedere minuut dat je slaapt of doezelt is mooi meegenomen. Waar ik me niet goed op had ingesteld was dat het een ‘Duitse vakantie-’ vlucht was. Logisch, want midden in de zomervakantie. Drukker kun je het niet krijgen en luider ook niet. Nederlandse vakantievluchten zijn vast geen steek beter, maar bij deze vlucht werd enorm veel gebrald, gedronken (gratis bier en rode wijn) en geprutst aan je stoel. Want, zo bleek, de tv-schermen werkte niet op deze vlucht (waarvoor tijdens de vlucht zeker 100 maal excuses van de vriendelijke stewardes van Air Namibia) en het koste onze dronken achterbuurman zeker 2 uur- na start van de vlucht -om uit te vinden dat het dan dus ook niet hielp om achterelkaar op allerlei knopjes aan de achterkant van onze stoel te rammen (uit frustratie). Lucienne was heldhaftig- na lang geduld gehad te hebben- en sprak onze brallende achterbuurman vriendelijk (maar streng) aan. Ikzelf heb slechte ervaringen met dronken Duitse passagiers na een bijna vechtpartij in de wc op een vlucht van Fiji naar Hawai, precies 20 jaar geleden. was blij dus met deze veel effectievere aanpak. Het drinken ging wel gewoon door, net als het praten, hard praten en bijna schreeuwen (precies in die volgorde). Helaas, zelfs na twaalven waarna automatisch het cabine-licht wordt gedempt in de hoop dat de meeste passagiers rustig zullen gaan liggen rusten. Al dan niet als direct gevolg van de hoeveelheid alcohol die inmiddels is achterovergeslagen. Kortom, geen slaap, dat had ik al snel in de gaten. Zelfs geen enkele minuut. No worries, daar kun je je gewoon op instellen heb ik gemerkt. Na een paar halfslachtige pogingen om wat te slapen gooi ik het tussen mijn rug en nek opgefrommelde kussentje van mijn schouders, gooi het op een vakantievlucht overbodig beschikbaargestelde slaapdekentje van me af en ga (in het begin nog wat chagarijnig) uit het raampje staren naar het pikdonkere Afrika. Dat bleek eigenlijk het beste deel van de vlucht en zou dat zou ik voor geen goud gemist willen hebben. De start hiervan was toen we vanaf de Middellandse Zee (Mittelmeer) Algerije binnenvlogen. Het was inmiddels al donker maar in de verte (ik zat aan de westkant) kon ik nog net een mooie sunset meepikken. Daarna (wat is Algerije groot!!) Niger, stukje Nigeria? en Centraal Afrika. Aan de route zie dat ik inmiddels al aardig wat uurtjes gefascineerd uit het raam heb zutten turen. Gefascineerd omdat het aantal lichtjes dat ik zag geleidelijk steeds verder afnam. Het is dan mooi om te fantaseren wie en wat er leeft in dat grote zwarte gat daaronder met nog maar heel af en toe een lichtje. Natuurlijk schiet de armoede door mijn hoofd die zich op 10 kilometer onder me afspeelt op dat moment. Deze gedachten met dank aan de vele aandacht die er de laatste jaren in Europa is besteed aan het zogenoemde migratie-‘probleem’ aan te kaarten. Maar ook probeer ik me in te denken onder welke klimatologsiche omstandigheden men hier beneden leeft. Zeker warmer dan de onaangenaam warm aanvoelende temperatuur in het vliegtuig op dit moment. Zal zijn vanwege de opgewondenheid van de aanwezige passagiers. Maar natuurlijk ook, onder welke geologische omstandigheden leeft men daar beneden. Natuurlijk we vliegen een groot deel van de omschreven route over de Sahara, maar langzamerhand verandert dit in een tropisch regenwoud. Vandaar waarschijnlijk het afnemende aantal lichtjes. Wonen er meer mensen in de woestijn dan in de jungle? Anyway, beelden van bosjesmannen en grote kookpotten schieten door mijn hoofd. Ik verkeer blijkbaar na enkele uren toch al half tussen dromenwereld en de echte wereld. Heb ik dan toch al wat gedommeld? Half 4 inmiddels, het blijkt eigenlijk al muisstilte te zijn in het vliegtuig. De alcohol heeft hier een positieve uitwerking gehad op de meeste passagiers blijkt (inclusief mezelf?). Om 5 uur gaat het licht aan, ontbijt wordt geserveerd. Iedereen wordt wakker, inclusief ikzelf. Met als voordeel dat ik vanaf Angola de vlucht (en mijn fantasie van haar bewoners) weer met mijn volle aandacht (en verstand) meemaak. Dan wordt de daling ingezet, Namibie, eindelijk. Ik hoef niet meer te dromen van bovenaf, over een paar minuten kan ik de bewoners van dit land met eigen ogen gaan aanschouwen.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Starting new journeys

Today is graduation day for our bachelor students. We will celebrate their achievements with their parents, grandparents, and friends. They have crossed the finish line, that seemed so far away four years ago. But of course this finish line does not mean the end of their story. It signifies the beginning of their life as a communication professional, ready to take on new challenges.


For us this day also marks the beginning of a new journey, our sabbatical. Everything has been taken care of at home, all that is left to do now is pack. Which usually comes down to piling stuff onto the bed, taking away half again, then stuffing the rest in our true and tested back packs. 20 years ago we made our first 'round the world trip' with these then brand new packs, starting in Zimbabwe. I immediately fell in love with the blossoming jacarandas there. This time our first stop is Namibia: can't wait to renew the experience of seeing wild life, smelling the African bush, seeing baobabs, and enjoying the sounds of crickets and cicadas. We'll keep you posted!

Friday, March 23, 2007

TT#8 Countries I like


Thirteen Things about countries I like


1. The Netherlands, because my family lives there. And the best cheese comes from the Netherlands, as everybody knows (besides the French).

2. Australia, because of the wide open spaces, the many hours of sun and the awesome wildlife.

3. Spain, because of the flamenco (I love to dance the flamenco), the tapas, the beautiful cities and the Sierra the Gredos.

4. Costa Rica, because of the fantastic wonders of nature and the friendly people. Not for the food, which is mainly rice, black beans and egg or chicken. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. But who cares, when there are vulcano's to visit, canopy walks to make and slots to find?

5. Ireland, because the Irish are the friendliest people in Europe and the country is all lush green hills and rocky cliffs, surrounded by wild sea. Did I mention the Irish pubs and the catchy music?

6. Scotland, because of the awe inspiring mountains to hike in, Edinburgh and Inverness, the great Aberlour whisky, blokes in kilts, bagpipes and the best English accent. I must have been Scottish in a former life.

7. Norway, because of the vast emptiness, the fjords, the best hikes and Knivskjelodden.

8. Finland, because of the sauna's, the snow and the hot lunches.

9. Slovakia, because of the Male Fatra and the High Tatra and all the other mountains to hike. Nice people, not a great kitchen, unless you like schnitzel and cabbage every day.

10. Zimbabwe, because of the enormous amount of wildlife and the most beautiful jacaranda's I have ever seen anywhere.

11. Fiji, because of the guys in sulu's, the gorgeous food, the colourful corals and fish and the lush rainforests. And the seasnakes can't bite, or so they tell you (I have my doubts on this).

12. Belgium, because of the 24 screen cinema in Antwerp, the Belgian fries with tartare sauce and the nice language.

13. Canada, because of the Rocky Mountains, Vancouver Island and the fabulous hot springs.

Can we do 26 instead of 13??? Could easily go on for a bit here. :-)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Tink
2. ancsweetnsassygal



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Thursday, March 15, 2007

TT#7 To TT or not to TT

Thirteen Things about not TT-ing


Yes, I have not been TT-ing for a few weeks and here are the reasons why, in green of course cause it is almost St Paddy's Day.

1. The last time I tried, I was working for over an hour listing my 13 biggest frustrations, when after no. 10 I apparently pushed a wrong buttong, so the whole thing was gone. Talk about frustration: that totally did it for me. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!! &*^%$(!!! So, no 13 then. Only later it occurred to me I could have only done the last 3 and explain why there were no first 10. More frustration in retrospect! This time I save this post as a draft every 10 minutes.

2. The week after I was still cross with myself, the computer, blogging in general and TT-ing in particular, so no TT.

3. Then I was way to busy starting up the new semester at uni. Even lectures I have given before still take a surprising amount of time to prepare, due to my stupid inhibition to always try and make it better than it was the first time. Years ago I was taking a course in 'teaching for higher education' and one of my fellow students proudly mentioned that he had been teaching the exact same course for 10 years now, same material, books, jokes and all. Needless to say this left me stunned for a minute. After which I just had to ask why he thought this was something to be proud of. After which followed a heated discussion. Why can I never keep my mouth shut at appropriate times? (maybe a good topic for another TT?)

4. Let me think what my next excuse was, ah, being away for the weekend. In my time zone I cannot get started on the TT until Friday, because during my Thursday it is not opened up yet. And Friday is almost weekend, so when going away. (Bit weak, isn't it?)

5. I had spend so much time online for work and study, that just the thought of getting behind the computer to do some blogging made me feel tired and totally not in the mood. And then I thought: well, nobody is reading it anyway, so why bother? I know, I know: write and thou shall be read (and at least the opposite is true).

6. Gee, when I started this one I thought I had lots of great excuses for not being here doing this, but it turns out te be a rather meagre lot. Hm, I felt out of touch for a few weeks and had a hard time getting back in. But hey, here I am. :-)

7. I am reading this great book by Adam Williams, The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure, that I wanted to finish first. And no, I haven't yet, but this weekend will be the moment that I know how the British will end up in China (probably dead).

8. Friday last when we came home we found my cousin from the Netherlands on our driveway, sleeping in his car after driving for 25 hours. Lots of catching up to do and we had to show him the good side of Canberra/Australia. That was great by the way, cause we felt like we were on a holiday too, at least until Monday morning when we had to get to work, while he was lazing around, reading books and soaking up the sun. But again, no TT-ing time anywhere to be found. He is packing up as I am typing this, headed for the Snowy Mountains.

9. I just did not have any inspiration. Every week I'm totally amazed by people who come up with these really original TT's. Love Tinkerbell's this week: 13 things in my purse. I've seen it in a magazine once, photo's of what women carry (read: drag) around in their handbags. Unbelievable and yet familiar at the same time. I wonder how many women do also carry around their hubby's stuff (because he doesn't want to be found dead with a purse or handbag): keys, wallet, phone, etc. "Hey hon, could you put this in your bag???" Big sigh, because you know it is no use to ask why he cannot just get his own bag and carry his own stuff around.

10. Uh, maybe we can shrink this to a Thursday Ten?? You could still keep the TT going .....

11. Seriously though, I think the 'feeling out of the loop' thing does count for a lot of not TT-ing on my part. I don't feel I belong to the incrowd yet and I am sensitive about that. As a kid I was often an outsider and it doesn't take a lot for me to feel like that again, as I realise now. But it is all in my own mind, right? NLP and all that. Just keep on going and see it as an exercise in expressing myself on the web.

12. I spend lots of time going to the physio, then a sportsphysician, then the physio again, for 2 unrelated injuries that just drag on forever. One since April and one since October. Take it from me: if people tell you to be patient, go to a physiotherapist instead and start getting better earlier and faster!

13. The main reason I do sit down now, although I should be preparing my lecture for next week and could easily defend not having the time, is that I love the way the TT-thing is forcing me to write in English and stretch my brain a bit. Make that a lot. So there you have it.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. Selena Kitt 2.Kathy 3. Cutie Some people did not leave a link, so I have no clue how to add them??
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Thursday, January 25, 2007

TT#6 Letting go


Thirteen Things about letting go


Being able to let go is not my strong suit.

1. I have a really really good memory, so just forgetting is not an option. My earlies memories are from age 3, so there are a zillion of them by now.

2. If you believe in star signs, I can blame the fact that I'm a Cancer. According to the books they can never let anything just go, be it old theater tickets or old friends. I must say that sounds like me. I used to collect everything, bar my nail clippings, just to hold on. Explanation for that would be the fact that lots of things changed in my youth that I did not want to change, but over which I had no control what so ever (you know: moving all the time, parents divorcing, schools you attend, etc), so I sort of got attached to things instead of people. Before emigrating to Oz though, I had to get rid of loads of things, so I guess that worked rather therapeutic. ;-)

3. Although I do hold on to memories, friendships, etc, I definitely do not bear grudges. I'm not vindictive and can rather easily let go of misunderstandings and fights, as long as the other party says 'sorry' too.

4. As a kid and teenager I often felt like Remi, because I didn't fit in well. My parents were weirdish hippies and I was way to smart. That's probably why I wanted to keep all the friends I had for ever and went way too far in order to keep them.

5. I'm quite protective of the people I love and rather keep them safe, so I don't want to let them go out and face the scary world.

6. If I really want something, I'll keep on going until I get the result I planned. Letting go of the dream is just not an option. That is how I managed to finally get work here in Oz: kept on 'harrassing' people until they hired me. :-)

7. As you might imagine, I'm a really good money saver. I'm not very stingy though, I just decide carefully on what to spend the money. Good causes are travelling, doing something with family or friends, studying and good dance classes.

8. After a semester, I want to keep in touch with all the students, because I got really interested in them and what they want from life and how they are going to get it. I know that is impossible, so I have to let go. Whenever I come across one accidentally, e.g. when I stumble on an ex students blog or meet them in a pub somewhere, I really like to find out how they are doing.

9. Books that I read and liked used to be kept. So I ended up with thousands of them, cause I'm an avid reader. The migration, as mentioned, forced me to get rid of lots of stuff. Also books, because it wasn't quite fair to stuff up other peoples houses with my things. About 20 moving boxes had to go. I gave away all my children's books to friends with kids and sold the rest. Heartbreaking! Now I mostly borrow books in the library, saves the trouble.

10. I love the internet, because it enables me to keep in touch with lots of friends, old colleagues, old teachers, family, new friends, etc. Love it! Won't let go of my laptop as of yet.

11. As to other things, I get attached to certain brands for certain things and I really hate it when, once again, I seem to be the only one that likes it, so it goes of the market. Favourite deodorant: gone! Favourite shampoo: gone! Favourite bra: not for sale in Oz, only in Europe. And so on. Very irritating to be made to let go of preferred niceties. I would be one of those 'loyal till death' customers, if only marketeers would give me the chance!

12. I still cannot really let go of weight. Weirdly enough I loose weight as long as I don't pay attention to it at all. As soon as I realise that I lost weight, something miswires in my brain, I start paying attention to what I eat, exercising, etc and bingo: I gain the weight back. I wish I could let go of my last bit of my eating disorder for ever.

13. Since I embraced the TT meme, I have to stick with it. Damn!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Skittles
2. Di
3. Bubba
4. Geggie
5. Sunflower
6. Gabrielle
7. Tink
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Saturday, January 20, 2007

TT#5 Korea


Thirteen Things about Korea


Back from the holidays and all ready to tell you why you really should go and visit South Korea:

1. It is a beautiful country. Lots of fantastic nature parks, in which you can stumble upon rock carved budha's, little monasteries or 'just' a big grey squirl or black and white woodpecker.
2. The Korean people are really proud of their country and go out of their way to help you and give you a great impression of Korea. Total strangers helped us found a place to stay (which took up to 1,5 hours at one point), took us to nice restaurants (and wanted to pay) and gave us guided tours of the city. Out of niceness, not for money or anything else. Can you believe that? It is true!
3. Seoul is like New York, only lots cheaper: vibrant, exciting and with lots of good shops, hip bars and good food. Even I, a notorious non-shopper, found an interesting store: a mega mega mega bookstore, which also had quite an English collection.
4. Public transport is great, maybe not as excellent as in Singapore, but still very good. In Seoul the trainstations are also mentioned in English, which is nice, because learning the Hangeul script properly takes a little longer than a week. There is a train station close to almost every place of interest, ranging from the Olympic stadium to the grand royal palace. If you take a wrong exit though, as we did a few times, it might still take you half an hour to get to the actual sight. :-)
5. There are, thanks to the Olympics, clean public toilets everywhere, for free. In the Netherlands you have to pay for every toilet, if there is any at all, and then they are mostly dirty. And don't ask if you can use the toilet from a shop or pub, because they will assertively say 'no'.
6. Did I mention the food? We really loved the food. Some people can't get charmed by the kimchi (peppered cabbage), but that is only a side dish and one of many at that. Mostly you end up with at least 4 different dishes on your table, to accompany your sticky rice or noodles and you can spice up the food to your liking with peppers, garlic and other interesting stuff. Lots of veggies and the right type of fat too. You won't get fat in Korea, as long as you don't go to Maccas.
7. Koreans are internet crazy: almost every hotelroom gives you free internet. In your room.
8. They are also mad about tv, judging on the size of the flat tv screens in the hotelrooms: mostly they are about the same size as the double bed. Compared to our 15 inch screen at home, that was shocking!
9. All hotels, restaurants, etc, serve clean drinking water, so no worries about getting travelers diarrhoea. Drink to your hearts content.
10. Korea boasts amazing teashops, with serve totally different teas from anywhere else. If there is no-one on the streets around 4 p.m., have a look in a teashop. That is where everybody relaxes with a big cup of spicy or relaxing tea, accompanied by little rice cakes. The cinnamon and jujube tea were especially tasty, but also the pear tea was yum.
11. The traditional Korean building style is still used in new buildings and it is very charming. The big skyscraper apartment building are not my cup of tea, but considering there are over 10 million people living in Seoul, they need them. If you go out into the country though, you'll see the traditional style everywhere.
12. Koreas has a lot of World Heritage sites to visit and enjoy. Bulguksa temple in Gyong-ju is recommended (4 hours by train south of Seoul).
13. If you would like, you can get the most peculiar things on markets to spice up your lovelife, get your brains to work properly or cure/prevent about any disease. We did not personally try the grounded snakes, but they looked impressive.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Guus was here


Guus Hidding, football coach, is a national hero in South Korea. If you have the same nationality as Guus, they like you on the spot. And it is easy to find the good restaurants in Seoul: those are, of course, the ones that Guus has frequented during his time in Korea. Easy peasy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

TT#4: Idiosyncracies


Thirteen Things about myidiosyncracies


1. The only soft drink I really like is no sugar cola. It may be called 'diet', 'max' or 'sugarfree' and it can be any brand (low price determines the cola of choice when shopping). My very favourite though is Diet Coke with Lime, from the nestor of cola.

2. If there is a mirror, or a window for that matter, I have to look in it. My left side is slimmer than my right side. Isn't that weird?

3. I have to put on my seatbelt before driving away. Without it I feel naked.

4. I cannot get used to bike helmets. I find them silly, sweaty and totally nonsens if you're over, say, 10 years old. They mess up your hair too. As soon as I say this, people start with the stories when a bike helmet saved their life, but I have done without one for 35 years (and fallen numerous times and never hurt my head) and I'm not convinced. The only reason I wear one is because if caught without, you loose points on your drivers license. (How stupid is that? I always were my seat belt and never drive drunk or speed!)

5. I have to check my email everyday. I'm quite dissappointed if there is none.

6. As soon as I hear the unmistakable sound of the postie (government motorbike), I have to walk to the mailbox and check. I hate it when the only thing put in is some stupid commercial stuff.

7. If I start reading a book, I have to finish it. In proper order, no peaking on the last page. Even if I don't like it.

8. I don't like to eat with my hands. I prefer cutlery, even for a sandwich, or chopsticks if must be, but no grabbing with bare hands. Even as a kid, I never wanted to hold a cookie, especially not chocolat ones: my mother had to keep it and I would have bites from it. I have adjusted in the sense that I do eat with my hands when appropriate (prawns, fries, when in Africa), but I still don't enjoy it.

9. If I think someone has a nice shirt on or something like that, I'll alway tell them. I love paying compliments, but only when sincere. No lies, unless asked for (you're not putting down irreversable breast implants or face lifts of course).

10. When I'm nervous, I talk. A lot.

11. I will never let myself be beaten by a machine. I'll use the manual, call the helpdesk, ask a friend: whatever it takes to conquer the thing. Be it a computer, a phone, a DVD recorder, a new weblog program or an oven.

12. I love wind, breeze, storm, only not too much when riding my bike in opposite direction. Walking is fine though.

13. I'm totally smitten with kangaroos. Everytime I see one,and that is quite often, I love them. They are just too cute! At night you have to be very careful, so you won't kill one on the road. On the other hand, roo mince meat is nice. Forget about the sausages though!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Stacey

2. Mar

3. Caylynn

4. Tinkerbell

5. Ktcat

6.Aquariandragon

7. Tug

8. Danno

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Thursday, December 07, 2006

TT#3 Australia


Thirteen Things I love about Australia


1. The light here is always very very bright, summer and winter, so even if the days are not that long, it is easy to get your required dose of light. No more winter depressions!

2. Nature is awesome. Although the Netherlands has deer, wild hogs, seals, rabbits, all kinds of rodents, fish and birds, it is not quite the same. For instance, you can spot kangaroos here daily, whereas it might take you years to find a wild deer. The hundreds of different birds, the roos, the iguana's, the camels, the echidna's, the koala's, the wombats, the crocodiles, the whales, etc, etc. I must admit the spiders are either too big or too deadly. So are the snakes. We're trying to avoid them.

3. There is just so much space here! You must come from a really crowded country, as I did, to fully appreciate this vast emptiness. The endless rainforests, the endless coastal line with empty beaches, the immense desert. As I said: nature is awesome.

4. Fruit is so much better than in cold Europe. The farmers market on Saturday provides you with fresh seasonal produce for a few dollars and it tastes all great. Since the cyclone earlier this year, the banana's have been 13 dollars a kilo, so we're missing out on those, but everything else: fantastic!

5. Veggies are rather interesting. Even if they have the same name, like spinach, it is a totally different species than what we were used too. Makes you creative while cooking.

6. There are a lot more Asians here and so there are lots of good Asian supermarkets and Asian restaurants. Thai, Indian, Malay, Singaporean, Korean, (vegetarian) Vietnamese, Chinese ... you name it, it is there. And not for posh expensive prices as in Europe. Am I to focused on food here???

7. If a public holiday falls in a weekend, you get the next Monday off ....

8. We learned how to grow veggies here, because our cousin has an organic veggie plot. So, now I know what rocket salad looks like while still growing and I can tie up broadbeans and harvest cherry tomatoes. Weeding is a bit tricky, because some veggies I might classify as weeds. But I'll learn.

9. Every park here has free BBQ's and there are clean public toilets everywhere. Very relaxed when you want to spend a day outdoors, but don't want to rough it. Or if you're with people who need to pee often, e.g. while being pregnant.

10. People are actually quite relaxed in sharing things as public BBQ's. You get into friendly conversation instead of having to fight for you half hour. If lucky, you get advice on how to cook your sausages too.

11. I like the houses here, because they are mostly groundlevel and surrounded by gardens. The fact that most Aussies have no clue on interior decorating, or gardening for that matter, doesn't matter. We made our own house quite cosy. Had to make a trip to Ikea though, which is 4 hours away.

12. A lot of our aunts, uncles and cousins live here and it is great to get to know them better.

13. I always wanted to experience living abroad and hey, I'm doing it!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. sharala

2. susan




(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, November 29, 2006

13 things about marking papers


Thirteen Things about marking papers by Taconcubano

My number 2 is about a down side of my work. Maybe I should have stuck with my 'I never want to be a teacher' idea? ;-)

1. Marking papers takes up lots of time, especially time that was supposed to be free time, as in 'weekends' and 'evenings'.

2. I actually don't like it to award Fails.

3. Unfortunately I have to, too often.

4. Which makes you wonder: why not just give everybody a Pass? Or higher? Well, if that was possible, there wouldn't be much point in marking the papers in the first place. Which would be fine with me: let's change the rules.

5. This would not go well within our society though, which is very much focused on performance and proving to be the best, be it in school, sports, art, dance (tap dance competitions?????) or at bullying other countries about their idiosyncracies.

6. Hey, we have spelling contests for primary school children, for goodness sake! And aren't there the diploma's in kindergarten for being able to tie your shoelaces?

7. See, that's where it all starts, the obsession with grades and marks. Maybe even sooner, when parents are bragging about their children who 'already' can roll over, crawl or smile. (Meaning: my kid is better than yours, that still cannot perform these things.)

8. I think it is silly my uni only gives out grades, not marks, because students tend to give you a whole lot of hassle over 0.1 more if you do give them the marks. But we give them the marks anyway, we just don't tell them which ones. (I must admit this does save time arguing about them, but still.)

9. Students only complain about unfairness if they find your judgement to severe. If you give them a good grade for slack work, nobody complains (like: this is not fair to my classmates, please mark me down).

10. Marking is not too bad if students would write interesting papers, but those are a minority. Lots of people study efficiently, another Western based value: get the best result with the least effort.

11. You maybe wonder by now why I want to be a teacher? Well, I like the students and I like to work with them. Do it over being stuck in an office for 8.5 hours a day anytime. I just don't like marking papers. Or reports for that matter.

12. The reason I'm procrastinating here, from marking papers that is, is that is seems to be a real Sisyphus job (the ancient king who had to roll a big rock up a hill, only to have it roll down the other end, after which he had to start over): as soon as the pile is gone, there is a new pile turning up.

13. So I guess I have to put up with this part of the job. But only while protesting!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. caylynn


2. dragon heart


3. chaotic mom


4. chickadee





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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thursday 13: Sint!


Thirteen Things about Sinterklaas

13 things you need to know about Saint Nicolas, who's birthday is celebrated on the 5th of December each year.

1. Saint Nicolas (or Sinterklaas as we call him) is a nice friendly guy, but not stupidly silly as Santa Claus (hohoho ....).

2. He is not as fat either.

3. He has this really cool white horse, called Schimmel (which would translate as 'mould', because that is what we call white horses with little grey spots on them) who can do rooftops.

4. As soon as he arrives in the country, you got to put your shoe at the fireplace/window/balcony and he'll stuff it with lollies. Smart children use a very big shoe, preferably a boot.

5. His Pieten (the black helpers) ARE funny and silly and they do good acrobatics.

6. Sinterklaas lollies are the best: chocolate letters, spicy sweets, chocolate mice, marzipan sausages.

7. You get to make a 'surprise' (pronounce 'surprease') for someone, which gives you the opportunity to set them straight on their errors from the past year. Only in a nice teasing way though, nothing nasty or mean.

8. Sinterklaas has his own news on tv, so you get important updates on his works and whereabouts each day.

9. He also owns a website, where you can get help with the rhymes that go with the surprise.

10. Sinterklaas' birthday is actually on the 6th, so in Belgium that is the day they celebrate. In the Netherlands it is on the evening of the 5th.

11. Some parents tell their children when they are about 7 years old that Sinterklaas doesn't actually exist. Of course they are very wrong!

12. Sinterklaas was a real bishop, some 800 years ago, in Turkey. I'm not sure they still remember him there though.

13. I just love Sint and I think it is a sin that shopkeepers try to copy the US and UK and start putting up Xmas trees before the 5th of December. There should be a law against that!


Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fence

A nice look on the fence, since the house itself is invisible from the road.


And a peak behind the fence: left door = kitchen, right door = front door. And there is Nick of course, sitting pretty.....

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lost in space

One of the reasons I sometimes feel very lost here is that the sun moves differently. The moon looks funny and the stars are all in the wrong places. I actually need a compass here to find North, which used to be very easy. Also estimating time looking at where the sun is, is tricky. And the weirdest thing? The sun comes out of the sea in stead of sinking in it ....

Monday, August 07, 2006

Toilets at work

Ever wondered why toilets at the workplace are always very tiny with three quarter walls and only half a door? And why the door opens standard on the wrong side, so you have to squeeze yourself in while holding your bag above your head and trying not to dislocate the toilet paper dispenser? And how comes there is always, always, someone entering the restroom at exactly the moment you thought you could relieve yourself in peace and quiet of some embarrasing bowel stuff? All this talk about privacy and the most intimate part of your workplace does not give you any privacy at all. Maybe we should not name it 'restroom', just so we don't get the wrong idea about it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ouch!

Never try this at home: scoop up a pasta shell with a wooden spoon from a boiling pan and pop it in your mouth in order to find out if it is 'al dente'. The water that remains in the shell is actually 95 degrees. Celsius.

Okay, that was a really dumm thing to do. I admit it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Back again

Never ever break your wrist, especially not the one on your 'good' hand. You have no idea for which stupid things you need it, before you cannot use it anymore. That goes from wiping your bum to scratching your back, putting in your contacts to brushing your teeth. And those are just the everyday little things. Anyway, after 8 weeks in a cast and so far another 4 doing physiotherapy twice a week, it is sort of back to normal. Still hurts a bit now and then and I cannot lean on it while putting any weight on it, but .... typing is okay. So, I'm back.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Broke my wrist

Tuesday I tripped and broke my right wrist. Unfortu nately I'm very right handed. So it takes me forever to write something, which is very frustrating. Better just look at my photoblog http://26photo.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Immobiliser

Unbelievable but true: our car was found on the weekend! Some people just did not want to walk 5 streets in the rain and took our car instead. They even parked it neatly in front of the apartment building where they live. Very considerate, ahum. But we were of course very happy that it was found and that only the passenger door lock was ruined. No clue on how they started it, but they managed to do it without fucking up the ignition. Hurray! Needless to say we have taken some measure to prevent this from happening again, even if it does not rain that often in Canberra. An nice little electrical device, called an immobiliser, will protect our good old Camry when we are not there. So it will be waiting for us in the spot where we left it. As it should.