Vogelfestival * Bird festival (or pro #7 of living on Statia)

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Monday April 28 STENAPA (St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation) held its first Bird (Vogel) Festival.

After being tested what our knowledge of the local birds was -I admit, I am terrible in identifying birds- we made a guided walk through town to spot the local beauties.

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Spotting and identifying the birds is hard enough as it is, taking sharp pictures of them is a nightmare. Most of my pictures looked like this:

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Not a bird in sight!

We spotted our national bird, the Kili Kili…

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IMG_0225the banana quit….

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and many more, that of course wouldn’t sit quiet.

Back in the library, there was enough to do for young and old.

???????????????????????????????Making bird masks.

bird feedersMaking bird feeders out of empty plastic bottles.

In the end prizes (camera’s, binoculars and bird books) were given out to the kids that handed in the most beautiful picture or drawing of a bird. The jury, that consisted of two professional iguana-watchers that visited the island for the opening seminar of CNSI, had a hard time.

whisperingThe winning photograph by Tom showed one of the few (pet) parrots the island has. Congratulations!

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More pros of living on Statia:

How to become a Frequent Flyer (or pro #1 of living on Statia)

How to tape your scooter (or pro #2 of living on Statia)

How and where to swim (or pro #3 of living on Statia)

Wedding Witness (or pro #4 of living on Statia)

Statia in Shape (or pro #5 of living on Statia)

Nevis Agricultural Fair (or pro #6 of living on Statia)

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United forces at CNSI

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On April 24 and 25 the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI) was officially opened in St. Eustatius. To celebrate this, many presentations were held pertaining to the reefs, fisheries, marine and terrestrial reserves, agriculture, tourism, vegetation, research studies, archaeology, diving, history, public health and geology of St. Eustatius, the Dutch Caribbean and the Caribbean in general. Scientists and students from all over the world were present, as well as representatives of Naturalis in Leiden, the University of Wageningen and other universities, Carmabi, NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for sea research) and many more.

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A local lunch was held at the beautiful Lynch family plantation. The endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana came to visit.

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Governor Gerald Berkel, commissioner Carlyle Tearr and father Raffi of the Roman Catholic Church blessed the new institute, the STENAPA Junior Rangers gave a presentation about the formation of St. Eustatius and the brass band under guidance of maestro Dennis Amajan gave a great show. A big success by organiser Johan Stapel.

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Jos Rokx of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Island Governor Gerald Berkel and Edwin van Huis, director of Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in the Netherlands.

All in all a great initiative to promote and facilitate more research on our little Golden Rock!

Photos by http://www.cnsi.nl

That Time I laughed when I shouldn’t have

For the A to Z challenge Laura of History of a Woman (check her out!!) challenged me with the letter T for That Time I laughed when I shouldn’t have. I’m running a few days late in the challenge, but trying to catch up.

Although I have the feeling I did mostly stupidness in my life, especially when I was a little younger, and I am an expert in making a big fool out of myself, I don’t think I often laughed in situations I shouldn’t have. My friends and my sister can probably come up with tons of stories where I did, but the only situation that comes to my mind is my fire episode in Poland, many years ago.

My family and I were connected to a camping group. Every now and then we spent a weekend in the caravan. Once a year there was a youth trip where kids from all different European countries came together for a short week. I joined three times, to Krakow (Poland), Venice (Italy) and Edinburgh (Scotland).

The first year, I must have been 15 years old, I thought I was an expert in camping, Like all of us. Hundreds of small tents were scattered on a big field. Most days an excursion was planned. The most memorable, horrible was the trip to Auschwitz. I’ll never forget the one way railroad into the premises.

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That Time I laughed when I shouldn’t have (or maybe even better: That Time I thought I could do something when I couldn’t) has to do what happened one afternoon around diner time. We used to prepare our own food, a simple soup or some hotdogs, on a camping gas stove.

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Like I said, I thought I was the Queen of Camping, and when a gas cylinder needed to be changed, I just laughed and did it. It happened so fast. The gas ran out of the cylinder fast, someone lighting a cigarette or maybe another gas stove somewhere close by, a tent, fire, fire, fire!!! I accidentally set a tent on fire!!! I thank God with all my might that my two new friends Miranda & Shirley were not inside or I would have been a murderer. The tent, including everything inside, was gone in less than a second. Clothes, personal possessions everything was gone. They were lucky one of the girls had a beauty-case in which they stored their passports. Seriously, this is one of the worst moments of my life, especially the thought that the girls could have been inside. Changing a gas tank still gives me the creeps and I will never laugh again thinking I can just do that.

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FV sr. and FV jr. (Sisters Forever)

For the A to Z challenge my sister Femke challenged me with the letter S for Sister. Although I’m two days late, because I don’t have an internet connection in my new house as yet, I’d still like to make up for it.

My big sister:

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I was born in 1974 in my parents’ house, when my sister was already 7 years old. She had to spend this memorable Mother’s Day at the neighbors.

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Femke en Fraukje

I read somewhere that older sisters like to treat their younger siblings as dolls. I don’t remember if that was the case. We were probably very cute together tough.

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One of the first memories I have of my sister, or of life in general, was that she was doing all kinds of weird educational stuff, like visiting the museum and learning macramé. I wondered what all this fuss was about. I must have been around 4 years old.

Soon the jealousy started. I must have been terrible. I wasn’t jealous of her, but of all the things that she was allowed to do while I “always had to do what my parents told me”. While I had to go to bed when the sun disappeared behind the mountain, on holidays in Italy, she could stay up and go to the camping disco. While I had to stay home, she could go out with her friends. While I had to wear whatever was in my closet, she received an allowance for clothes. And so on. It never really struck me that it was only logical that an 8-year-old girl was not allowed to do the same stuff as a 15-year-old. It was just unbelievably ridiculous! It also never occurred to me that I probably had privileges she could be jealous of, like not doing the dishes, no homework etc. Like I said, I must have been terrible. The fact that both of us are slightly stubborn and flammable did not help. In spite of these sisterly issues, we always loved each other, we were each other’s only sister.

When I was around 18 years old I moved out to live on my own in the town center, very close to my sister. That’s when the party started. All of a sudden 7 years of age difference didn’t seem to matter that much. FV senior and FV junior shared drinks, parties, a lot of laughter and a healthy interest in the opposite sex. Eating soap, flirting with Johnny Lederhosen or Jeroen Darling, taking the bus to Tossa de Mar with partner in crime C(n)or, bringing red wine in a backpack or making trouble on October 3rd (Leidens Ontzet, the day our hometown was liberated from the Spanish), it was always fun. Well, almost always. We once stayed home with tears in our eyes after watching Schindler’s List in the movies.

When the best nephew ever Jesse was born, I went with Fem and her husband on holiday, back to where we spent our childhood holidays too. Soon after that I started travelling and moved to some faraway places and we don’t speak to each other as often as I would like to. Here we are together with her son Jesse and my baby Makeda, in 2006:

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But Fem, even though we are far apart I always think about you and love you to pieces! I couldn’t have a better sister. Sometimes I wonder… Could you be? The most beautiful girl in the world? 😉

 

 

 

Relaxing en masse on the beach

Due to unforeseen circumstances like moving and not having an internet connection, I missed a few posts in the April A to Z challenge. I already made up the P (Paint it Purple) and Q (Quill).

Yesterday was Easter Monday. On Statia that means: going to the beach en masse, partying, dancing, drinking, dancing, eating, a lot of music. Some people also camped on the beach at night. The shoreline was covered with party tents.

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Quill

There goes my A to Z challenge.

The schedule was as follows:

Thursday April 17: the letter O for On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark!

Friday April 18: the letter P

Saturday April 19: the letter Q

Sunday April 20: RELAX on Easter Sunday

Monday April 21: the letter R

APRIL-CALENDAR [2014] - updated

Instead, this is what happened:

Thursday April 17: the letter O for On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark!

Friday April 18: I was off and moved to my new house with two bags of clothes and bed sheets, and my laptop. The internet guy was supposed to come by to check which trees need to be trimmed to get an internet connection in my new house. He did not come.

Saturday April 19: Weekend! I planned to go back to my old house, by scooter, with my laptop to post my P and R. The scooter broke down and the bicycle had a half flat tire. I did not feel like walking up and down between houses with my laptop under my arm. Instead I painted some purple.

Sunday April 20: RELAX on Easter Sunday morning and moved more bags and boxes in the afternoon and started unpacking.

Monday April 21: I was off, nobody available to fix a poor girl’s scooter. The whole island was partying on the beach. I joined them. On a half flat tire downhill, walking uphill.

So, my apologies, I did not stick to my A to Z challenge. But in my defense, I did not plan moving in April. I still would like to contribute with a belated Q, which might be a complicated letter for some of us. But not if you live on Statia, where the everyday life is influenced by the presence of the volcano Quill. I would like to reblog my post about the Quill today: going green inside the crater.

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Paint it Purple

There goes my A to Z challenge.

The schedule was as follows:

Thursday April 17: the letter O for On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark!

Friday April 18: the letter P

Saturday April 19: the letter Q

Sunday April 20: RELAX on Easter Sunday

Monday April 21: the letter R

APRIL-CALENDAR [2014] - updated

Instead, this is what happened:

Thursday April 17: the letter O for On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark!

Friday April 18: I was off and moved to my new house with two bags of clothes and bed sheets, and my laptop. The internet guy was supposed to come by to check which trees need to be trimmed to get an internet connection in my new house. He did not come.

Saturday April 19: Weekend! I planned to go back to my old house, by scooter, with my laptop to post my P and R. The scooter broke down and the bicycle had a half flat tire. I did not feel like walking up and down between houses with my laptop under my arm. Instead I painted some purple.

Sunday April 20: RELAX on Easter Sunday morning and moved more bags and boxes in the afternoon and started unpacking.

Monday April 21: I was off, nobody available to fix a poor girl’s scooter. The whole island was partying on the beach. I joined them. On a half flat tire downhill, walking uphill.

So, my apologies, I did not stick to my A to Z challenge. But in my defense, I did not plan moving in April. As proof of my “excuse” above, hereby a belated P for PAINT IT PURPLE- picture of my daughter’s room, taken before the unpacking was completed.

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On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark!

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It’s planning time again! The Goldenrock Leatherbacks swim team is preparing for the annual swim meet in the US Virgin Islands. In the weekend of June 13-15, six swimmers, one coach (that would be me) and two chaperons will be going to the 32nd Dolphins Invitational Swim Competition in St. Croix. All swimmers are between the age of 8 and 16 years old and ready to show the rest of the Caribbean that we are here.

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Matthew (16), great diver, good breaststroke and butterfly. Being the oldest one in the team, also a bit my assistant, if he’s not in an argument with his brother Mel. Jason (11) disappeared from the team for a while, but I’m glad he’s back, and stronger. Good breaststroke, good team player. D’Seante (11) likes breaststroke, backstroke, flipping around and talking. Who likes a quiet pool? Marshel (10) unstoppable in every sense, energy overflow, good butterflyer and great freestyler. Kaboom! Mel (10) good in all strokes as long as he stays focussed. Working good on those push-ups. Makeda (8) has a smooooth breaststroke and is getting better and better in butterfly. Keeping up good with the bigger fish.

IMG_8342This was last year on St. Maarten, with some different faces.

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The pool in St. Croix is Olympic size (50 m), so no baby races are done here. Freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly are done in 50 m and 100 m races, 200 IM’s (200 m individual medley, 50 m of each stroke), 200 m mix medley relays (50 m of each stroke by four different swimmers, two boys and two girls) and 200 m freestyle relays are on the program for our swimmers. Four days a week they are in the pool practicing and yes, playing and giving me a hard time. Kids! But seriously, I love my little team and I’m looking forward to spending a weekend with them in St. Croix!

No Olympics yet, but On our way to St. Croix.

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Nevis Agricultural Fair (or Pro #6 of living on Statia)

March 27, 6:00 AM

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A group of more than 20 people from St. Eustatius, including crop and livestock farmers, gardeners, employers of the department LVV (“agriculture, livestock & fisheries”) of the island government, the vet and other people interested in agriculture, boarded the Waterman to go to Nevis to visit the yearly agricultural fair. As policy adviser of the directorate Economy & Infrastructure, working with the unit LVV, me and my camera were there 😀

Apart from people, the Waterman carried around 1000 kilos of sheep meat and a small amount of cow meat. Over the last year, Nevis has become a regular buyer of Statian meat.

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The manager of the agricultural department and the veterinarian/meat inspector made sure the meat was delivered properly to the Nevis abattoir.

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The fair was very educational and covered a wide range of agricultural subjects. Various techniques of growing vegetables were displayed. This can easily be done by anyone without a big garden:

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The information was abundant, on growing different types of grass, invasive species, health, backyard farming, pesticides etc. Farm animals, pets, flowers, vegetables, seeds, meat, herbs, homemade products like tomato and spinach-wine and much more was for sale. Especially the fruit trees were favorite: guava, lemon, lime, Julie mango, avocado, starfruit, grapefruit, you name it.

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The Waterman arrived back on Statia at 5:30 PM filled with fruit trees, flowers, herbs, seeds and many other goods, possible business deals, a wet goat and a seasick Rottweiler puppy.

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Pro #6 of living on Statia is; for a work-related trip you just hop on the boat to another Caribbean island!

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More pros of living on Statia:

How to become a Frequent Flyer (or pro #1 of living on Statia)

How to tape your scooter (or pro #2 of living on Statia)

How and where to swim (or pro #3 of living on Statia)

Wedding Witness (or pro #4 of living on Statia)

Statia in Shape (or pro #5 of living on Statia)

Vogelfestival * Bird Festival (or pro #7 of living on Statia)

Life Long Learning

For the A to Z challenge, Yurena challenged me with the letter

L

for Life Long Learning. Or Life Long making mistakes and Learning from it. I love to learn, especially by making mistakes. My family is still teasing me that I always wanted to do everything my way, by myself. Stubborn, but eager to learn.

I’m very bad with dates, but this list must be more or less correct 😀

I wish I had more pictures, but many of them are still in Holland.

1974 – I learned how to be the best Mother’s Day present ever.

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1975 – I already learned horseback riding.

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1976 – I…. learned something for sure.

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1977 -I learned that la vita è bella in Italia.

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1978 – I learned to always check if you’re wearing underwear under your dress before you go on the swing.

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1979 – I learned that it is freaking cold outside when the kindergarten teacher puts you on time-out in the garden because of your temper.

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1980 – I learned to always bring gloves on a summer holiday.

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1981 – I learned how to oppose to Oilily dresses and braided hair.

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1982 – I probably learned something with this:

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1983 – I learned from my father not  to put your fingers in a wood cutting machine.

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1984 – I learned horseback riding on a real horse and being pretty good at it.

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1985 – I learned that Christmas-tree salesmen grow a lot when eating Brinta.

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1986 – I learned that my parents could easily persuade me into “choosing” a school with a horse skull and an embryo.

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1987 – I learned that 20-year old sisters have a lot more “privileges” than teenagers.

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1988 – I learned how to sing Eternal Flame and not to sleep for four nights in a row on long volleyball weekends.

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1989 – I learned that partying and doing good at school do not go hand in hand.

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1990 – I learned how not to change a cooking gas tank. Again:

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1991 – I learned how to make a fool out of myself into an art.

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1992 – I learned to appreciate good music and good concerts.

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1993 – I learned that a seven-year older sister in much cooler when you’re 19 than when you’re 13.

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1994 – I learned to choose something different.

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1995 – I learned how to act cool, calm and collected being lost in the streets of Tossa de Mar in a bathing suit, air mattress under the arm.

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1996 – I learned that Italian babies can speak Italian better than I do after two years of study.

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1997 – I learned to play a team sport.

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1998 – I learned to appreciate peeing in my wetsuit in winter time. At least I did not wear a drysuit.

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1999 – I learned that translating a novel requires a lot of sitting on my ass.

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2000 – I learned to lie for money (some call it working as a market researcher).

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2001 – I learned I will never work at a call centre again.

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2002 – I learned that snowboarding needs not to be done recklessly.

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2003 – I learned to survive on my own in Turkey, Bali, the Dominican Republic, the Antilles, Greece, Portugal, Austria & many more and make money with it too.

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2004 – I learned that working as a scuba diving instructor in Thailand is paradise, even if people puke on you.

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2005 – I learned which bars on Curacao stay open the longest, while working my ass off.

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2006 – I started to learn to be a mother out of the blue (ongoing process).

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2007 – I learned that Jamaica is a very interesting place, in both good and bad ways.

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2008 – I learned to start and run a dive shop.

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2009 – I learned that I could finally teach my father something instead of the other way around.

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2010 – I learned how to drive a truck and a bus and how to speak papiamentu fluently.

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2011 – I learned that I created a supermodel.

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2012 – I learned to use a rebreather.

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2013 – I learned how to be a swimming coach.

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And this year 2014 – So far I am learning a lot about the natural environment in my study at the Open University, I learned that freaky beats are good beats, I learned that pitbulls are sweethearts to people but play ‘too rough’ with doggy friends and much much more. Just follow my blog and you find out.

And for the future, here are 5 wanna-learns (just to start with), in random order:

#1 – How to run a marathon ( I guess the answer is “step by step”)

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#2 – How to earn more and work less.

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#3 – How to keep my princess out of trouble. I imagine that something like this. Me, myself and I protecting the last white rhino with machine guns.

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#4 –  How to make wildlife pictures like these:

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#5 – How to surf (first lesson planned in Costa Rica)

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What do you want to learn? What keeps you going?

Knock knock, who’s hatching?

Knock Knock!    K

I  know I’m blessed. Happy, lucky and blessed! 😀

This morning I witnessed 81 Hawksbill turtles hatching on Zeelandia beach, THE sea turtle nesting beach in the Caribbean Netherlands. This is the 7th Hawksbill nest already for this season.

Apart from Hawksbill, also the Green turtle and the critically endangered Leatherback nest here, thanks to the never-ending sea turtle protection by Stenapa. Last month the entrance to this beach was finally blocked for vehicles, to prevent illegal sand mining here (high 5 for NuStar for their support). Sea turtles always come back to lay there eggs on the same beach where they are born, so it’s extremely important to keep this beach in good shape for the future generations of turtles.

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Also worth mentioning here: the Stenapa Junior Rangers, small kids with a big future!

Stenapa Junior Rangers sign

Last year I witnessed a Leatherback nest hatching. There’s a clear difference between the two. The Hawksbill is much smaller than the Leatherback. Also, the Hawksbill has a “real” shell, while the Leatherback’s back is, well, leathery (I’m a genius).

First the baby turtles just look like moving sand.

first they look like moving sand

Everybody get your camera ready! Also the kids from the NuStar school were there. Last week two groups from the Golden Rock school had the privilege to watch this miracle.

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There you go!

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These guys and girls must be pretty smart. Without too many problems they can find their way to the sea. Follow the light! During this short time on the beach (maximum half an hour I’d guess, and that would be a very slow turtle) they have to learn to remember this beach. Thirty years later they will come back to the same spot! I can see the smartness in this turtle’s eyes.

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There are ups and downs.

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Those human footprints are not an easy hurdle to take.

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Follow the leader.

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It’s a long way for a tiny turtle.

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Almost there. Get ready for the big splash!

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See you in 30 years!

 

Jamaica, Negril

After living there for almost three years in 2005 to 2007, Makeda and I went back there last year for a few weeks.

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The letter J in the A to Z challenge is for Jamaica, Negril. Don’t miss the last picture of five generations!

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With special thanks to Makeda’s great great grandmother (yes, that’s her grandmother’s grandmother!!)

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Insanity

Today was cookie and flower day!

Some called it insanity day or cookie madness. But whatever you called it, on cookie and flower day the sun was always shining a bit brighter and the air seemed light and playful.

Today the village square smelled like vanilla and cinnamon. Three cases of big, perfectly round cookies were piled on Gaia’s table. Right next to it a basket filled with fresh fruit and bouquets of hibiscus, white lilies and Bougainvillea in all colours of the rainbow. Under the table pots of aloe vera (for a good skin) and a chocolate-brown labrador receiver. Today would be a good day.

When Gaia first came to the village, four years ago, people were afraid of her. They called her insane. A mad woman. Nobody knew where she came from and nobody knew her real age, but Gaia acted as if she were a 10-year-old girl. When she was in the park, she acted like a puppy and played with her labrador Chocolate until they fell asleep in the grass. She was talking to herself and played with stuffed animals. She loved nothing more than baking and eating cookies, and sometimes the neighbors heard her sing out loud in the middle of the night when she was trying a new recipe. Her skirts were purple and orange. Nothing like the other women on this traditional Greek island.

Not long after she settled in the village, Gaia started selling her cookies and flowers and fruit from her garden. She set up a table in the middle of the village square, with a simple red tablecloth. Not on the regular market day, but any day when she felt like it. It could be 6 in the morning, it could be 8 at night. With Gaia, you were never sure what happened.

In the beginning the people were a bit sceptical about her spontaneous sales techniques. But Gaia didn’t seem to mind whether the people bought her cookies or not. She just sang en laughed and played with Chocolate.

The smells of cinnamon, chocolate or vanilla were stronger than the people’s distrust. The colors of the flowers were flirting with the people’s fear. The old man Drakos was the first one to buy a cookie. He started to dance. Soon after that, everyone wanted a taste from the crazy lady’s cookies. It brought a smile to everyone’s face. The people’s hearts felt lighter when she sang the sweetest songs or frolicked with Chocolate.

The lady is insane, but so what? It’s cookie and flower day!!

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The letter I in the A to Z challenge

 

Hoe maak ik een blog – speciaal voor Jesse

Today’s post, with the letter H for the A to Z challenge, teaches you “how to make a blog – especially for my nephew Jesse” and yes, it’s in Dutch.

Eigenlijk is het niet zo ingewikkeld, maar dat kan ik makkelijk zeggen, nu ik eenmaal bezig ben. Je kan je blog zo ingewikkeld en duur maken als je wilt, maar mijn blog hier is helemaal gratis en niet zo ingewikkeld verder. Ik zal stap voor stap uitleggen hoe ik het heb gedaan. Althans, een beginnetje:

  • Je gaat naar wordpress.com
  • Je klikt op GET STARTED. Je krijgt dan een veld waar je een aantal dingen moet invullen:

Je e-mail adres. Heb je die eigenlijk? Anders moet je die eerst aanmaken. Ze sturen je dan een mail met een  link die je moet aanklikken om te bevestigen.

Je username. Bijvoorbeeld jesse of jessedemarie of jesseisdebestevandehelewereld.

Je paswoord. Zelf verzinnen. Wel even goed onthouden natuurlijk. Klinkt logisch, maar je wilt niet weten hoe vaak ik al een paswoord vergeten ben. Duh!

Je blog adres. Dit is hoe je blog gaat heten. Verzin wat leuks! Er staat al .wordpress.com, dus je hoeft alleen in te vullen wat ervoor moet komen. Laten we zeggen dat je je blog jessesblog.wordpress.com wilt noemen bijvoorbeeld, dan vul je daar dus jessesblog in.

  • Daaronder kan je kiezen voor allerlei upgrades, maar dat kost best veel, dus dat zou ik niet doen als je net begint. Als je gewoon een gratis blog wilt, klik je onder de eerste kolom “wordpress.com beginner” de knop CREATE BLOG.

Eigenlijk is je blog nu gemaakt. Als je dan naar (bijvoorbeeld) jessesblog.wordpress.com gaat, dan zie je jouw blog, alleen staat er dan natuurlijk nog niets op, omdat je nog niets gepost hebt. Dit is hoe andere mensen jouw blog zien.

  • Als je nu iets wilt posten, een leuk verhaaltje of iets wat je hebt meegemaakt, dan ga je naar je zogenaamde dashboard. Dit is wat alleen jij kunt zien en waar je dingen aan je blog kunt veranderen. Je komt op je dashboard door /wp-admin achter je blognaam te typen, dus (bijvoorbeeld) jessesblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin
  • Als je op je dashboard bent, zie je aan de linkerkant van je pagina een kolom met allerlei dingen die je kan doen. Ik zal de belangrijkste (degene die ik zelf het meeste gebruik) even kort uitleggen.

POSTS

Als je hierop klikt, kan je kiezen voor ADD NEW. Klik daarop en dan zie je een veld waar je een stukje kan schrijven om te posten. Lekker stukkie typen en als je denkt dat je klaar bent, druk je op PUBLISH aan de rechterkant van je scherm.

Als je een foto wilt invoegen in je blog, dan klik je bovenaan je scherm op ADD MEDIA en dan op UPLOAD FILES. Dan kan je op je computer zoeken naar een leuke foto die je dan INSERT TO POST.

Het is in het begin een beetje pielen, maar het went snel 😀

APPEARANCE (in de kolom aan de linkerkant)

Hier kan je allerlei dingen instellen om je blog er een beetje anders uit te laten zien. Bijvoorbeeld:

  • Themes. Hier kan je kiezen voor de  vormgeving van je blog. Ik heb bijvoorbeeld gekozen voor het theme “Twenty Fourteen”. Die is gratis. Er zijn verschillende gratis themes. Sommige moet je kopen, maar dat is een beetje onzin, want er zijn een heleboel leuke gratis themes. Als je een leuk theme ziet, dan druk je op de blauwe ACTIVATE knop.
  • Header. Hier kan je een een achtergrondfoto voor je blog kiezen.
  • Background. Hier kan je de achtergrondkleur of een achtergrondplaatje voor je blog kiezen.

Eigenlijk zijn dit de dingen waar je het beste eerste even mee kan beginnen. Zelf ben ik echt lang aan het pielen geweest om te zien wat er gebeurt als je een bepaalde instelling verandert. Ik had dan ook tegelijkertijd mijn “dashboard” (lifeonthegoldenrock.wordpress.com/wp-admin) en mijn gewone blog site (lifeonthegoldenrock.wordpress.com) open, om te zien wat er gebeurt als je wat verandert.

Kijk maar of het voor zover lukt, misschien heb ik het wel dramatisch slecht uitgelegd of allerlei dingen vergeten, maar dan roep je maar om hulp. En als je het echt leuk vindt, kan ik je later nog wat meer truukjes uitleggen. Ik ben zelf ook nog van alles en nog wat aan het leren, ik ben ook maar een beginner.

Knuffel!

internet knuffel

 

 

Good advice needed from Costa Ricans and Costa Rica travellers

As you may have read in my 100 happy days, I just booked a ticket to Costa Rica. The first two weeks of July, my daughter and I will be hiking, swimming and visiting rain forests and waterfalls. Ooooh yes! We have a draft itinerary, which is: fly to San Jose, explore the Arenal area to hike and do adventurous stuff (week 1), then move to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast (week 2) and end the trip in Panama City, from where we fly back to Statia.

I realize Costa Rica is quite a popular place to go these days. Of course!! Beautiful nature, wildlife, sun, sea, what else do you need? There are probably quite a few of you who have been there. Yes, it’s YOU I’m talking to now, it’s YOU I need. I’m asking for your advice. What should I REALLY do in Costa Rica while I’m there? What is not to be missed? I’m especially looking for “real costa rican life”. Like what local dish (something nice and different) should I try? Where to go to mingle with the locals? La Fortuna and Puerto Viejo are packed with tourists, I know, but I’d like to experience some of the daily life. Where to go to a local event? Which beach is the best, avoiding the crowd? Which hike to hike? What things are absolutely not done in Costa Rica? Which dance to learn? 😀

So the letter G today is for Please GIMME GIMME GIMME GOOD COSTA RICA ADVICE. You’ll be rewarded in a few months with the awesomest pictures and reports.

Thanks a million!

 

 

Freedom: from Marcus Garvey to Jack Sparrow, from Chocolate Milk to Narnia and back

My mom challenged me with the letter F in this A to Z challenge. The F for Freedom.

F

My mom knows me well. She knows I must have many ideas and thoughts on the concept Freedom. She kind of unleashed a stream of thoughts that is so big and thick it can hardly put into words in a single post. I decided to make a picture collage (+ one  commercial from the 80’s) of what Freedom means to me. Disclaimer: it’s just a glimpse of my mind. And my mind only. Freedom of Thought. Freedom of Expression.

 

Inline image 3

 

Inline image 1 Inline image 2

Inline image 4

relaxation

What does Freedom mean to you?

Emergency on planet E

All I have to do is write a post, it’s easy

Blog about something concerning letter E

Can’t be that complicated, don’t you think

Desire, Computers, Boven, Adventure, I did it without a blink

Freedom, Sister, even Xenophobia coming your way

Gimme Good Advice already being prepared for Monday

Having fun with this challenge from A to Z

I can’t think of anything with letter E

Just that my brain is so full with… stuff

Kicking around in my head and playing tough

Last week my relationship came to an end

Me, myself and I can’t afford the rent

New house was quickly found, even though it’s a mess

Oh thank you Lord, I know I’m blessed

Planning the future is what I try to do

Questioning myself, I feel like a fool

Running around restlessly up and down

Should I get out of this orange town

Time is ticking , I want to do so much

Urgently I need a to get away

Vacation Costa Rica is booked as off today

Waterfalls and rainforests are calling my name

Xenophobia or Xenophilia, it’s all the same

You see, things are happening but not with an E

Zorry, I’m so terrible zorree!

Desire

Today’s letter for the A to Z challenge is

D

and my letter assignment is DESIRE. Thanks Damyanti! A great assignment, because I never really thought about the concept desire in depth, I always just simply… desired. Without thinking.

😀

According to my friend Wikipedia “desire” is a sense of longing for a person or object or hoping for an outcome. The same sense is expressed by emotions such as “craving” or “hankering”. When a person desires something or someone, their sense of longing is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of the item or person, and they want to take actions to obtain their goal.

I guess I would get a lot of “likes” if I posted something about this gorgeous, jaw-dropping Mr. Muscle and my uncontrollable desire for him. Like

sexy man

or

johnny depp

But sorry. I’m being boring. I mean, not that I would send either one of them home if they showed up on my doorstep…

I think my Wikifriend is not complete here. For me, personally, desire mostly doesn’t relate to a someone or a something (those who know me, know I don’t care much about a Ferrari, iPhone or fancy dress), but rather to a somewhere. I’ve had quite some Somewhere-Desires in my life. I desired to become a dive instructor on a sea-gipsy island,

at Koh Lipe

I desired life in rasta-country,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I desired, and still desire, to travel and see the world. I desired to scuba dive for a living instead of a “real” job (because carrying 200 tanks a day and risking your life on a regular basis in not considered a real job). I desire to learn things the hard way and take the road less traveled. Luckily I have a companion.

IMG_7182

My current desires and cravings? Waterfalls and Rainforests. Uran Utangs and Bengal Tigers (I can’t believe someone wrote Life of Pi before I did). The Aurora Borealis. The Natural Life. And of course a fat Julie Mango.

mango

What are your desires?

images

 

 

 

C for Computers are very smart

C

 

I was so silly to challenge my readers to give me a letter-assignment for the A to Z challenge, and my very own 8-year old daughter Makeda challenged me with this terrible “C for Computers are very smart”.

ninja girl

So. Dear Makeda,

Yes, computers are very smart indeed. Many times I’m convinced that computers are much much smarter then me. They can calculate 563.009.827.881 devided by 739 in less than a second. They can tell me that I spelled ‘devided’ wrong, it must be divided with 2 i’s. They can show you movies of Geronimo Stilton in Romanian and Russian, they can even speak, fly airplanes, walk your dog and unscrupulously drive you insane.

I heard the term Artificial Intelligence for the first time when I was in secondary school trying to decide what to study. While I was thinking about studying languages or even about becoming a veterinarian, some of my friends were talking about studying Artificial Intelligence. In normal language that means that they wanted to study how you can make computers smart. Supersmart. So smart that they would “think” like a human. To me, that sounded like a pact with Skinny Green People With Oblong Heads And Long Fingers.

alien  alien  alien  alien  alien  alien

It kind of scared me.

Now I’m a little bit older (but not Really Old) I realize that computers can’t really think like humans, but that humans can program computers in such a way that it looks like computers think by themselves. I can’t really explain it, because I ended up studying Italian language, but it has everything to do with complicated mathematics. I also learned, from a Really Old and intelligent guy named Socrates, that the more you learn, the more you know how much you don’t know. So what it all boils down to:

  1. Computers are programmed very smartly, so it looks like they’re very smart.
  2. Computers have nothing to do with Skinny Green People With Oblong Heads And Long Fingers.
  3. Computer programmers learned more about computers than me, which also means they know more how much they don’t know about computers. Right?

Dear Makeda, I hope you learned something from my post, even though it’s not about computers. If you really want to know more about the smartness of computers, you’ll have to look it up on the computer. It’s out of my league, dushi*.

Note for the Artificial Intelligence students: I would like to save the sense of smell on my computer (mango, cinnamon, woodfire). Could you speed up that process please? Thanx.

* dushi = sweetheart/sweet (papiamentu)