The Eastern Cape of South-Africa

eastern-cape19 November 2013 (South-Africa)

We were in South Africa again. My father lives on the lower edge of the country called ‘the Garden route’. Halfway our stay Frank and I decided to make a trip via the East Cape to Johannesburg.
We tried to stay off the highway, to see more of the country. For example a nice viewpoint on the Bloukrans river mouth …
10 Minutes after we had taken the road that recommended viewpoint, we suddenly found ourselves in a line for a gate with a counter.
What? A ticket for just a river mouth?
Hmmm, we only wanted to eat our banana on a simple bench, or so. Not a tourist attraction.
Well, these local people need to make some money too, so … okay. What should it be? Maybe a few dollars for parking?
Ah wait, there is a list of prices … 3 dollars for South Africans and … huh? … 15 dollars for foreigners?
Yeah, fat dick! Just to just to eat our banana off the road, and stretching our legs for a moment?!

We drove about 6 hours a day. Without stopping. No, that’s not really what we wanted, but there are simply no resting areas. Cafes, or just a scruffy coffee shop along the road don’t exist here. At least not in the south-east.
Back in the days the roads were built by the white South-African farmers, but they probably have forgotten to lay along footpaths. Most black South-Africans don’t have a car, but like everyone else, sometimes they need to go to another township or neighbourhood. So they use the motorway as footpath. And there are Very Many pedestrians! Sometimes they also have some cattle, but no land. Therefore they take their cattle to graze on the shoulders of the road. These animals can easily wander on the roads. And they continually do.

Massively hanging out and broadly sitting along the motorway apparently seems to be a regional daily activity of the locals. It is not really appealing to stop your car between them and peacefully eat your lunch.
The amount of waste along the roads is really baffling. In some parts it seems like every 10 meters a complete garbage bag is emptied on the side of the road. The pieces of waste are flapping between the laundry that is also hanging on the same fences.

To supply our mobile food box we bought a bunch of bananas from a poor old lady. She was sitting on the pavement in front of a hardware store. Where -by the way- everyone who entered the door first is extensively searched for guns and knifes by the owner. The old lady placed an upside down plastic crate serving as a counter. Besides a few bunches of bananas there are also set out 2 packs of cigarettes. You can buy them per cigarette. The price of 10 bananas is 1 Rand (that is 0.20 US dollar). We almost felt ashamed to even walk around here. We paid 5 Rand for the bananas and became blessed from head to toe. Oh boy …

The still enormous gap between black and white is immense and nonstop felt. Later on, this experience and the pictures below will be translated in a painting and story called ‘the Free One’.

The East Cape of South-Africa The Eastern Cape of South-Africa

Here is another moment the seeds of that painting were sprouting.




Bosco verticale

9 July 2013

A few years ago I wrote about some awesome real living trees in Spain I discovered AFTER I painted similar sort of trees in a painting.
I was under the impression that mother nature had imitated me! Not mentioning that the Spanish trees were probably older than I am, but please, let me cherish my illusions.

This week I stumbled upon a picture of Bosco verticale. A vertical forest set on a building, designed by Boeristudio in Italia. Putting their image beside my painting I could add another story to my imaginary prides.
And if, ooohhh if it was not me, if the Boeri-guys were not inspired by my painting, then at least there must be something in the air that gives people all around the world the same ideas. A source with ingredients for certain concepts which are apparently evident for this era.

Click on the images for the painting and the article.


boscoverticale01   Bosco verticale

The reuse of painkiller strips

7 May 2013

painkillers, Paint killersIf the first pencilling is my least favourite part, I find mixing the colours the most fun part.
I never use colours directly from the tubes, but always mix them.
For example; I have 5 tubes of various reds, but they all react in a different way when adding white. The pink of a flamingo is different from the pink of your nose. But for skin tones I need to add even more colours, like green (to reduce the redness). Or ochres, to get human pink, instead of dolly pink.

During the detailing in a later stage of the painting, I don’t need large amounts of the desired colours. Freshly mixed oil paints works the best. After a few hours you’ll notice the dabs are losing their viscosity. So, mixing exactly the right set of colours a couple of times a day, can be quite time-consuming. And while mixing it doesn’t make a difference if you need tiny or large amounts.
Sometimes I’ve mixed my colours too late in the day, or I got interrupted for a while. It’s annoying to spill that perfect mix, because overnight the dabs become useless. Covering the mixes with old lids doesn’t save them. Then there is still too much air around them.

 Otherwise covering with something flat does the job too.
From now on I will try to open the strips without ruining the foil.
Hopefully I’ll get a lot of headaches in the near future. Yeah!

A cutting fight in Capetown

6 December 2012 (South Africa)

After Namibia we were in Capetown for a couple of days. The kind of souvenirs I’m always after, are fabrics. I love making clothes and I already do have a huge pile of fabrics in stock, but I can’t pass a fabric store without taking a quick look.

In a fabric store in Capetown I fought a psychological battle with an unsympathetic Indian woman. Let’s constrict these two adjectives and call her Undy.
a cutting fight in Capetown
I found 3 rolls of perfectly matching fabrics and laid them side by side in the rack to have a proper and thorough deliberation with me and myself.
Next to me Undy had her eye on the same kind of fabric, but in different colors than my rolls. But suddenly … she grabbed one of ‘my’ rolls. Of course it was not mine yet. I had not put my hand on it, so … yeah … how do you deal in such a case?

I grabbed my 2 other rolls and followed her to the cutting table. She put her rolls down at the cutting lady and told her she had to do some more flipping through at the bridal department.
The cutting lady started to measure the rolls of Undy in its total! Was she planning to buy my complete pink roll? The full 30 meters? Without leaving to 2 meters for me?
Well Damn! One minute earlier she clearly had seen that I was considering to buy it too!
From pure dudgeon I felt my ears pulling backwards and my whiskers pulling forwards.
Undy’s cutting lady shouted to another cutting lady to help me in between, because she herself would be busy for a while.

So, when she looked the other way, in a split second I pulled the pink roll out of her pile and held it vertically beside my body on my walk to the next cutting lady. I was standing there making myself as broad as possible and intensively watched the bridal department. When my whiskers are pulled forward I’m hardly able to talk normally. Other people probably firmly would say: “Hey lady, I was interested in that roll too, you know!” But then … there is always a risk that I would lose. Irrespectively how dishonest that would be, but I’m not a local. Who know all those women are knowing each other. Maybe Undy is a ‘high roller’.
So to prevent I would lose, I felt forced to be Sneaky & Sly. After all Undy had begun the fight! She played Blunt & Rude!

I slide the pink roll forward a bit and at the same moment my cutting lady did the first cut, the cutting lady of Undy suddenly stood in front of me and asks rather sternly: “Where did you get this roll?”
As far as my evil whiskers allowed me, I put my dumbest smile and pointed to my 2 other rolls. “Aren’t they adorable all together? I want 2 meters of every roll.”
“Yes! But! Where! Did! You! Got! It?! “she asks now with larges spaces. “From here,” I gestured to the rest of the store.
Did you take that roll from my table ?! she asks sharply. “Yeah,” I said in a tone as if it was a completely logical act. She looks past me and asked me: “And what now?”
In the mean time in the corner of my eye I saw my 2 meters were neatly folded on my stack, so I said: “I don’t know … now it’s yours … I think?”
She madly frowned and took the roll in silence.

Pfffff … I felt my whiskers relaxing.

Kolmanskop the ghost town

5 December 2012 (Namibia)

Besides the Kalahari desert, another impressive spot in the former German colony Namibia was ‘das Sperrgebiet’. That means ‘forbidden area’ and it is a mining area for diamonds.
I was not especially interested in the diamonds (although for the first time in my life I got fascinated by the beauty of all kinds of minerals), but I was charmed by the desolated atmosphere of the abandoned settlements of the miners.
One of the villages is open for tourists and is named Kolmanskop. These days it is called ‘ghost town’. In the silent, hot weather with a gusty wind what caused a kind of yellow/grey hazy view that was a perfect characterization. All the buildings were deteriorated, but accessible for visitors. A true paradise for photographers and location scouts.

Looking at these images it’s not hard to find out where my inspiration for my painting The same one came from. At least the source of the house is quite clear and maybe the silence of the desert has crept in the painting too.

More Namibia

The silence was loud

Beyond the job of vacuum cleaning

A ‘naturally sandblasted’ window

Kolmanskop the ghost town

15 minutes from the ghost town, the colour is back!

A few days later in the Sossusvlei

Quivers and titties

2 December 2012 (Namibia)

In some areas of Namibia are growing many quivers. As we drive into the field of these special trees, I understand why I had to come here … they are true real-live ‘Lubeck Trees’!

It’s a hidden piece of land with a strange kind of ‘furniture’ of piled stones. Done by nature itself.
The quivers are awesome. Especially in such a matching strange landscape. I instantly became friends with them. And they with me. And we hugged.
I found out that the trunks looks a bit like my painting called Agaricia Bullio! So, another case of retroactive inspiration.

The trunk of a Quiver …

… and her beautiful crown

I admit … I’m a tree hugger

quivers and titties

Artistically painted pumpkin parts in the quiver park

More Namibia

Populus Flucta in real

1 December 2012 (Namibia)

In October/November Frank and I travelled to South-Africa to visit my Dad and to make a camper trip through Namibia.
One of the things I really have to mention in this art blog, is that the story of one of my paintings, now has become to life …

Populus Flucta in realWhen I painted Populus Flucta in 2006, the base of this idea (beside the landscaping) were the unique nests build by birds that live in the Kalahari desert. The nests are actually enormous hollow rooms and can contain sometimes more than 100 pairs of birds and the nests can be used by several generations of birds. I had never seen this nests in real. I only had read about it.

Now, 6 years later, we camped at the edge of the Kalahari desert! There was no fence or a border around the camp site and everything was ‘out there’. It wasn’t a difficult decision to set the alarm clock just before sun rise (otherwise it was too hot for a long walk) and sneak into the wide and silent desert. The sky was beautifully lilac and the animals were not to sleep yet.
After an hour I saw a HUGE one.

Camp site

Camp site

populus flucta in real

Here is the first large nest of the birds called ‘social weavers’

They also nesting in living trees

Here you see all the ‘doors’ to the separate rooms

Sometimes the birds choose a pole

More Namibia

Missed daylight

19 September 2012

Because I’m a night owl I usually miss a big slice of daylight. That is not handy for a painter, so I’m always alert on interesting lamps.
Today I bought a dentist lamp at an auction.

dentist1 missed daylight

dentist lamp missed daylight


Panorama

3 May 2012

A maybe 10 years old idea frequently came up last month. I started to doodle on small memo notes.
A few weeks later the pink notes became little colored sketches, taped together to a mini panorama.
Then I moved the furniture to the side of the room and found a way to hang the parts of a ‘sixteentych’.
The diameter is 3 meter. Or the length of all the canvasses together is 10 meter.
This is just the first layer of paint. I still have a long way to … regret, whahaha.

The first sketches panorama

The first sketches

A taped miniature

A taped miniature

Bought the canvasses

New canvasses

Doing a ritual dance

Doing a ritual dance

The first layer

The first layer

Hanging on the ceiling

Hanging on the ceiling

Pantone colours

14 April 2012

Today I received something in the mail I wanted to own by myself for ages. In some way I always found it a kind of ‘tool’ not intended for me. It was meant for shops. But every time I noticed those small colour samples in the paint shop, I stole a few of them and add them to my other few thumbed strips. It didn’t make sense and it took too long to steal every colour that exist.

Now I bought a mature 2-part book with 2058 colors. Every page contains 7 colors and every colour is divided in 6 mini-stickers. I have started to cut off 1 sticker of each color and throw them in a bowl, to grab with closed eyes, for some unusual combinations.

Pantone colours

The face of Taipei city

2 April 2012 (Taiwan)

Although in the end my visit to Taiwan, was absolutely one of the milestones in my life, the architecture of Taipei was not attractive to me straight away. It took me a couple of days to force my way into the somewhat impervious face of the city. The buildings are a bit gloomy and dark, without much windows. The most used form of decoration is covering a building from top to bottom under a pancake of small tiles. And the cloudy weather didn’t help either.
I have been in Singapore and Hong Kong, but I can’t remember I got the same feeling of oddness as in Taipei. For me it was a atmosphere of a futuristic scene build in the fifties. It was not a turn off, but more a kind of intriguing. A mix of spooky and fairy. Certainly in the more silent neighbourhoods.

Taipei  

And then sometimes, in the middle of a spooky alley with never a ray of sunlight, right beside the assembly point of trash bins, I saw an extremely colourful, glittery and warm shelter with a mini-temple. Or a tiny, but loudly sparkling little candy shop hidden in an almost black dirty street full of the exhausts of the airco’s.

 

Of course there also were the new modern blocks and a shiny business centre, that certainly had a more lighter and opener atmosphere. There you find the outdoor cafés, the chain shops and the markets, but a lot of the authentic life of the Taiwanese people occurs a bit more ‘behind the scene’ as we European people are used to. But at the other hand; I am sure that is only on the first sight. The sight of the ignorant foreigner who don’t know his way. The Taiwanese people themselves are adorable!
Taiwan is certainly a land I want to know better. This time I’ve only seen Taipei city, but there is so much more I want to experience. And I will.

Here is a kind of a ‘sound greeting card’. Maybe you can imagine the view was an inspiration for my painting called ‘The persistent one’.

Art Revolution Taipei

1 April 2012 (Taiwan)

Joining the A.R.T. (Art Revolution Taipei) was a real milestone in my career! The decision to be at the fair in real person was even better. It was all one great learning course!

Before I received an invitation of ‘gallery X-power’ in Taipei to participate this adventure, I never have had much thoughts about Taiwan. Some people I told about my plans even confused Taiwan with Thailand 😉 And to be honest; I had to do some investigation on the internet too, about what kind of country this was.
When the date came closer I got more and more excited about what was going to happen. The organisation sounded so solid and professional. I had shipped my paintings in advance and booked 10 days Taiwan for two. Everything was taken care for.

It was a fantastic experience. The A.R.T. fair as well as Taipei itself. I’m definitely in love and one day I’ll be back!

boxtaiwan

Remember the sculpture in the back?

Fun

Fun to see my own work back in a catalogue.

Wow, they made a banner of my painting! Isn't that cool?!

Wow, they made a banner of my painting! Isn’t that cool?!

Improvising with a microphone under my nose is not my strongest point :-/

Improvising with a microphone under my nose is not my strongest point :-/

These lanterns in a string of 3 kilometre led us from the station to the temple.

These lanterns in a string of 3 kilometre led us from the station to the temple.

A spectacular view from the garden of one of the beautifully decorated temples

A spectacular view from the garden of one of the beautifully decorated temples

One of the rooms in the temple

One of the rooms in the temple

We rent a bike and had an absolutely wonderful day along the river in Taipei

We rent a bike and had an absolutely wonderful day along the river in Taipei

The famous 101 building. For a short while it was the highest in the world.

The famous 101 building. For a short while it was the highest in the world.

For a vegetarian Taiwan is a candy shop!

For a vegetarian Taiwan is a candy shop!

More Tapei

From Brisbane to Sydney

28 Februari 2012 (Australia)

Together with my parents in law Frank and I have been in Australia for 2 weeks. After staying for a couple of days in Brisbane we very slowly travelled down to Sydney. Frank and I slept in the campervan and the parents slept in one of those cute cabins or little bungalows on the camping-sites along the way. I’m feeling so happy in this country.
Every time I visit a big city (especially in Australia) it seems I’m allowed to take a deep breath after swimming underwater for too long.

I wondered what kind of good deeds the citizens have done in their previous lives in order to be born in Australia. Then I wondered what bad I have done in my previous life that I am NOT born here*. But suddenly I understood! Of course I have done so much good in my present life, I do not have to wait until a next life. I’m allowed to jump the queue! In this life yet.
New Zealand won’t be our final resting place.

The strong feeling what came to me exactly when this photo was taken in Newcastle, will become clear within 5 years …

Brisbane Sydney

* But know I know … I certainly realize that being born in the Netherlands, is unbeatable privileged too.
I was just acting (acting is my comfort zone).
And you knew that.




Talking portraits

My portraits are not painted according to actual people. They just exist in my head.

While painting the first few ones, the question started spinning through my head; “How would they be related to each other?” During the long solitary hours of painting and an idle mind, it wasn’t difficult to got entangled in their imaginary life’s. Slowly it appears that writing about their ‘experiences in life’ got part of this painting theme too. So, a new blog was born soon. A collaborative blog, written by the portraits …

It looks like it becomes a larger project than I thought it would be, and I couldn’t easily store it in just a corner of this website. So, to prevent confusion I created a new digital room for the talking portraits. With a who-is-who section and some more explanation in the form of a statement.

CLICK, SCROLL and you will find out what this is all about.


talking portraits


Buying art from fellow artists

19 September 2011

Last weekend we visited the annual Kawerau Wood Fest. Kawerau is the location of a huge wood factory, providing jobs for half of all men in this region.
Besides a fair and a lot of competitions for strong men who fight each other with tree stumps, there is also a wood-themed art exhibition for the more swanky ones among us, haha.
To us that seemed to be an excellent opportunity to buy something from the money my Grandma slipped to me. That’s how Grandma’s do such things.

Of course it had to be a present she could agree with. Something she possibly could have chosen by herself.
I found a beautiful wooden bowl with a lid, wherein a part is left in its natural form. I though my Grandma would like it, because she also prefers her Christmas pieces to be a bit ‘natural’ with lots of bark, berries and greens and a spared use of glitter.

When we left the exhibition hall we bumped into an artist who was busy making sculptures with a chainsaw. One sculpture took him a few days to create and they are about six feet tall. They are not just decorative curls, but they represent a Maori story.
Except Grandma’s money, we had some birthday money from my father too, so voila … a conversation piece for our new garden! We got a discount without asking, because the chainsaw sculptor was glad he was able to sell something at this last minute of the fair. Oh I know that feeling so well. A lot of artist has to go through that stage.
Our sculpture tells a story about the how&why of day&night. I will receive the exact story later. Well, I thought it would suit us. We ourselves are always struggling with our circadian rhythm, haha. We are naturally night owls but desperately want to be early birds. When we are waking up always the first thing we are saying is: “Tonight we go to bed early!”
Perhaps the sculpture does have a good influence on us.

fellow artists

The right one is ours now




A foot massage in Singapore

5 August 2011 (Singapore)

On our way back from the Netherlands we booked a stop-over in Singapore for 1 day. We counted on beating the jet lag easily, but we were more tired than we had expected. Uninspiredly we dragged ourselves through the city. We were so longing to a quick nap, but we even couldn’t find the tiniest piece of public lawn to lay on. And please no, not another drink or not again a lunch on a bar stool. Better keep on moving. Swim to avoid drowning.
“Shall we go to Chinatown? To that crazy mall? Four weeks ago I saw a booth with beautiful beads. Maybe we can find it again”.
Walking the same route as we did earlier we didn’t find the beads, but we came along many stalls with Chinese foot masseurs.
“Shall we? Do you want to go in this time?”
We were somewhat hesitate, but the simple fact that we saw 8 very comfortable reclining chairs … $ 15 for a 30-minute foot reflexology made us stop. I didn’t care what they plan to do with my feet, I just wanted to lie down there. I was exhausted and I would fall asleep anyway.

Frank was the first to fill in a kind of medical check list. In the meantime, the boss started phoning like crazy. It looked like he was calling his complete family to come along and laugh at those foreigners.
Five seats away an Australian girl was terrible moaning and shocking with her body. She saw me watching her in horror. “If he squeezes there, I feel it here,” she said. “AAAUUUWWW !!!” she screamed again. “But it’s a good hurt, you know!” She said quickly, as she saw my frozen eyes.
Yes, my fat ass, I thought. Good pain … ha! That’s probably the same as black money. Spending black money works exactly the same as spending white money.
She again concentrated and her face contorted beyond.

Suddenly I didn’t want the massage.
But Frank was too late for a change of mind. His checklist was filled in already.

From the moment they had put us in the 2 chairs close to the window, more and more people came in. See! That must be the boss’ family and friends. Curious to see those giant white feet up close! Even a blind man entered the room!
This man puts his stick at the door and the boss quickly led him to Frank’s seat. He got a jar of cream pressed into his hands and without any introduction he began to feel Frank’s feet.

When he was doing his job he pulls all strange faces and moves his mouth in silence … like he was in an inner dialogue with the assigned feet.
On a poster on the wall I could descry where the internal body parts are connected in the feet. I saw an icon of the brains and the heart, all indicated by colours. Now I finally know where men’s willies are located!

Because I had forgotten to turn off the beep that is heard when I turn on my camera, I didn’t dare to take pictures. The blind man looks a bit … how shall I say it … angrily. Or severe. He scared me. Maybe because I continually whispered to Frank whether it hurts. Frank shook his head, but I know -because I didn’t join in to be screwed- he now never will answer me honestly anymore about this subject. He probably prefers to bite off his own foot, instead of showing me any emotion.
I am also afraid that -when the blind man would hear the beep- he viciously would pinch Frank. Or that he would shift his internal parts and would cause something bad.
At that moment I’m even more determined I really don’t want this. Don’t touch my internal body parts.
The boss gestures ‘to do me for free’.
“No”.

Singapore, foot massage

We even thought to do a sneaky nap hidden under the elephant, but the parking and especially the elephant was guarded.




A visit to the Netherlands

4 August 2011 (the Netherlands)

We were in the Netherlands for a month to visit our family. I was asked if I have seen changes compared with 6 years ago.
Most of all there were some differences that we had forgotten. For example, as soon as we left the airport, I immediately saw the Dutch are much slimmer. And the children on their little supersonic bicycles were all fully decorated with the latest gadgets and they were fashionably dressed like miniature-adults (and matching attitude 😉 )

Recently I read in one of the Dutch magazines (I still read them) that in the Netherlands ‘the prosperity is gushing out of the dormer windows’. In real … that is true. And it’s notable. I saw an interview on tv about Dutch families who supposedly are in financial trouble. In the background I saw beautiful living rooms, top class furniture, wooden floors, modern decorations. Everything of good quality and looking in mint condition. I can’t take that serious. That is really a difference with here.
Yes, for a few days I was jealous of all that wealth and the unlimited choice. Not to say New Zealand is a poor country. I know it’s not Ethiopia. And we ourselves aren’t poor too. But the image around us though, is certainly looking a bit … eh … well … let’s not equivocate; a bit shabby.
However, after a few days I knew it again. Because don’t forget … if you always have to live in such a nasty climate, locked inside your house, probably you desperately need some extra fun/luxury in return.
I prefered the good weather.

Another thing I liked of being back was; Dutchies hardly do courtesy talks. In daily life and in business they can be bluntly honest to each other without affecting their relationship. They are going right to the point. For foreigners they may sound rude, but Dutchies skipping the courtesy talks feels like saving time for both.

A sound that struck me was the cooing of doves. Awww, I missed that. And the far sounds of church bells a couple of times a day. I totally had tuned that out when I lived in the Netherlands, but now I realised I hadn’t heard them for years!
But the finest sound actually, was a certain lack of sound … that eternal voice in the shops, “Can I help you?”
For me it was so liberating that in every Dutch shop (no matter how posh) you can walk in without the shop assistants jump right on your neck.
Beside in the Netherlands there is so much beauty for sale, the disinterest of the staff (or so you want; the skipping of the courtesy) made shopping a great pleasure. When I’m thinking about entering a shop in New Zealand, quite often the saleswoman already greedy tries to make eye-contact, while I am still outside! I can’t handle that and won’t come in then. I hate it and I feel forced. If I need help I know where she is. Everybody knows.
Although I like that New Zealanders always greeting each other on the street (Dutchies ignore strangers), that shop-thing must ne a Dutch habit I can’t get rid of. For Dutch people maybe shops are more a kind of ‘public area’. And for New Zealand people a shop is owned by someone who takes care for the visitors. Does that make sense?




The owner in the background is completely ignoring me and is reading his paper. Thumbs up.

netherlands

City trip to Melbourne

4 February 2011 (Australia)

After

Before

After 3,5 years of financial drought and lack of time (because of the renovation of our house) we finally could treat ourselves to a city trip to Melbourne. I want to tell you why I so enormously enjoyed it!

For me personally it felt like a kind of landslide to understand the Australian accent 100 times easier than the New Zealand accent. I know; probably my language struggle begins to be a pretty boring topic for you, and for me it’s quite annoying that I hardly can explain why I find language & personality are so tightly connected to each other.

But … apart from the certainty that there are way more serious problems in the world (really, I know, haha) the fact is that I have to cope this struggle and in Australia I experienced an almost physical relief because the bustle around me was no dense cloud of abstract sounds anymore. Without significant concentration I could pick up complete sentences! For example; listening to the people gossiping about their aunty on the seats behind me in the lunchroom … oh, the joy! Or the teenage girls in the tram discussing how they would approach their prey that night. It made me serenely smiling. It were fragments of lives that had nothing to do with my life, but suddenly now I was part of the same space, instead of being an almost deaf and dumb person in a separate bubble.

What also made me so happy was that people understood ME TOO!!! Usually without I needed to repeat my words 3 times! Of pure happiness I asked things on my own initiative! Just for fun! Without those questions were urgently needed! No deep conversations though, but you have to start in baby steps, isn’t it?
In New Zealand, when I asked for an extra sugar packet … without exception they looked at me like I’m hysterically yelling at them. Even if I pointed to the empty pot of sugar packets at the same time. Sometimes I almost choked of frustration!
Then what a relief to simply ask in the fitting room: “Can you bring me a larger size?” and the shop assistant kindly nodded and DOING it right away!!! Oh … those little things made me so happy last week.

I always have felt if I was the first person in the world by asking such an idiotic thing like a larger size, or a sugar packet, while requesting these questions in a completely logical situation. After all, I didn’t ask for a sugar packet just after a fire has broken out. And I didn’t ask for a larger size, just when I was lying down to undergo a gynecological examination.
Anyhoo … if you often experience that feeling of despair, then after a while it will affect your behavior. And if your behaviour is changing, it slowly infects your personality.

If I concentrate I can follow the news on tv in New Zealand. But a constant high focus is too much. I only can muster for things that interest me in a certain level.
I don’t know why other people pick it up so much faster. Probably I need more practice. To practice you need to talk to strangers. Ha … and THAT is quite unthinkable for an introvert!
But it remains a curious fact that I have much less trouble with the Australian dialect. Four years ago, I already had noticed this during our visit to Brisbane.

The above story is not the reason for our desire to move to Australia in the future. We miss the Big City. That doesn’t mean we made the wrong choice 5 years ago. At that time, New Zealand was the right choice. We wanted to leave the Netherlands, away from the crowds and live in a quiet area. Well … we did. Now we are five years further in life and have learned a few things. Perhaps we have changed too. We broadly moved to the right direction. Now we just need to do some fine tuning. Geographically-wise.

melbourne

Somewhere in Melbourne

Awkward silence

28 November 2010

Our neighbour was waiting before us, in the line at the checkout of the supermarket.

Neighbour: “Hi! How aya?”
I: Goe … ehm, fine.
Neighbour: Do you want a white home?

Me thinking: (Huh? Does she means something of Christmas, or what?)
I: Ehhh ……… (silly grin)
Neighbour: Do you want a white home?

Me thinking: (Ow shit, is she asking about our house painted beige last year?)
I: Pardon? (I learned to pronounced this in New-Zealand dialect like the Dutch word for ‘horses’)
Neighbour: Do you want a white home?

Me thinking: (Oh boy, what the hell is she meaning?)
I: A white home ???
Neighbour: Yes (expectant look)

(Long awkward silence)

Frank: Oooooh, you mean RRRight home?
Neighbour: Hahaha, yes, a rrright home???
Frank: Yes, after the shopping we are going right home.

In the meanwhile, I saw an empty spot at the self-service-checkout and vigorously nodding, pointing and smiling I pushed Frank and myself out of the line.
After we paid and packed our groceries, the neighbour was still waiting for us.

Neighbour: Did you guys walk down to town?
Frank: Nooo, our car is parked here (I made helpful matching gestures to the door … and pretended to hold a steering wheel.
Me thinking: (Omg, she must think I’m a lunatic. Why I’m doing this?)

Neighbour: So, you don’t need a ride home?




awkward silence

Isn’t my homegrown carrot artistic?