Impressions of Holland

I have always believed that Holland was a very liberal country and although there have been problems and racial tension. In the end it always boiled down to: ” doe maar gewoon dan doe je al gek genoeg!” Roughly translated as:  Just act normal, that is crazy enough.”  Now the polictical climate has changed it has become a lot harder and leaning a lot more to the right.  There is tension with the moslim community and a democratic elected guy has said that the Koran is exactly the same as “mein Kampf” and should become illegal. wilders

Or another great one:  “Holland is going to be swamped with moslims who will cause a lot of trouble and increase criminality also in the country.”  To me he is just some idiot (look at his hair, I mean SERIOUSLY!??) saying stupid things and I can laugh it off, what is scary, is that if elections were held today his party would easily become the biggest party in Holland.

Besides this right wing movement there is also a dumbing down of Dutch students. I have a few friends that teach at Universities who all have the same complaints that I had while teaching in Sydney. I honestly thought it was the Australian system turning the students into retarded lazy people, but surprise surprise the same thing is happening here.  Students can’t spell, think that it is your job to do the work and are surprised when they have to do things themselves and are not interested at all. Since Dutch universities get paid for each student that finishes a not much is done to stop this from happening.

So it basically comes down to the fact that while I was away the whole country fell to pieces!!

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Time to move

On Saturday I met up with some former Rave buddies of mine. Once a very a long time ago, I spent about 2 years of my life attending at least one rave a weekend. Big or small we did not really care as long the music was very loud and fast. I still have trouble believing we were actually capable of dancing to 7000 BMP and even more puzzeling is the fact that I would listen to this, I am not even sure you can call it music, for fun/ while studying. defqon1While we have all now calmed down when we get together it always gets a little out of control.  It started nice enough, we met up at a local pub for a few beers in the afternoon. Suddenly it was 11 PM and we decided to go to a random person’s house to drink more. I don’t remember too much but think it was all very enjoyable. That is until the next morning and I had to call my mum to come and get me… YES I had to call my mum.  Luckily I had a pair of big sun glasses in my bag and luckily she thought it was very funny but that kinda made it clear that I need to find a job and place to live soon!!!

Confused

Every few weeks I feel the need for a haircut, but after a week that feeling dies down and on average I end up going to a hairdresser, maybe 3 times a year.  This time I was pretty adamant that I was going to get my haircut and that I was going to get bangs.. then I changed my mind on the bangs but I still needed a haircut.

Since I have not lived in this town for the past 10 years, finding a hairdresser was rather challenging but my friend J and her boyfriend told me the name of a really good hairdresser. When they wanted to give me his number and then explain where it was I told them not to worry since I would be able to find it on the internet.  I did and I called and made an appointment, I was rather surprised that they were so easy: you can come anytime and they did not ask for any contact details. Figuring it was probably different in Sydney than in Roosendaal  I left it at that.

On the day of my appointment I walked to the salon and when I came inside I was rather taken aback. This place had not changed since the 60’s,  the people getting their hair done were at least 75 and there were only 2 hairdressers (father and daughter, mum made the coffee and washed hair).

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I took a seat and figured both my mum + friends told me this was a great hairdresser so it should all be fine.  I was asked what I wanted and explained and pointed at pictures.. My hair was washed, with a very hard hand by the 60 yr old mother/wife and then cut by the father/husband, who turned out to be a grandfather and recovering from back surgery. He also liked to draw but hairdressing was really his passion (Oh how I love talking to random people). He cut my hair and while paying he asked me how I found him since:”young people usually go my NEPHEW’S  salon down the road, his name is also PAAUW.”  I then realised that I had made an appointment with the WRONG hairdresser. Since the haircut, while not at all what I asked for, looks good I don’t really care and at least I saved some money by going to the uncle!

The Dentist

I hate dentists, really hate them. I think they are weird for choosing a profession where they have to look at teeth and dirty mouths plus my teeth suck so every time I go to the dentist I need something painful done.  And  sometimes I think they just make up stuff to get money out of you.  A few days ago, I had the pleasure of visiting my old dentist once again. dentist

Living in Australia without having dental insurance I only went to the dentist once when my tooth broke  and once when I had a toothache. I was really nervous going back again to this guy since he was always really grumpy and unfriendly. When I told him I had not had regular check ups he sighed and made a comment about the state of my teeth,  very bad for a young girl blah blah… So there I was feeling rather self-conscious and angry when he finally started checking my teeth. And for the first time ever I received a compliment from a dentist:’ I can tell you are BRUSHING really well, your fillings are SHINING.’  I was soo happy, I have finally managed to please the DENTIST!  A little odd that it was the shimmering of fillings that gave my brushing skills away, but what the hey, the dentist finally gave me a proverbial  pat on the back..

I then proceeded to try and make him even happier by telling him my floss adventures when he said that to solve the flossing issue, he could give me crown and that would cost me 450 Euro’s.. That’s when I realised he was still the dirty dentist trying to make a buck and I left.

imac and dad

I convinced my Dad to buy a an imac. He and I have the weird relationship that when we say stuff to each other we are immediately convinced that it is 1000% correct even if we just told another person (usually my mum) that what she just said was wrong.  It is odd and leads to random situations where we totally contradict what we just said, to back each other up. I don’t think this has ever been any different between us. As a child I refused to eat certain foods because my dad did not like them, only once I moved out of the house and was eating at  friends places, did I realise that I actually quite enjoyed zucchini and aubergines.    So we went to the shop and got a 24 inch imac, overview_hero2_20090303it is really beautiful and works like a dream except when you are 65 yrs old, computer illiterate and have always used a normal computer with Windows .. So now all I hear is my dad swearing while trying to do some work on his new computer. We still  refuse to admit to each other that it was probably a bad idea that we got a complete new operating system.

Decision

I really really want to get a the fellowship I am applying for and get my dream job in London. So instead of applying for more and more jobs I think that I will try and find something temporarily and hope that in December when the fellowship decisions are made I get a positive reply.  I have however applied for 2 more jobs before I decided that the UK one was the one I was going to focus on.  So in a few weeks I am meeting with a Frenchy and German chicka to talk about jobs I don’t really want. They are interesting enough really, but not as good as the UK one.. The strategy I am taking is to not piss a future employer off by accepting a job now and turning around in 2 months to say Oh by the way, fellowship came through see ya later..  I am not sure if this is the right strategy and chances (85 %, to be precise) are I wont get the fellowship..  So in the meantime I need to find work. I saw my Dutch supervisor and hopefully he will have some work for me from August onwards which means I can move out of the house and back to my old stomping ground in Maastricht.

I finally submitted my last and best paper from my thesis and am still reading up on CamKII for my application and thus keeping myself busy.

Friends

It has been a crazy week for me but fantastic fun.  I spent a few days with one of my oldest girlfriends, L,  not old in age but someone I have known for a very long time. While being overseas we hardly had any contact (maybe 2 emails in a year). But when we see each other things are always great. We talked non-stop and at the speed that we manage to talk we covered everything from our lives to politics in Australia to solving boy shortage issues.

I truly believe that great friendships are the ones where nothing really changes, having hardly  any contact with people while I was away but being with them now it is like I never left. Well we have all become older, some have babies  (only 1 actually) and some of them have settled down..

The baby thing is definitely becoming popular and while i think it is exciting when I found out that J was pregnant it was also a bit of a disappointment, or jealousy I am not sure yet.  She and I used to go to all the dance parties, take lots of illegal substances and have a blast from Thursday to Sunday. And while those days are long gone we would every now and then have a massive night for old times sake. Seeing that she is now with child  that wont be happening anytime soon.. On the other hand I would like to have a child one day so maybe knowing that she is having one made me a little jealous. I think it is the guilt from hearing my Dad continuously hint that he really wants a granchild! I am old fashioned and have decided to go for Job, Man and then child.

And I am definitely making progress on the Job thing with another interview lined up and more applications waiting to be sent out.