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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Category Archives: Things I dread….

A fallen woman?

At least that is what the word ‘Valens‘ the origin of the name for Saint Valentine really stands for.

Anyone who has really engaged in this trapeze act called Love, knows it looks so easy, pretty and graceful from the ground.
But once hanging up there yourself, you see it really is not for the faint hearted…
Everyone who has ever been dropped or let slip can tell you: It really is a long way down…

Still once you have been up there and with the fresh air in your face, you know you can never go back living on the ground…

We all know what that feels like...

A long time ago Jesuit novice (yes I know this is an interesting source) once informally told me, that in order to be a man you need balls, to be a man of love you need bigger ones!
(may be the kind of advice St. Valentine should have had! Performing Christian Marriages, what was the poor dear thinking?!)

Then there are other explanations, stating that the whole Valentine’s craze is an invention by Chaucer, or simply a continuation of an originally pagan feast called Luperculia. Any celebration helping to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility has to be great fun!

The bastard! He knows I hate pink...

Still what for me the main point really is, that this whole feast should not be about, boxes of sticky chocolates, red balloons and smelly bath salts. (because you genuinely don’t have a clue what she wants anyway)
It should be the furthest thing from the soppy side of love… The celebration of contentment, of satiety and boring comfort, commercial expectations… and arguments about getting presents wrong…  NO!

Instead let Valentine celebrate valour, courage and the brave!
The people that truly dare to let their heart speak out, the people who send a letter filled with blatant honesty or a card coated in truth. (whatever colour the bloody stationary might be..)
Why is it such a crime to tell someone you really like them?
Isn’t a tepid guilt propelled message much more harmful?

In other words... NO!

I would much rather get a clear response turning me down, than being politely strung along to ‘spare my feelings’
(?! They are mine right, so why not let me take care of them…).
Better to crash and burn, then to stay suspended in dishonest promises and unmeant words…
Indeed we all know safety nets don’t work in Love…

Come on, Fortune favours the brave.
So if you still have a heart, use it!

Bon courage for the 14th!

PS I hate red roses. (now you know why)

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It is rare that expatriated Dutch people long to come back to their ‘little cold frog country’. (NL: Ons koude kikker landje).

But a picture like this surely brings up Dutch patriotic pride and homesickness:

Skating into the sunset...

On the other hand I only have bad memories of being on the ice.
Gargantuan blisters in my skates, bruises a-go-go… and all my friends disappearing in the distance, while I fall yet again on the cracks…
No, alas. I fear I will just enjoy the aesthetic pleasure of it, seated next to the fireplace…

Making the cold bearable...

PS. Sadly the epic skating tour along 11 Friesian towns (NL: Elfstedentocht) has been cancelled. The ice was not thick enough after 11 days of frost… Pity of all those extra gallons of Beerenburg they had distilled beforehand, just in case…
Better luck next year, hic!

PPS. On a happy note, may be my tulip bulbs will make it through to spring after all!

Oh, I love Holland!

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Old balls.

Last week I decorated our Christmas tree. Early this time.
(As most of the family will be off on the 27th we decided to get one early this year)
This activity brings along a strange mix of dread and cheer for me.
It is fun to see all the old family baubles,  decorations and strange artifacts again…
Toys from generations passed gleam out at you, including a piece of aluminium foil thrown down from WWII planes to upset the German radars during the occupation… an unmissable piece of paraphernalia…

Still Christmas also always makes me glum. For me the days of advent are the annual reminder of my birthday coming up on the 24th…
For most people bithdays are days to look forward to. A day where you will be the center of attention, eating cake, receiving presents and kind messages.
In a way Christmas is somewhat the same, be it slightly more forced on us through commerce and other mega media expectations.
Carols fill the radio, (let’s not mention Mariah and Wham! this year…) The thought of everyone being nice to their neighbours descends upon us all…

Happy birthday...

So you can imagine the slight bewilderment that usually greets me on the morning of the 24th.
After more than 30 years I should know what to expect: Nothing.

On the 24th everyone is completely consumed by last minute shopping and the preparations of one, two or three days of overeating, presents and family drama.
So eating a birthday cake on the morning before is usually not really a priority. (still Facebook usually helps people remember my birthday)

Anyway, good luck everyone with the final days before the hols, getting all your work done and presents bought.

Have a good one!

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Burn baby burn!

A lot has happened since my last post.

After surviving thanksgiving I also made it through Christmas unscathed.

But regretfully all brilliant things come to an end. US Immigration decided that two runs of three months were more than enough for a low life like me.
So I had to leave the USA at the end of January. So I flew back to the Netherlands to lick my wounds and come up with a battle plan.

Now I am already many months and a lot of confusion along, working on this mythical creature called a Visa/Greencard.

My initial plan was to get back based on ‘Extraoridinary abilities”.
So under the expert guidance of a real American Attorney (yes AA) I headed for my first failure.
She agreed that I was indeed extraordinary, but judged for her country that there was no national need for collaboration specialists as collaboration is not really any use for the national agenda. Competition (read: BANKERS) is more their cup of tea.
I will not go into this, but please see ‘The Inside Job” for more details on the real situation.

Damn that education!

So here I am now…  a new job and all my friends waiting for my return, but I have to wait till October till the new round of Visas is released. There is a maximum of 20.000 visas per year for the higher educated commercial employees. And subscriptions start in advance from April…
I am doing my best to find an alternative job for a quota exempt organisation, so I could come sooner… But off course  this would take more time to organise and mean that I would have to do something I hav eto do instead of the stuff I wanted to come over for…

But if you think it really is that simple, you haven’ seen the line of flaming hoops that you and especially your future employer have to jump through.

I will need to prove many things.
1. Most importantly I have to prove not to be a nuisance and take an Americans’ place.
Well how is one to do that? I don’t know all Americans… I am sure to make at least one or two Americans miserable with my arrival… Doing stuff that they won’t do, but could have done…

2. I should not take more or less money than an American would do and affect the job market with my arrival. To prove this they have devised the most unexplainable process in which my employer has to prove they give me enough but not too much money. Till this day I really don’t know how to understand this, but I am sure it will take 5 grand in lawyers fees to have this explained to someone who doesn’t give a damn.

3. I also have to prove that all my diplomas are in fact real and not imaginary.
At the cost of $100 I received a piece of paper with a shiny sticker stating that the Technical University Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam really exist! An extra copy (an extra sticker in fact, costs an additional $25)

4. And lastly I should really (no I mean REALLY) be needed.
If not, well you might as well stop now, as we really don’t see  the point of you wanting to come here anyway… Or at least that is how I translated the words from the attorney.

Patience deary...

The hardest thing of all this is that it is completely un-personal. This has nothing to do with me as a person, yet it will only just completely change my life.

Thanks guys.

The battle continues…

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Great but pale...

Today has been a glorious sunny day, which I spent sitting in the park with a good book, a bottle and some nibbles.

Life in Britain can be brilliant sometimes!

The very best about this really is, that in this country I am not the palest one…
I still remember clearly how after every summer break my classmates would flock around me to compare their tans with mine. I was always the easiest win in the class, wherever we had been on holiday…

British summer in one day...

But here in Britain I am averagely pale. How brilliant.
Regretfully I have gotten used to it so today I was overconfident… Surely the sun in this country can’t be strong enough to burn me, right?

Well, wrong…

More is better...

I now have two solidly burned back legs, so now I am back to my childhood hobby of slapping on after-sun gel, yoghurt, cucumber, whatever it takes…

Tomorrow it is back to the old regime of 10 layers of 30 SPF sunscreen a day. As we say in Dutch: ‘Mooi wit is niet lelijk’ (transl.: great white is not ugly)

In recent years more and more young Brits have started to follow the international trend to become brown/orange. These kids are doing whatever it takes to get the right shade, so apart from slapping on fake tan, tanning salons filled with sun beds have become a daily routine for many.
In order to stop this, one of the ‘Girls Aloud’ has started a campagne showing the real dangers of this hobby.

Oh no wait, she was trying to sell her new make-up.

Oh what will await me in the States…

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You are certainly in Kansas now Dorothy....

I am not sure how to start this post.

But after my recent posting on organic and home cooked food I have had some pretty disturbing responses.

Amongst the responses was: the KFC Double Down…


Recipe: Two pieces of chicken with double cheese and double bacon and sauce inbetween, only 560 Kcals fried version and 470 Kcals grilled…
The main sales pitch of this pile is that it does not contain any bread… so it doesnt get your blood sugar up.(?!) Luckily that is compensated immediately by the amount of multi saturated fat and salt….   Phew.

And that on a day where I got warned by the butcher about hormones in Americain meat…

There is no place like home…

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20/20

After giving this blog some thought during my lunch in the park, I came up with a main aim for this blog.

When I left the NL to move to the UK, four years ago, I found that actually I missed completely different things about my motherland that I had imagined.

Some of the famous Dutch traits were a relief to leave behind, while other minor details of Dutch Life started to become much fonder memories that I could ever imagine.

So I decided to make this blog a collection of misses and wishes…

There will be several cathegories of things:

  • I think I will miss… (from UK as well as NL)
  • I am happy to leave behind…  (from UK as well as NL)
  • I look forward to… (in US)
  • I dread… (in US)

After my move I will comment in hindsight…

Was my idea of the States realistic?

We will see…

Dikke zoenen,
F.

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