zondag, oktober 31, 2004

Amsterdam

We spent yesterday afternoon and evening in Amsterdam. We mainly went to have dinner with Stephan, Lieke, and Lieke's boyfriend Gert Jan, but decided to go early to see a museum and just walk around a bit.

First, though, I finished repairing the bike I've been working on. And let me just say straight out that although I suppose I technically stole the bike, it wasn't really at all like that. Ian rented our apartment 8 months ago. Since then, a bike that has never been moved has been locked to the handrail leading up to our apartment. A month or so before I arrived, the man in the aprtment next to Ian died. We are pretty sure the bike on the handrail belonged to the guy who died. The tires were flat and the bike was rusted and generally a complete eyesore.

In reality, this is a continuation of the post below about me curring the lock to my bike after the key broke in it. Although I didn't mention it then, since I had already rented the bolt cutters it seemed like a sign from God that it was time to liberate this bike. True, we could have lived with the bike at the bottom of our stairs until it was completely rusted and a rain storm swept it away and flushed it down the drain.

Needless to say, I cut the chain, liberated the bike and now it has a new name and a new life. I suppose here is where I should also mention that although I have spent about as much money fixing it up as a new bike would cost, I would be happy to give the bike to its rightful owner if it turns out that the rightful owner is not, indeed, dead. Well, that and the rightful owner has proof that he is the . . . uh . . . rightful owner.

We have quite a few more tools now than we did a week ago. Since the bike had been out in the weather for at least 8 months, it needed quite a bit of repair. I felt a little kinship with my dad, fixing up a rusted piece of metal and turning it into a thing of beauty. Well, maybe not a thing of beauty, but at least something that would get me from one place to another. Although I haven't painted it yet, I doubt I will paint it orange. (It seemed like Dad's favorite projects generally ended up orange, unless Mom was able to catch him in time.) I still don't have an air compressor, I'll probably use pray paint from a can. Horror of horrors.

Ian loves the bike now that it's fixed up. He's christened it "Piglet's Pegasus."


Whatever.

Anyway, we rode our bikes to the station, parked our bikes in the fietsenstalling and took the train to Amsterdam. It's a very short trip - about 20-25 minutes.

Once there, we walked around - to nowhere in particular. Like most tourist cities, you can, in seconds, go from an extremely loud, crowded very alive street to a very quiet, calm and peaceful one with almost no one in sight. We stayed pretty much to the quiet places. After a couple of fresh salmon sandwiches from a street stand, we went for some coffee. I still haven't found someplace that serves a great cup of coffee in Amsterdam. And the bread in the whole of The Netherlands is shameful, given the proximity to France...

After spending several hours walking around and checking out little antique stores, we went to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

It's being renovated, but still had an amazing collection on display. I was astounded by the Rembrandts, and the delftware was also beautiful. After viewing the museum, we strolled through the garden that is beside the museum.


This arbor, found in the garden of the Rijksmuseum, is made of elm trees. I grew up with Elms in the front yard of our house, but I don't believe I ever thought of using elm trees for an arbor. (And I doubt Mom did either, although I wouldn't be surprised to see an elm arbor when I return if she reads this.) The marker that Ian is reading states that elm leaves were fed to cattle to improve the taste of their milk. Who knew? The marker also talked about a disease that had wiped out the elms in The Netherlands, but didn't refer to it as "Dutch Elm Disease."
You learn a thing or two every day in this country.

After seeing the museum, we slowly made our way back to the Central Station. On the way there we stopped in a couple of book stores. In one, we discovered that David Sedaris had given a reading in September and I had missed it! About the time it got dark, we took a bus to a hotel where we met the others for a drink and some appetizers (beet chips - thin slices of beets fried like potato chips).

After about half an hour, we made our way to a restaurant and had some wine, then ordered dinner. We got there around 8:30 and didn't leave until about 12:30. It was a little busy when we arrived, but we were STARVING by the time the food got there. It took so long that even the Europeans at the table were complaining, and that's saying something. The wine we drank helped some, but it probably would have been a little easier for the tables around us to hear themselves talk if we had had some food in our stomachs.


Gert Jan and Lieke.

Stephan

And finally for Karen, a picture of Ian an me where you can see our eyes, even though mine look a little bleary from all the wine...


Sitting behind us throught the evening was a man who was was apparently a very famous third-generation actor (sorry, no picture). I didn't recognize him but everyone else seemd to.

A little after midnight we left the restaurant, took a cab to the station, and found we had missed the train to Utrecht by 2 minutes. We took the next one an hour later, and finally got home at around 2:30. Luckily, we were able to sleep a little later because of turning the clocks back an hour.

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vrijdag, oktober 22, 2004

I'm a fully legal resident!

FINALLY, the paperwork has gone through. I got a letter today that said that a letter was coming that would lead to something else, and with this something else I could get my residency card and ... but the crux of it all was that I'm now a legal resident of The Netherlands, and I also have the right to work! Yippee! Of course, Ian's a little more excited about this being able to work thing than I am.

That's not really true. I just added it for your reading enjoyment. Actually, he thinks I should wait until after the wedding to work. I heartily agree. Seriously, it does make sense for me to wait to work until later. And before you get all judgmental on me and think it's because I'm being lazy and eating chocolate covered cherries while watching Sex in the City, well, that's not it. If I wait to work, I can continue with my Dutch lessons and maybe reach some level of proficiency with this language invented by Satan without having to concentrate on work at the same time.

So I would have studied for the Dutch test I have next Monday, but over the lunch hour I had to take the letter explaining that I'm a resident to Ian. It was three pages long and I understood very little of it. I thought it was probably a letter of denial because we put a stamp in the wrong place or something. At any rate, that's why I didn't study this morning. And I would study tonight, but we're going to be celebrating my new resident status with Thomas. We'll also be celebrating something of Thomas's, but I think that's still a secret so I'm going to hardly mention it here. But if you see him, congratulate him and that way he can decide whether to tell or not and I'll not have ruined his suprise. Or at least, not much.

(Thomas, the tongue sticker-outer with the big secret.)

So I’m going to start studying right after writing this. It's a little difficult, though, because I've been nursing a migraine for the past 36 hours. I talked with Mom last night and she said that Alex (my brother Ken's daughter) started taking riboflavin (vitamin B-2) for her migraines and it's apparently worked. Well, that was testament enough for me. I got on my bike after I left Ian at lunch and went to the money machine (by the way - the exchange is now about $1.26 per Euro. The dollar is weaker every day...). I took out some money for the B2 and made my way to the the pharmacy Ian suggested, but they didn’t have any B-2.

On the way there, after getting money, I stopped at the open market and almost bought a new lock for my bike. It’s been kind of acting up. I didn’t get one, though, because I wasn’t sure of the quality of the market guy’s locks. Instead I went to the Inburgering office (the place that "intergrates" me into society here) to give Haneke (my contact person) the letter. She had asked me to please bring it to her the moment I got it. But she wasn’t there to take my letter. The receptionist asked me if I wanted to leave the original (as if...) or have her make a copy of it. I'm almost certain the copy she made won’t get to Haneke or anyone else who cares about it. But I'll deal with that next week. For now, my priority was to study.

I went outside and unlocked my bike. And the key broke in the lock.

I wish I had pictures of all of this, but I don't. You're just going to have to trust that I am telling the truth here and imagine the visuals yourself this time.

I went to Gamma (a local home improvement store) and rented some bolt cutters. I returned to my bike. As I started to cut the bolt, a big-boned Dutch woman got right up in my quickly diminishing peace and started yelling at me. I smiled politely and asked if she could kindly curse at me in English, as I didn't understand her Dutch one little bit. She immediately switched to English and asked what the hell I thought I was doing.

So I humoured her and explained.

She did not, at all, believe me. Luckily, I had the broken key as evidence or I think she might have killed me right there in front of the Inburgering office.

Once I showed it to her, she apologized profusely and said, "We have a problem in this country with our bikes being stolen." No duh. Where the f**k was she when my last bike was stolen?

Anyway, I finished cutting the chain and lock, liberated my bike, went back to Gamma and returned the bolt cutter, got another lock and came home.

And now I'm going to study Dutch. Well, for 45 minutes. Then I'm going to go get Ian's bike at the bike shop. His chain broke yesterday.

It's a lovely picture, all these Dutch people on their bikes in packs of 30 or 40. Well let me tell you something, it's a lot of work being carefree, people.

And now I really am going to study.

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It's happened!

So, we've got it! Scott's official letter saying that his residency permit has been accepted ("Hiermee vermeld ik U dat Uw aanvraag tot verlening van een verblijfsvergunning voor bepaalde tijd ingewilligd is." As they say in Dutch!). It's been a long and drawn out procedure but this now means that we are both legal residents of The Netherlands and both have the opportunity (and right) to work and live here. Isn't that so cool!

It takes a long time and it unbelivably frustrating but it's all completely worth it simply by getting this letter. Yipee! this means that as soon as Scott's Dutch course finishes we can actually start living here as a ordinary (and as of 23d April 2005, married!) couple! It's so cool to think that we as British and American citizens have the right to move here, live here, work here and marry here and then enjoy all the rights and benefits that are attached to that. Life is just great isn't it!

All of a sudden all the hassle with the Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst (Immigration Office), the Vreemdelingepolitie (Aliens Police), Inburgeringdienst (Integration Office), Afdeling Burgerzaken van de Gemeente Utrecht (civil service section of the Utrecht city council) all seems worth it. I still think that there's no point Scott beginning to work until after we get married. before then we may as well enjoy the fact that we have spare time. Time in which to get settled here, time in which to relish in the fact that we are both legal residents in a great country. We're not in any financial difficulties adn we've got time to look for a job and ensure that whatever Scott ends up doing is something which he is happy doing and enjoys. After all, we work to live and not live to work!

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The Ph f***ing D

So, I started this blog a while ago and never really got round to finishing it. I thought, why not today, especially since my e-mail at work is down and I'm a little bit handicapped. Anyway, I moved over to The Netherlands in September 2001 to begin working on a PhD at the univeristy. The PhD system in The Netherlands is different to the majority of other countries in that PhD candidates here are not students. We are fully fledged employees of the university with a slaary, benefits and tax burdens (that's the bit I don't like!). Anyway, that also means that you have a contract and have an obligation to finish your PhD within 4 years. Although in theory that's the rule, there are 16,000 ways in which the time can be extended, especially if you have done other things during your PhD track which have meant that you were unable to work 100% on your PhD (things like teaching etc).

Anyway, I've now been working on my PhD for about 3 years and my contract is due to run out in September 2005. So this is a stressful time for me, trying to get the whole thing down on paper. Unlike many exact sciences, legal PhDs require a different sort of writing up procedure. Although we are encouraged to publish articles during our PhD candidancy, we do not simply use those articles to then form the basis of our PhD. This means that the last year of the Phd track is devoted to writing up, the first years years being devote dinstead to the research.

So what's my Phd about? Most people think of PhDs as dry and boring and having no impact on reality. Well that couldn't be any further from the truth for my PhD. I deal with the international aspects of non-marital registered relationships in Europe. Ummmm.... I hear you say, what's that? Well, since 1989, a number of European countries (and more recently other countries as well) have begun to introduce forms of partnership registration (e.g. registered partnership, civil partnership, domestic partnership, civil union, PACS, statutory cohabitation, same-sex marriages etc etc). Anyway, although 12 European countries have done so, the regulatiosn dealing with the international recognition of these partnerships is not as extensive, and that's what I do. I compare the rules and regulations in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, in trying to see whether there is any possibility for harmonising these rules.

The PhD itself is divided into two sections: one on the substantive law rules (i.e. how do you register a partnership in each of these countries) and the second part deals with the private international law rules (i.e. how are these relationships recognised, which law applies to the effects of the relationship and what law applies to the dissolution thereof). I'm getting there with it, but sometimes it's very confusing and having so many countries and so much literature is really mindboggling sometimes, trying to keep all the different autors and countries, laws an regulations, books and articles sepearate in my head. Anyway, the idea is to try and submit the manuscript by about August next year, so until then, it's back to the books!!!

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woensdag, oktober 20, 2004

Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum

Berlin is an amazing city. I'll write about it later, but I'm going to write first about the last place we went.

I returned home last night to an email message from Keith, Laura's boyfriend. He's writing a paper about heterosexism and wondered if I had any comments.

I had some. Yesterday before we left Germany, Ian and I went to Sachsenhausen, which, from 1936 to 1945 was a Nazi death camp.



Work will make you free...

Rev. Martin Niemoller was one of those held here. He is credited with (possibly) writing the following:
First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

Luckily, Rev. Niemoller made it out alive. When asked about whether the camp was really as bad as all that, he said something to the effect that as bad as you think it might have been, it was 1,000 times worse.

Although he lived, over 100,000 died in Sachsenhausen - many of them homosexual.


45874 - the number of a victim - and his uniform with a pink triangle, the symbol gays had to wear in the concentration camps.


This is the pathology building where victims were experimented on and autopsied before being cremated and buried in the mass graves.

Sachsenhausen was not unusual in the brutality shown to those who were its victims, but its memorial is unusual in that it's one of the very few that actually acknowledges that many of those who were murdered there died because they were homosexual. That's a good thing for any Nazi death camp memorial to acknowledge.
Still, although this was acknowledged we saw no "signs of commemoration" (the term used by the Sachenhausen Memorial and Museum) to the dead homosexuals.


There were memorials (in the form of bronze sculptures or markers) to the dead Jehovah's Witnesses, to the political prisoners, to the Jews and to the prisoners of war who were captured. There were memorials to any number of those who were killed because they were identified as being this or that. But none to homosexuals. I got a little angry about that. Why were the murdered homosexuals excluded?

While you're pondering this, remember that this is Europe we're talking about, not Kansas. It's not because homosexuals aren't accepted - well, ok, tolerated - here. They are. Ian and I are marrying each other next April. So yes, we can legally marry. But there's still not yet a memorial for those murdered because they were homosexual?

Why?

I still haven't figured this out but I think it's important, and I think it's linked with heterosexism.

Although I see that heterosexism is damaging, I don't think that heterosexism is, by nature, hateful; at least not in the way homophobia is. Does that matter? Does intent matter when people are hurt?

In criminal law, we define intent as an element of some crimes - murder, for instance. We also have crimes of negligence. In the simplest of terms, these are crimes where people are hurt through another's negligence. A damage that could have been prevented but for the thoughtlessness of another. However, in order for negligence to rise to an actionable level, the damage caused by the thoughtlessness must have been foreseeable.

Foreseeability to cause damage - this is the weak link when it comes to heterosexism's harm.

If one sees only through one's own orientation, how can one foresee damage to another who experiences a differing orientation? This goes beyond sexuality. Inablility to empathise with another's position in life is arguably the largest cause of race, gender, religion and other discriminatory practices.

The solution must be education. We must continually educate and be educated to see from the eyes of another. Without this familiarity with other orientations, there is no forseeability, and without forseeability there is no negligence, no responsibility. That's how I perceive the problem and the solution, drawn with a very large brush.

An update: Since I wrote this, Ian's done some research and found that there is, in fact, a memorial to the gay men who died at Sachsenhausen.


I'm not certain why we didn't see it. I would have thought that even though it's in German (the others were in English as well) we would have noticed it for what it was. After finding this, we looked a little deeper and found that although Sachsenhausen has this memorial, there are still camps that have no memorial whatsoever, nor do they acknowledge the gay men who died in the camps.

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vrijdag, oktober 15, 2004

Languages and some history

Class today was interesting. My classmates were perilously close to an open revolt.

Before I go any further, this is where I have to say that I like our teacher very much. She has a great sense of humor. I think. I mean, how can I be certain when she speaks only Dutch during the class and I don't really understand what she's saying? Still, she makes me laugh. And Marco, who is from Italy and has (I think) a good sense of humor, laughs too.

There are good and bad things about a teacher only speaking a language you're trying to learn during the classes in which you're trying to learn that language. Overall, it's ok; although it can be exhausting. On the other hand, when a teacher is trying to discuss the form and placement of a substantive direct object which is preceded by a preposition - and maybe I'm just speaking for myself here - but after 3 weeks I just don't think a class the vocabulary to follow it (and by "a class" I mean "we", and by "it" I mean "her"). But it's all pretty much ok with me, because I'm able to muddle through it, and the instructor is not at all mean-spirited about it.

The text we use for this class, on the other hand, is really awful. I'll get back to that in a minute, but first some personal history for context.

You should know that I have always absolutely hated school. And that somehow I've so far spent 23 years of my life in school. It's like this exquisite torture I've somehow learned to endure. I guess you should also know that I never graduated from high school and that I also never got a G.E.D. How I got into college or law school without a high school education is one of life's little mysteries that will have to wait for another day. I will say, though, that I left high school early because I had not yet honed the just mentioned "enduring torture" skill. Not having honed the skill, it seemed as though everything I learned from the ninth to the eleventh grade was simply a review of things I had already learned, and there was this great big world out there just waiting to be explored.

Long story short, I quit high school in my junior year, spent a summer harvesting wheat and then enlisted in the Air Force. But not before they guaranteed me the job I wanted, of course. I am a smartie, after all. The conversation went something like this:

Recruiter: "We offer almost every job that you can find outside of the military services. Do you have a job in mind you would like to do in the Air Force?"

Me: "I would like to be an actor. Yes. Something having to do with the theater part of the Air Force."

Recruiter: "Excellent. Sign here. And here. Add take these home for your parents to sign."

Yep. A smartie. I was on my way.

So I enlisted, made my way to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas (and by the way, who would name a place Lackland?) and went through basic training. That lasted about six weeks, during which I learned how to properly fold my underwear, wake up before daylight and march while wearing boots - all the while firming my resolve to remain humble throughout my life as a famous actor.

Who could have guessed that was not going to happen? Unbelievable as it seems, as the end of my basic training neared I was told there had been a mistake. As it turned out, there was no theater department in the Air Force. Those who discovered the error were, of course, very sorry about the whole misunderstanding. However, since I had been pretty good at learning to wake up, march and fold my underwear properly, I was in luck! The Air Force was willing to allow me to stay; in fact, they had another job for me!

It turned out my scores in language ability were high, and the worst part of my military career - basic training - was over. It would be a shame, said they, to have gone through the worst part and them not come out with something I wanted, right? So they wanted to offer me another job having something to do with language. Would I, they asked, be interested in learning the language of my choice?

Well, although it wasn't my first choice, I thought that maybe it would be almost as good as acting. It might be nice to learn Aramaic - a dead language I had heard the Bible was written in. Either that or maybe French. Yes. One of those two.

Of course, they said. Just sign here.

So I did, thrilled that soon I would be learning a language that would surely hold the key to all of the questions I had about life. Well, either that or French. And as I signed, I thought to myself that this Air Force business wasn't that bad - you just had to be smart enough to make it work for you.

Finally, several weeks later, I got my orders to depart for the DLIFLC : Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey to learn North Vietnamese.

North Vietnamese? Now . . . what? - wait - what?

I reread my contract with my commanding officer and, can you imagine? Nothing in it about the theater or Aramaic or French. And no escape clause this time, either.

So I went. To Monterey, California. And there I discovered two things. 1. Monterey was beautiful (I started a love affair with the Pennisula that has continued throughout my life. More about that later, maybe.), and 2. The Defense Language Institute knew how to teach a language.

There was lots of class time, lots of drills with tapes and lots of conversation in Vietnamese. Comprehension was a huge deal. And ok, in the spirit of full disclosure I have to say that it hasn't much stuck with me - but that's mostly because I never spoke it after I left Monterey. I could probably count to ten, and I still remember how to say "Khong ban toi, toi biet zo" (Don't shoot me, I know secrets), but other than that it's lost to me. The point remains valid, though, that it was a good system for learning a language.

Then later, when I was in college, I relearned French. And there, they utilized basically the same system used by DLI. Again, heavy on tapes, conversation, drills and comprehension. And again, it worked.

So now to the caboose of this train of thought: I'm not an expert, but I know a little something about how to learn languages. And it is my strong belief that although I like my instructor, the book we use for the Dutch course, "HELP!: een cursus Nederlands voor anderstaligen", sucks. There is a "hulpboek" (help book) that goes with the main text, but it is all but impossible to use it in combination with the main book. Chapter 1 in the text has nothing to do with chapter 1 in the hulpboek. And the dictionary? Well, don't get me started... But trust me on this, both books were written by a Dutch person for people who already have a good grasp of Dutch vocabulary. And hard as it may be to believe, most of us in this class don't.

Still, for me it's ok. I knew this was a fast class and it would take 3-5 hours outside time studying for each class. Others in the class didn't know this - mainly because the adverts for the class were all in Dutch. What I didn't know until today was that this class is an experiment! It hasn't been offered before. They want to see if it can be done. What we were told today was that the fun was over and now the classes were going to speed up.

Well, I'm of course still going to Berlin this weekend, and I'm going to have fun. And I'll study on the train on the way there and the way back, then study some more once I get home next week. But I'm worried that some of my classmates don't have the free time I do and will have to drop out. And I don't want that to happen. I don't know any of them very well, but I've come to think of them as my colleagues, and I don't want for any of them to leave yet.

If you're interested, I'll let you know what happens.

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A few details

No pictures yet, and I haven't even started packing. I think Ian and I will probably do that tomorrow morning. Early. [Wrong. He made me do it tonight. It's always a suprise living with this man...] The train leaves at like 7 am or some ungodly hour.

We had dinner here last night with a couple of Ian's colleagues. He has surrounded himself with some really great people. I made a chicken curry, from a recipe that originated with Tanya's Soup Kitchen. (As an aside, I can't imagine Wichita without that place.) Anyway, the meal turned out ok, but there were many last minute substitutions. And I'm about out of Bolst's curry powder. What a sad day that will be.

Worse, though, I'm completely out of Brooks Brothers cologne. And they won't ship it overseas. Apparently it's against the law to ship cologne because of the alcohol content. Grrrrr.

I just talked with Vicki - she's rented my house. I'm very happy about that. She says the girls she's rented to are lovely. One is very Goth, but apparently uses red eye shadow instead of black. My house will be their first rental. I think this information was supposed to make me feel good. I tust it will all work out. I'm just glad it's rented. It's been worrisome having a house sit vacant.

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woensdag, oktober 13, 2004

Berlin . . .

It's been a couple of days since I've updated. I've been doing my taxes. Yes, that's right, the ones that were due last April. They're about done. I've also got homework to do for my Dutch class on Friday, and I just got about 1,000 pages of documents emailed to me that I need to familiarize myself with. Did I mention the Ks. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the last case I'll be working on for a while? It's a very interesting case and will keep me busy for awhile. It will also provide an excuse to go back home sometime next year.
At any rate, what I meant to write was that we're going to Berlin this weekend. I'm not sure why, but Ian and I both have a week off. I don't think it's a national holiday or anything, but schools are shut down. There's also a transit strike throughout the country planned for tomorrow - one day only - but this has nothing to do with that.
Berlin's about a 6 hour train trip from here - so it's not all that far, by U.S. standards. We've both got work to do, so the train trip will probably go by very quickly. I'm torn - I would like to just look out the window, but know I should read and work on my Dutch instead.
If I don't update this for awhile, rest assured there will be stories to tell, with pictures, when we get home.

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donderdag, oktober 07, 2004

Why did you move to The Netherlands?

The short answer is: "For Ian." If you knew Ian, you wouldn't have asked that question. (I'll write that blog later.) A better question might be, "Why did you both decide to settle in The Netherlands (where Ian has been living and working for the past 3 years) instead of England (his home) or the U.S. (mine)?

Have I mentioned that our landlord is from Iraq? And that he supports everything we (the U.S. and Britain) have done/are doing to/in his native country? He keeps pushing me to vote for Bush. Well, all I can say about that is that my absentee ballot is in the mail and I hope he doesn't open it and find out I voted for my candidate instead of his.

His wife came by the other day - she's very pregnant. She's also very nice - warm, kind and approachable. They both are, actually. She was telling Ian that the other day her husband said, "So, we're living in The Netherlands and renting to a homosexual couple, one guy from England and another from America. No one can say I'm not a modern Muslim."

I think he's wrong on the President issue and, in truth, he knows I think that. But how can I possibly argue or be irritated with this "modern Muslim" who does not discriminate against me simply because his beliefs and mine differ? He's a Muslim, yes. But he's also typically Dutch. It's this type of thing, a thing that must seem very small to someone who hasn't been discriminated against, that makes all the hassle and expense of uprooting my life to become a resident of The Netherlands worth it.

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zondag, oktober 03, 2004

Guides and links for travel in Holland

OK - here are some links you may want to know about if you're thinking about coming here for the wedding. I might mention that if you have a birthday coming up, you might not want to buy the linkable stuff until after the big day. I'm not saying you're going to get any of it, but better safe than sorry...

This page is on The Lonely Planet site and is full of free and useful information. Check it out and surf the links when you've got spare time. It's great for people who haven't traveled too much, and has some nice links for frequent travelers as well.Lonely Planet SubWWWay

This is a guide I like. It's easy to read and has maps and history that the others don't have. Lonely Planet's Netherlands Guide

A book that Ian recommends, and one I also like, can be found here. Holland Eyewitness Travel Guide. It has a little less history, but has lots more pictures and descriptions of places to shop, eat, drink and stay. We use frequently use the one by the same publisher for Amsterdam when we go there - although I sometimes suspect we use it because it's in Dutch and that means Ian can decide where we go. Hmmm. Yet another reason for me to quit writing on this blog and go study my homework! The one I've linked to is in English, not Dutch.

I'm not so crazy about this guy's books, but he's got a good website, and his videos are good. This link will take you to his Travel Tips. He also has a great list of travel links that you get to from the travel tips page.

There is not a link yet for hotels in Utrecht. Ian and I had a meeting today with an Utrecht tourist center, so you'll be hearing more about them. In short, they give discounts to anyone who uses them to book reservations. The web site they're setting up will provide several options in several price ranges. They won't have information on hostels, which will be the rock bottom cheapest lodgings (think bunkbeds and communal shower at the end of the hall), but we'll provide you with that information later.

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