I heaved a sigh last night, when I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed. My husband asked me what was wrong. I answered and told him I had nothing to look forward to today. Nothing except cleaning the house and minding kids.

You're depressed, he said.

– You think?

What I do know is that any form of passion for life seems to have flown right out the window. In the back of my head I'm writing posts filled with frustration and rage. Over those posts a layer of guilt is pasted. Guilt for feeling the way I do. For wanting to take escape.

I'm not tired of life perse, I'm tired of THIS life. I have visions of freedom, of doing my own thing, of not being worn down by the continual presence of spoken and unspoken demands. Demands on my time, my attention, my capabilities. They eat at me, leaving behind an empty shell with nothing left to give.

I don't like this me. Don't like feeling this way. Frantically I try to place my life in perspective. I have a home, a husband who loves me, kids who love me, friends and family who care.

But it doesn't help. So then my old friend guilt returns to me and tells me I'm ungrateful and should be ashamed.

When we moved, I hoped we had entered a new phase of our lives. A phase in which love would reign in our family, new beginnings could be made and a new life could be started. Instead I find myself weighted down by unmet expectations. By hopes that have been trodden on, dreams that have not come true. We are who we are, and we packed ourselves as well as our household when we came here. Dysfunction didn't get put out with the trash, it travelled right with us, and it's weaving its insidious way into our family as I write.

And I am incapable of stopping it.

There are always two ways of looking at things. Is your cup half empty or half full? What words do you chose when you tell somebody how you're doing? What words do you chose when you write? It's all in the presentation. You decide what to bring to the foreground, and what to leave unmentioned.

I want to mention the unmentionable. I want to uncover my dark side, get the demons out of my closet, from underneath my bed, put into words the depth of desperation that sometimes clutches at my soul.

I don't need platitudes. I don't need to hear it's the weather.

What I do need to hear is that this is ok. That I'm not a bad mother or a bad wife for feeling the way I do. I need to know that I am loved, even when I tell you about the nasty part of me. And I need to be given room. Room to be me, not someone elses idea of me.

Maybe then I'll be able to see what I have, instead of what I don't.

Just for laughs

"Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit."


When the angels appeared to the shepherds, late at night, they sang "Glory be to God in the highest; on earth peace; good will toward men."

There's a dutch Christmas song based on these words. For me, no Christmas service is complete without singing it.

I thought I would share it with you:

Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas Market

Went to a christmas market with Herman, Tristan and divers other family members last night. Marinda was at the ballet with a friend. But that's not the point...

The market was in Kampen, pretty close to here. It's an old town with old gables and eaves, next to a river. A nice place to organize a market, Dickens style. Much to my enjoyment there was hardly a Santa to be found. Just one at the end of the evening, riding a sleigh. But sadly, there were also hardly any stables or Joseph or Mary or any mention of Jesus birth to be found either. Just one silly scene; a big wooden board painted with the traditional manger scene with the added attraction of sticking your head through so that you became the face of Mary or Joseph. I couldn't really appreciate the humor in that.

Anyway, here are some pictures of what we saw!

Gingerbread houses

Lots of careful preparation:

Careful use of technical support:

With this as the end result:

Thank you Ikea!


I've had a busy social week. Last night I was out with some of my volunteers, tonight I was out with my colleagues and board members. Board members make me nervous. I feel I have to be all upbeat and professional and all "yeah I love this job and give me more money please!!" all the time. And I feel a huge lack of sincere interest on their part. Something which was again made quite clear to me by the one know it all who bothered to start up a conversation and then got up and left halfway through a sentence. I think it was one of his sentences though, so that was no great loss!

Anyway, I find it draining to have to put up appearances. I was ready to go home about an hour and a half before I did and almost felt the smile on my face turn into a grimace. I missed meaningful conversation. To be honest though, I didn't start up any meaningful conversations either. So really, who am I to call the kettle black?

I have two weeks of free time ahead of me. I can hardly grasp the concept. And I must give the above mentioned board members some credit. I got a nice Christmas bonus. I'm thinking of turning it into the beginning of my "get me to my high school reunion" fund. Every little bit helps!

Now I will take my grouchy unsociable head to bed.

Growing up

I grew up, at least partly, in a relatively strict christian setting. The kind of setting where dancing is a sin, and drinking.... don't even think about it! Sex before marriage, big issue, smoking... up there with drinking. Maybe you know the kind of setting I mean!
That's why it was funny for me to see an old friend drop by my blog and then scarper off as fast as her mouse could take her. Because in the last week I have blogged about naked men and beer. That must have gotten some eyebrows raised!
But I also know what it's like to see the complete opposite. People getting falling down drunk, lots of sleeping around, smoking... no drugs though as far as I can remember.
I think I've found the balance somewhere halfway. Although some would think there's no halfway about it. I'm just a prude according to some standards!
I have a drink now and then, but have never been drunk. I love to dance, but am incapable of doing it. I have christian and non christian friends who smoke but almost choked on my own first and last cigarette. And as for sex... well I have two kids, so I must be doing something sometimes, right?
I just realized that I can add blogging about sex to the things I've written about this week. Now I've pretty much guaranteed some people won't be reading this blog!

Just a note

Just a note to say that a cold beer, Christmas music and a bit of peace and quiet have great healing properties. They should be put into a pill I can take daily :-)


I have a busy week this week. Two nights away from home doing Christmassy things at work. Sometimes that's ok, but right now..... not really.

Added to that I have some decisions to make and every time I think I've got things sorted in my head, something happens to make me doubt my choice all over again.

And I got told to take good care of myself today, seeing as I was pregnant and all.
Just one thing.... I'M NOT!!!

Oh yeah.... those peppermint candy canes?
They weren't.

So excuse me while I say



I'm more of a candy than potato chips kind of person, but Doritos are absolutely my all time favorite. I ate them when I lived in the States when I was 13 and have had a hankering for them ever since. When my dad travelled to the States when we lived in Ethiopia, I'm pretty sure Doritos were on the list of things to get.

A couple years back my friend Sharon was coming for a visit to Holland. This was in her wild single days ;-).
I specifically asked her to bring me a BIG bag of Doritos. Imagine my surprise when the day before she arrived, Doritos finally hit the stores here in Holland!
Since then I can eat Doritos to my hearts content. One bag will disappear in a sitting if I let it! But usually I buy them to accompany wraps.

My kids also appreciate the gustatory delights of a crispy nacho cheese dorito. It's a small bit of heritage from their third culture mom. That and peppermint candy canes. Which, I am very very pleased to announce.... will arrive in our house on Sunday, delivered by an angel of a friend who stalked a store in Utrecht for me!!

Christmas is here folks! And the nicest tree ever, we all concur!!

Only in Holland

Only in Holland can you go to a night in celebration of volunteer work and behold a naked man walking across a stage with only two thermos cans covering his private parts.....

Yes... only in Holland.

It's beginning to look a lot like

I don't make the best pictures, but here's an impression of what has been Christmasized in our house.....


Last night I went to a concert organized by the choir that my parents in law sing in. It was in a chapel about 5 kilometers from here. I had hoped to go with Marinda but... homework called!

I came into the church and found most of the back rows taken. Seeing as I actually wanted to see my parents in law, I ventured forth to the front seats. I actually ended up sitting by myself, about six rows to the back with nobody in front of me. Is that a dutch thing, to not want to sit in the front row?

The church was filled with grey heads and dark coats. Even though there were coathangers in the foyer, everybody kept their coats on. Is that also a dutch thing? To go into church looking like you're ready to run out at a moments notice? It wasn't due to the cold, because the heater was working!

I looked at the program and then sent Herman a rather desperate sms. This was supposed to be a Christmas concert and I only recognized two of the twenty songs! And the language! Here in this traditional, very very very traditional area great joy is found in singing old old songs. Written in ancient dutch. Comparable to singing hymns written in shakespearean english.
When I first came to Holland and went to church with Herman I would nudge him and ask for an explanation for every other word of the songs we were singing.

Eventually the choir came up and I got smiles of recognition from my parents in law. And then the music burst forth. Surprisingly good actually! I had expected a rather unprofessional set-up, but they sounded good! Old and traditional sure, but I still enjoyed it, despite the sonorous tones of the organ and the sloooooooooow tempo in which all was sung.
And I recognized enough of Silent Night to get at least some of the Christmas spirit.

That, and the tree which is standing unclothed in our living room, are the beginnings of Christmas in this house!


We celebrated Sinterklaas yesterday with friends.

We went from this to this within a matter of hours!

Creativity abounded....

And there was plenty of good cheer....

An experience worth repeating!

What to say

What to say about a day that is ending with me sitting on the couch with an egg on my head, watching Big Mommas House with the family?
I was cleaning this afternoon, in preparation for our Sinterklaas celebrations, when I impatiently jerked the plug out of the vacuum cleaner. It sailed through the air and landed between my eyes. Leading to some loud expletives and a lovely bruise.
Our evening was spent among ourselves instead of with our friends due to sickness on their part. We're hoping to celebrate Sinterklaas tomorrow night. I had my kids hanging over me giggling and squealing half the evening. Loved that!! It isn't too often that we spend the evening in the same room in the house. We even played battleship.
And on another positive side.. some other opportunities have arisen. Too soon to confirm anything yet, but I hope to have some good news in a week or two. I have been feeling very very gloomy lately, and this could be the good news that I've been longing for.
That's all for now!

The search continues

The last three weeks have been spent looking for peppermint candy canes. A couple of years ago I discovered them in a candy store and started the tradition of hanging them in our Christmas tree. A very undutch thing to do, let me tell you! Since then candy canes have taken over the stores, but nowhere are they peppermint! It's all strawberry and rainbow and bubblegum and what have you.

But that's just not good enough for me! I want peppermint, because there's no peppermint that tastes quite like candy cane peppermint.

So I will continue the search. I have exhausted the stores in my town, the next step will be to haunt the stores in the nearest big city. Christmas just won't seem Christmas without those canes.....

I found my golden ticket!

written by Marinda

Well, I didn't actually find it. I got it. From the department of Education to be precise.

It's called a CJP-pas, which means Cultural Youth Passport. It's a card every student gets in 'de bovenbouw'. (grades 10 to 12) Its purpose is to stimulate young people to go to a mu
seum or theater more often. The card provides a 25 per cent discount at almost every museum in Holland and a shocking 50 per cent discount at all popular musicals! That means my ticket to go see Tarzan isn't €64 but only €32! This has actually made me consider going sometime. Guess the card really works. And that, dear people, isn't the best part yet. Because that would be that I get a 10 per cent discount at, here comes; America Today, Six, Accessorize, Wonder Woman and Cool Cat! I can go shopping! And surprisingly enough, that is still not all. On each card there is a €15 credit. And because Marinda chose art class, they throw on another €10 for me. That's €25! I love you dear Mr. Plasterk! [Minister of Education] He's a 51 year old, grey-haired man. But hey, he's giving me money!

No, I'm not that superficial. I actually like going to museums. Tomorrow me and my art classmates are going to the Krüller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, to look at some painting of Van Gogh. There are some paintings that I really like. Stop laughing, I really do! Have you ever noticed that in one of his self portraits one eye is green and the other one is brown. Really, here's proof. The left eye is green and the right one is brown. I always notice that kind of weird things. For me that's actually the fun of art. Spotting minor little details and telling them to the person next to you. Who then of course answers with: Well, look at that, you're right. I was there last summer, so I already collected some fun details. So tomorrow I'm gonna stun all my classmates and art teacher with my amazing eye for detail.


Tired and watching House. It's been a busy two days at work. Nowadays I practically need the five days between to recover! Which is really ridiculous.
Anyway, hanging on the sofa watching an exaggerated medical tv program is enough to turn my mind numb and afford some kind of relaxation :-)
Tomorrow we're off to do some Sinterklaas shopping. We're going to Ikea, like the best place ever. Which means we'll either get breakfast for a euro, or get a hot dog and soda for a euro. And we'll get doughnuts for the kids, because around here Ikea doughnuts are as close as you can get to american doughnuts. Soft and sweet and sugary, yum.
I think I must be hungry...