There’s a fun shop that has opened recently on the Oudegracht. It’s called Tiger and it sells a variety of odds and ends, all cheaply. I bought toothpicks and religious-icon candles, and want to go back for a bowler hat. They also have hair brushes, clocks, toys, cooking utensils, and yodeling flamingos. Yeah, that last one threw me, too, but it was one of the first things I saw in the store. Of course, when I think yodeling, I think flamingos, don’t you?
Walking down Biltstraat this afternoon, G was the first to notice this promo for the upcoming release of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. If you look closely, you’ll see the head of an ape with the film title beneath it. They seem to have done a bit of reverse stenciling, by powercleaning the sidewalk to create the image and text, rather than dirtying it with paint or chalk. I’ve always kind of liked this form of graffiti.
The advert reminded us of a bit of standup that Australian comedian Kitty Flanagan did about The Planet of the Apes and the difficulty in subtitling or dubbing the film in French. The French don’t seem to distinguish linguistically between monkeys and apes, which makes one of the scenes in the film hard to translate. The line in the film goes something like, “I’m not a monkey. I’m an ape!” But in French, they use the word singe for both, so you end up with, “I’m not a singe! I’m a singe!” Well, except it would be all in French. (Trust me, I tried to find the video online of Flanagan doing this bit of standup, but I had no luck.)
It turns out, the Dutch are no better. Ape and monkey are both aap in Dutch. It’s a good thing the Dutch don’t dub foreign-language films. I’m dying to see the subtitles for that scene, though. “Ik ben geen aap. Ik ben een aap!” Talk about lost in translation!
We frequently watch BBC’s program called Coast, which explores Great Britain’s coastlines, along with those of other nearby countries. One episode focused on the Netherlands, but I missed that episode when it first aired and only recently tracked it down. Watching it this afternoon, I realized that although my Dutch is still limited, my cultural integration has definitely expanded.
The program featured a short piece on fierljeppen, which I’ve written about before. I recognized it immediately, and soon realized that I even recognized one of the athletes! Sure enough, I looked through my photos from the event we went to last year and found the guy in the video, Jaco van Groot. How’s that for integration! Not only did I immediately know what sport they were doing, but I even recognized the athlete.
In another segment of the show, there was a Dutchman used as a local guide during a visit to Scheveningen. (They mispronounced it in the voiceover, something which could have gotten you shot during WWII when the name was used by the resistance as a test to prove that the person actually was Dutch and not a Nazi infiltrator.) While at the beachside town, they enjoyed some raw herring. As I watched and listened to the local, I soon realized that I did, in fact, recognize him, as well! His name is Philip Walkate, and I recognized him from his humourous bits about the Dutch inburgeringscurse (integration course).
And, of course, there was the bit about Dutch cuisine. As they commentators discussed the popularity of Indian cuisine in Britain, I knew immediately that they were going to be talking about the popularity of Indonesian cuisine here in the Netherlands. I knew that meant one of two things, saté or the broader rijsttafel. They went with the rijsttafel, a meal that goes well with my love of a selection of lots of smaller dishes.
I was ridiculously thrilled to recognize the athlete and comedian and to realize that I was very familiar with much of the information they provided, although the story about Texel island up north during WWII was something new and fascinating. My cultural integration is moving right along.
I don’t know how wide-spread this is, but I’ve been seeing a lot of reproduction American-high-school lettermen jackets around town. It’s one of those strange fashion things that, as an American, gives me a bit of a giggle to see.
Sunday, while perusing the street festival lining Nachtegaalstraat, I saw this stall selling their own version of these classic jackets. It was a trip down memory lane for me, particularly with this blue and white jacket with the letter R. The high school I attended had jackets very similar to this — blue body, white sleeves — except the blue was a bit darker, I think. Even more nostalgic for me was the fact that my school’s letter was, indeed, R for Ragsdale.
I never bought the jacket, but I did earn my letter, although I have no idea what happened to it. I don’t think I’ve seen it in the past 15 years. You usually earn a letter through your participation in one of the school’s sports. Football, basketball, and baseball are the obvious ones, but track, soccer, and in my case, wrestling, were also included. Furthermore, you didn’t have to actually be the athlete to earn the letter. In my case, I was a wrestlette, which meant that I was one of a team of girls who set up the mats for the competitions/tournaments, kept score/time, and helped run tournaments held at our own school. It was its own form of work and was also a lot of fun. I’m glad I got involved and still enjoy watching wrestling. The gym at the school has recently been renamed in honor of the father of one of the girls I was a wrestlette with at the time. He has been very involved in high school wrestling over the years, so it was nice to see our neighbor (they lived on the street behind me) be honored for all of his hard work.
- I entered a photo contest through Expatica the other week with this photo and I found out today that I won! Many thanks to my friends for voting, especially considering how difficult/unclear the whole process was. My prize is a T-shirt and having my photo entered into a drawing to be included in the I Am Not A Tourist expat fair in October. The latter is the reason I entered.
- It turns out we have color codes for bad weather here. A Code Geel (Code Yellow) was announced today for the region of Utrecht, meaning that there’s a chance of dangerous weather with high winds and heavy rain. The wind hasn’t seemed too bad, but we’ve had pretty much non-stop rain today. It looks like we’ve got more to look forward to through the weekend. It’s particularly frustrating, as I was hoping to visit the Maliebaanfestival this weekend. At least it runs through the 20th, so hopefully we’ll get a nice day in there somewhere.
- I’ve done a few Tweets in Dutch the past couple of days.
Extremely slowProgress! Whether they were right is another matter, but I did get responses to them without any corrections. (That may have had more to do with the 140-character limit.) One of the tweets had to do with a search for food coloring. From what Google translate would have me believe, the word for food coloring is levensmiddelenkleurstof. It’s times like this I really miss McCormick!
- Is there any topic you’d like me to write about? Any questions y’all might have, about me, being an expat, or just life general life in the Netherlands?