78: Singles Party

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Last night I went for a drink with a friend. Because she is a single, like me, we decided to go to a Singles Party. Our goal was not to go hunting, but to see what a Singles Party is like, what people come to these parties and if singles realy find eachother there. I had never been to a Singles Party, so this was My First. The party was held in the bar Blender in Rotterdam. My visit to Blender was also A First, nice place! We entered the establishment when the party was already two hours on its way. There were about 30 people talking with eachother. It was great to see almost everybody was talking with someone. Only a few men were just looking around, maybe because they were building up courage to go to a woman to talk, or maybe because there were more men than women. Towards the end of the party more and more people went home, and as the crowd got smaller, we started talking to the last ones. This was actualy very nice. I expexted a more tense atmosphere, but in stead all people were frindly, open and outgoing. These Singles Parties are nice to go, even if you are not single. I would certainly consider going again!

Source picture: http://www.cityguiderotterdam.com/nl/uitgaan/clubs-en-bars/blender-rotterdam/

77: Family Coat of Arms

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I live in Rotterdam, but I am not born and raised here. My son is, he feels like he his a real ‘Rotterdammer’ and is a great fan of Feyenoord. You know our last name is Ruijgrok. There is a society, ‘Vereniging Ruychrock History’, which does research on the family history of all Ruijgroks (whichever orthography is used). It also publishes a website (http://www.vereniging.ruychrockhistory.nl/ned/) on which all findings can be found. I was reading this site with my son and we stumbled on a story about the City Coat of Arms of Rotterdam and the famliy Ruijgrok. It seems the colour green in the City Coat of Arms is taken from the Family Coat of Arms of the Ruijgroks who lived in Castle Weena. The City of Rotterdam wanted to add the land of this castle to the city and in return the family demanded they changed the colour red in the City Coat of Arms to green, from the Family Coat of Arms. The City of Rotterdam has a flag which is green because of the colour in the City Coat of Arms. So in short: I am (my family is) responsible for the colour green in the flag of Rotterdam. This is My First influence on the history of a city! Who can also say that?

Source picture: http://www.engelfriet.net/Alie/Hans/kasteelweena.htm

 

76: My Son’s Exams

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I did my exams a long time ago. I remember I was getting more nervous as the exams were getting closer, but on the exams themselves I wasn’t nervous at all. I guess my body has a good functioning system on nervousness, turning it up and down when it is most needed. The last few weeks my son did his exams, My First exams as a father. This time I was really nervous, maybe even more nervous than him. He says he did them quite well, so I am confident now. We still have to wait 1 or 2 weeks for the results. Exiting times! To be honest I think he made it and will graduate without a resit. Like every parent I hope he will do better than me in life, and will graduate with better grades than me. But I would be most happy if he just tries as hard as he can to be the best he can be. As long as he is happy about his performances and choices.
You hear stories about parents pushing their children to be better than they can, or even holding them back so they won’t be better than themselves. Both type of parents should stop thinking about themselves and start putting the interest of the child above their own.
I hope they do.

Source picture: http://www.the-iss.com/2009/07/iss_mailbag_instant_diplomas.php

75: Waved Twice

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Travelling back from Brussels we both took another train. Our trains left about 20 minutes apart. I took the regular train and she took the Thalys. My train left first so she walked me to my train and waited for it to leave. She stayed on the platform to wave me goodbye. When the train started moving she walked with it, going faster and faster to wave as long as possible. This was a funny sight. Especially the German people who sat next to me. You could tell from their faces they hadn’t seen something like this before. Crazy Dutch people… Later on I had to switch trains at Atwerp. When I got to my platform in Antwerp to wait for my connecting train, which would leave 30 minutes later, I saw another train entering the station on he same platform. To my surprise it was the Thalys. Could she be in this one? I walked along the train and did find her! This was a nice coïncedence. Now I had the oppertunity to return the favor. This time I waited for her train to leave and walked/ran besides her train to wave her goodbye as long as possible. This was funny doing and even more funny because we both did it to eachother. We both Waved Twice on both sides of our train windows. This was My First double wave on one trip. Try planning that!

Source picture:

74: New Dances

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I know I am not the best moving person on a dance floor, I don’t have the most flexible body or elastic limbs. I do like to dance. I did go to the Disco in my younger days, where I danced to Disco, Pop and Ska. And I did a Ballroom dance class and a Rock n Roll dance class in my teens. And as I told you in earlier blogs, I am in a Rock n Roll dance class now. But in Brussels I learned two new dances at the Jam in Jette festival. Both during the performance of La Fanfare En Petard. First I was introduced to Dub-music and the Dub-step, I guess that is what is was though. It was nice to watch the people around me doing some great moves and trying them myself! I also joined a Ska-pit. I had never heard of that, but had seen something like it before. I don’t know if I did it right, but I just started jumping with the crowd and let me be pushed around, while pushing the others away. I never thought this could be that much fun! I must give the young people of Brussels a compliment of the respectfull way they danced with me and eachother. Dancing like this could easlily turn into nasty scenes, but nothing like that happened. Pushing is the game, but falling people were always helped up, and no hard feelings when you hurt eachother. Great experience and a mayor First for me.

Source picture: http://www.myspace.com/tommygun11

73: Jam in Jette

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Being in Brussels was great. The most memorable experience, and a multiple First for me, was the festival Jam in Jette. On the first day in Brussels we had seen a poster of this festival, so we decided to visit it on our second day. We arrived in the afternoon and visited the Solidair Village first. A display of stands of organizations with care for human rights, the environment and solidarity. After having some nice fair trade coffee we watched a band of musicians from different cultures, called Kel Assouf. They made some really nice swinging music. Although I couldn’t understand the lyrics I enjoyed the music a lot. After a walk to the Atomium we went back to Jam in Jette to see some more bands. First we watched the reggae band Abdou Day. Nice reggae, although I think reggae is nice for one or two songs, not half an hour. It gets to monotonous. The last band playing was La Fanfare En Petard. What a great experience! It is a band of six men, playing a Trombone, a Trompet, a Saxofoon, a mobile drumkit, a mobile Kettledrum and (off course) a Microfoon. They played a mix of Ska, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Dub. I had never heard such great music. We watched the whole show and danced a lot (see my next blog!). All in all Jam in Jette was an experience with multiple Firsts for me!

Source picture: http://www.jam-in-jette.be/index_nl.html#scene_nl.html

72: Exotic Cheese

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Everybody knows cheese is made from milk, milk from cows. We learn this when we are little children, at kindergarten, going to the petting zoo, in the picture books for little children. There’s no getting around it. So when I eat cheese I feel confident it is made from cow milk. I know there are more animals which give milk. The most common of these are goats. The last years cheese and other products made from goat milk are becoming more common. I still think milk should come from cows. It’s how I am programmed. Every other form of cheese, from another animal, would be considered Exotic Cheese by me. But being in this ‘My First’-year I wanted to try it, so I had some goat cheese. The first bite was exciting, I didn’t know what to expect, what exotic flavour I would encounter. Would I like it? Would I think nothing of it? Would I be repulsed? I was pleased to learned that goat cheese is not an aquired taste, it tatsed not that different from cow cheese. I didn’t expect that! Anyway, I still do think milk should come from cows, but maybe I’ll try some goat milk someday too!

Source picture: http://colleenmcdevitt.blogspot.nl/2009/09/goat-milking-like-brushing-your-teeth.html#!/2009/09/goat-milking-like-brushing-your-teeth.html