Photos Oriental Party

Photos of the oriental party of our academy last Friday, as promised:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. the charming belly dancer
  2. workshop
  3. even male coworkers stepped in
  4. Dutchess & Vman
  5. party time
  6. part of my team, me on the right
  7. Dutch fries with mayonnaise as last snack, mmm


Moving Targets @ Avans University Holland

During the first three weeks of April our academy, the teacher training college for primary education at Avans University of applied sciences in Breda, * gasps for air * is hosting

Moving targets

This intensive program teaches students from Belgium, Turkey, United Kingdom, Slovenia and Holland how to go about teaching English to Dutch elementary school children with a variety of cultural backgrounds by means of drama and music.

Avans Hogeschool

After nerve wrecking last minute interventions by professor Agnes Taks (the driving force behind the project) finally all visa were cleared and last Monday the participating foreign students of Moving Targets arrived at Schiphol Airport, safe and sound. Amongst other things, the group visited an elementary school to see what Dutch schools are about and had time to enjoy the beautiful city of Amsterdam.

Then yesterday at 9 AM the twenty five students walked into a classroom of Avans university in Breda. The room was brightly decorated with colorful flags. The whole group had spent the night at a house in the neighborhood of Breda, which was filled to the brim with rented bunk beds. Some of them look really tired, but everyone had a big smile and was eager to start with the program.

Agnes opened the meeting by telling a beautiful anecdote about Martin Luther King, and concluded with saying that there is only one race: people; that there is only one country: earth, and one language: love. It was great to see the impact of these words. Our dean Nicole van Son introduced herself and welcomed all to the Avans University, after which professor Muzaffer Yanik spoke a few words. Carla Nijlunsing (drama), Margriet Veenbrink (English) and Kitty van Gulick (music) were also present.

Like last year, I was asked (as bilingual writer) to recite my poems. In 2010 accompanied on piano by Kitty in a wonderful way, but yesterday it was only my voice and thirty pair of eyes. Plus an extra lens of the camera. Increasing the volume of my voice to the crescendo needed at the end of the first poem could pose a bit of a challenge, since my trachea decided to entertain me with an insistent tickling since last Sunday. Bad BAD trachea! Luckily a cup of licorice tea sweetened the coughing fits into temporary submission.

For this special occasion I chose:

Where The Wind Sleeps



After a brief intro, in which I led my audience along the road I had taken to end up writing in English, my poems were handed out on paper.Then I started with Where The Wind Sleeps, forcing myself to speak slowly. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins at an intense pace and my face was glowing. Everybody listened and absorbed my words in silence. When I finished, they spontaneously started applauding ooooh WOW that was so nice! The same with my second poem Spring oh Spring, you are not lost! *happy smile*. I ended by wishing the students great, joyful and instructive weeks and fell down on my chair again. Pfew. Icy cold shaky hands and the rest on fire haha. But it was exhilarating and fun to do.

Language uniting people from all over Europe! I will try to share photos and perhaps films of this wonderful program in the weeks to come.


What’s the longest you’ve been without sleep?

It is 1984. And George Orwell was right: someone was watching me! But it was not my big brother. If it had been him, he could have helped! No, it was the university who was staring at me, breathing in my neck, inserting truck loads of adrenaline into my veins.

It was the week of finishing my thesis. It was a week of writing, of failing typewriters, of coffee and music, piles of papers, computer sheets that made no sense, all spread out through my room. Of house buddies feeding me, encouraging me to keep going, assuring me that I WOULD make it.

There was no time for sleep. My whole world was turning around this project. I took short naps, with my head on the desk, kept the neighbors awake with my never ending writing, the drumming of my typewriter echoing through the house. No computer with word processing options, but a machine that was training my fingers. And I was in turn torturing the poor thing. Hours of just staring at a sheet of paper that had to be filled with sensible, even brilliant meanings. And they were all eluding me as the hours and days slipped through my hands.

Here is the very same typewriter: it survived the slaughter in splendid condition!

At the end of that week – so on Friday – five copies of the thesis had to be handed in at the university, or I would have to wait for months to get another try. On Thursday noon I remember sitting in the bus on my way to the Safaripark Beekse Bergen, where I had done my research and where the copies would be printed and bound. The final concept of the thesis was in my bag, which I kept protectively on my lap. Everything was blurred, in a haze, and an insistent peep was tormenting what was left of my brains.

I have no idea how I made it to the Safaripark. The maximum hours of sleep was about six hours in four days. A zombie looked healthier than I did. Worried hands took the concept from my hands and I could finally relax. A couple of hours later I was on my way home again with five printed copies. Which led me to my diploma.

But first it led me to my bed. I have never been as tired in my life as back in 1984.