Tuesday, September 29, 2009


De Eeuw van Mijn Vader starts on page 11. I'm now on 111! I can do this. Only 388 pages to go!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Dutch Character

Reading Chapter 4 makes me wonder about the Dutch character.

In the media broadcasts, I can see that people in the Netherlands go out a lot for live entertainment. They're out for everything from sports to listening to authors read books that are half an hour long.

In the early 1920s, the Dutch also went out a lot. There were various church meetings and functions almost every night of the week.

I'm wondering if churches back then adapted to the Dutch character by having something to go to most of the time. On the other hand, could the Dutch character have been formed by churches? Did religion go away and leave behind the habit of going out all the time? Please comment.

I think that going out is great, and I try to do it. It connects you with others. When you watch TV, you just have an illusion of connection, and you can fall asleep. You can't fall asleep when you're out. Also, you have to have the energy to get there and then go home.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Answering my own question earlier, I would say that the Netherlands does a better job of international news than the US. European politics are covered, and there are also stories about countries far from Europe.

By contrast, here in Southern California, we get a little news about our neighbors, along with a rundown of how our military is doing.

If one looks to a future of the United States of Europe, which would transfer much international coverage to a domestic context, Dutch media still does a better job. Neighbors are well covered. On the other hand, we only get a little news about Nevada and Arizona, while Oregon might as well be on the moon.

This generalization comes from listening to Radio NL's Wereldnieuwsomroep and NOS Nieuwsoverzicht.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Twee geloven op één kussen, daar ligt de duivel tussen.

"Where there are two believers kissing, the devil is between them"

Now on page 108. The quote appears at the end of page 107. So far in this chapter, Mak is going all out against religion. While the above quote is a bit much, it makes me wonder how the reaction might to current excesses might evolve. My work experience as an interpreter has taken me to STD clinics, which are uniformly rude. The words they use are all the right ones, but their tone reeks of contempt. I'm surprised that STD sufferers go on in silence, instead of starting a movement. I recall something by Octavio Paz, which said roughly, "Sex used to be forbidden and exciting. Now it's a duty."

Mak's father worked with his church in the 1920s. At one point, he saw a freighter wreck, and there were some deaths. He helped out with the funeral related events, but saw a division among those working there. It was becoming professionalized.

This chapter begins with a section on women's rights. Mak's mother was 21 when she voted for the first time. His grandmother was in her 50s.

I have read 2 pages so far. It's very slow going, because it's about religion and other ideas.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I miss Dutch

Lately, work has gotten very busy, which is what happens when you're a freelancer. On Thursday, I have a test coming up to translate Spanish for a school district. Right now, I'm finishing a huge translation, and today, I get to interpret an employees' meeting at a hotel.

I haven't read Mak's book at all. I'm still on page 106. In the meantime, I got some great links to pass on from Marco Schuffelen's page. First off, there's

which has many Catholic and some Protestant prayers and religious texts. It's amazing. I read the "Our Father," and I will dissect the rest after Thursday. He also has lessons. You can find lesson one here:

On Friday, I'll listen to more podcasts and continue reading.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Laura Speaks Dutch


This is also a group on Facebook, which I just joined. I have listened to the first one, and I have all of them on my iPod. If you're learning to speak Dutch, this is the way to go. My own learning is more passive, reading and listening. If I have occasion to go to a Dutch speaking place, I'll listen to the rest of these first and practice that way. Again, I'm in a region where there are very few Dutch speakers. On the Facebook group site, there are lots of tips and recommendations, which you can use or not according to your learning style.