Monday, 28 February 2011

Dutch to translate!

Kijk, je moet het mensen niet al te gemakkelijk maken. Dus heb ik besloten om dit logje eens in het Nederlands te doen! Lekker makkelijk voor mij, alhoewel ik ook in het Nederlands niet zou weten waar ik het over moet hebben.

Natuurlijk zou ik het over mijn werk kunnen hebben. Na acht dagen vrij heb ik wel drie dagen gewerkt. En morgen ben ik weer vrij! Ik heb zaterdag stil gestaan met kapotte V-snaren, ik ben vandaag naar Duitsland geweest en ik heb een grote hoeveelheid sinaasappelsap mee naar huis kunnen nemen. Met dank aan overgebleven lunchpakketten. Niet echt interessant.

Tja, en verder? Geen flauw benul waar ik het verder over moet hebben, dus stop ik er maar mee nu.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Mummy!!!!

When I was about 10 (I think), I sewed a blanket using old scraps of fabric. An old nighty, old sheets and I think even some old curtains found their way into my new blanket. It wasn't perfect in any way, but I made it.

Fast forward a few years (about 30) and the blanket is still here. It's showing definite signs of distress however, because it's being used on a near-daily basis. Not on my bed, but on the couch, where it has to deal with spilt chocolate and other stains, cats and of course myself.

So, today, after I cleared the work room (the name does not mean that I work there, it's just a name), I got out the old sewing machine I have and some old flanel pyjamas. The sewing machine was my paternal grandmother's, after the one I had before would start sewing on its own while I was in the kitchen!

Anyway, I got it out, used the test fabric (yes, I always try first) and got to work. I cut out some large squares from my Garfield pj's and pinned one to my blanket. And I started sewing. All went well, until the needle broke! Fortunately my gran had a little supply and I changed the needle. After which I could not get sewing properly again. Every time the thread would leave the needle. I was getting really frustrated and in the end I phoned my Mum.

'Did I put the needle in right?' 'Where is the broken needle?' 'Was the lower thread okay?' In the end I hung up and tried to put the needle in the other way round. After which I could sew again. I phoned my Mum back, told her she'd been right and continued sewing.

Which was even worse than before! For some reason the thread would now stay in the needle, but at the back of the blanket it looked like a complete shag carpet. I didn't want to phone my Mum again (and hear my Dad laughing in the background), so I muddled on. Fortunately I finally had it all sorted, and the blanket looks fantastic again. Now including Garfield!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Moving

"As long as you don't forget me!"

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Miles

Have you met Miles? He's American and arrived on my doorstep only yesterday. He's still a baby, but Cry wants him to grow up with me. He's really soft and cuddly and totally sweet and I can feel its heart inside (yes I can Cry).

Cry named him Miles because we're miles apart. Isn't that sweet? So, Cry and Hailey, thank you so very much! He will be disappearing in a box pretty soon, but I promise he won't be sold!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Indoor

Everybody who has indoor cats will know the problem: what to do with the kitty's room (ie: the litter box)? Now, I've always had the two or three litter boxes in the hallway. Because I am lazy and don't want to get up every time they need the bathroom, I've installed a catflap from living room to hallway.

I still wasn't too happy about the location though. Everybody coming in immediately saw those boxes and the mess there would sometimes be. But I didn't really know where else to put them. At least not so they would be out of sight. Until today...

This afternoon as I was getting at my Christmas decorations, so I could sort and/or pack them, the hallway was so cramped with all the stuff I had to move around that I shoved the litter boxes underneath the staircase. Where the Christmas decorations used to be.

It's only taken me 12 years!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Oh yes!

You remember that test I had to do yesterday? The one with all those questions? The one I got forty minutes for and I finished within ten? Well, I had the result tonight...

Mara:



100 MC questions: 100 correct (level 4)
Listening 0 (0 wrong, level 4)
Reading 0 (0 wrong, level 4)
Speaking 0 (level 4)

TOTAL 100 points (level 4)

I've never seen this: everything was perfect. Not a single mistake, well done.

Not too shabby. If I say so myself...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Well again...

As you know I was extremely disappointed last week after visiting the emigration fair. Some really bad news made me reconsider my wishes. However, I did have one more option up my sleeve. Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to go to an information meeting organised by this option, since it was busy at work and I would have to work. Ha!

It was so busy at work, only two people worked and I wasn't one of them! So, I could go to the information meeting. I had been to one before, organised by the same organisation, but the information had slipped down a bit again (you tend to forget the more negative sides), so it wasn't bad to listen to it again. The result?

As a busdriver I will not be able to stay in Canada. Like the lady said last week. However (yes, there is one), if I were to shift my focus partly to the hospitality side of my work (tourguide), there is a way bigger chance of staying. Besides, you never know what the future may bring and rules can change along with the jobmarket. Which basically means: all is not lost.

After the information I decided to take the English test. Henk doesn't want to do business with me if my English isn't up to scratch. Which I can totally understand, after all, if I am not able to understand anything my new employer will tell me, or when I don't know what I have to fill out, it just won't work. It was a three part test: first a hearing test with five questions that took 10 minutes. Then a reading test with five questions that also took 10 minutes. And last a general test with 100 multiple choice questions for which they gave you 40 minutes. Questions along the line of: Peter is taller ... Jenny. a. then b. than c. as d. if. I was done in ten minutes and don't expect to have scored lower than 98 (there were two questions I wondered about).

Once Henk has decided my English is good enough, I can do an intake interview, which will be taped and sent to any prospective employers. When one (or more) employers think I might be a good addition to their company, there will be an interview (Skype) and if both parties agree, the paperwork starts. The company will need a LMO (Labour Market Opinion): can they really not find a Canadian for that job? Once they have that, it's my turn for the paperwork: diploma's, references and whatever else. Then I have to go to the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, get my temporary work permit, book a flight for me and my monsters and off I go! In a nutshell...

Exciting times are ahead of me. I am selling my stuff through my blog and e-Bay, trying to meet friends and family on a semi-regular basis and hoping that everything will go according to plan. Exciting times!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Clive

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Award

I received another award the other day, given to me by Ginnie Marie, for which I thank her. Another one of those hearts under my belt I can tell you!

However, seven more things to share with you that you didn't already know? That is quite hard, since I have a feeling you know most everything about me anyway! Plus there's always things that I don't want you to know, like my pin number! But I will give it a go.

1. Even with selling a lot of them off (I hope), I still have four large moving boxes full of dvd's. Which means about 450 films and series seasons! Perhaps I should go through them again, but most of them are Christmas and children's dvd's to start with and I will not get rid of those!

2. Some of the films are just for sentimental reasons though and some are just downright wrong! The worst probably being 'My chauffeur'. Bad acting, bad dress sense, typical early eighties film. Look it up and feel sorry for my taste in films!

3. I tried smoking twice. The first time I was drunk (shock, horror, yes really) and put the burning end in my mouth: not a good move. The second time I was sober, but about to get drunk once the taste really hit my palate! Like licking out an ashtray...

4. And before you ask how I would know: I know, I have done it. Perhaps not lick one out exactly, but I did eat an ashtray load of cigarette butts, before throwing them all up again. I must have been about three and the person looking after me was busy playing cards with the other males in the family.

5. I was in severe financial trouble a few years ago, where I would spend more than I would earn. Which meant a massive debt of course. Then when I realised I wanted to move, I also realised that debt would hold me back severely and I worked my derrière off to get rid of it.

6. Well, of course my derrière is still here and it will probably stay here as well. Especially since I finally cancelled my subscription to the local gym. I attended for two months and paid for nearly three years. Showing that my financial sense still leaves a lot to be desired!

7. My favourite colour is blue. Unless it's carnations and then it's dark red. And cars should be bright pink. And any Dutch team should wear orange. Perhaps I shouldn't talk about my favourite colour any further!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Heart

There is a saying in Dutch: sticking a heart underneath somebody's belt. It means something like helping people out by words, or an arm around your shoulder. Basically just giving somebody a mental boost really.

Well, you have all given me a massive mental boost. All those hearts meant I had to get rid of the belt, since that didn't fit anymore. And right now I have more or less made up my mind. I will try my hardest to make my way to Canada, even if it would mean waitressing in Fort Murray (that horrible-awful place up in the North, according to Kay). I am not quite prepared to leave my cats behind though and I will try to take them with me. (Not taking them would be because of finances and nothing else)

Thank you all for your support. I feel a lot more chipper today!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Well...

There was good news and there was bad news today. The good news is: they do want me! And if I want, I could start within a few short months. The bad news is: I would have to learn Norwegian, since it would be a job in Norway!

There was more good news today: I would be able to become a permanent resident in Canada. As long as I would be a chambermaid or a waitress. The bad news? Not if I were a busdriver!

An explanation is in order here I guess. I want to move to Canada, but because of my lack of education (I only finished High School), I will not be eligible under the points system that Canada uses. The next option would be a sponsorship by one of the Canadian provinces, a so-called PNP, but only if the job I have is a job they have too many of and not enough people for. And only if I would have a guaranteed job offer. Which right now I don't have.

If I were to find a job in Canada, get the guarantee and make it across the water, it would only be temporary. A maximum of four years, after which I would have to leave for six years! At least that's what I was told today. However, if I were a waitress, I could apply for a permanent residency (PR) and once I had that, I could become a busdriver and stay for the rest of my life!

(Personally, I think that a busdriver carries just a tad more responsibility than a waitress. But that's probably only me.)

So, the question now is: would it be worth it moving to Canada for only four years. Or should I go over there, find myself some waitressing job, try for my PR and then switch to being a busdriver again. The second option wouldn't be my favourite at all, but the first one doesn't sound too appealing either. Both options would cost an awful lot of money and it would most certainly mean that my cats would stay behind.

Of course, now you are thinking: where does this Norway thing come in? Well, Norway has always been my second choice. It also boasts more space and quiet than the Netherlands, it also has well-defined seasons and even though they have adopted quite a few 'European' laws, they are not part of the EU. Getting a job there should be easy, the language isn't too hard to learn and biathlon is one of their favourite sports. Cost of living is high, but so are the wages. It's still in Europe and I could drive over there (if I had a car that is). Oh, and I could take my cats.

At this moment my head is still spinning a bit from the news I heard this morning. Next week I will phone the agent I have spoken to before and try and get a meeting with him. Perhaps he can shed some more positive light on the whole thing. Otherwise I might have to find good homes for my cats and just become a waitress again! Or not...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Emigration Fair

I am at my parents' again. Because tomorrow we are going to the emigration fair. If you've been reading this blog for a while you will know I have been to one (well three actually) before, but this year I want to hit nails with heads as we say in the Netherlands. Get the information I need and want, but also show my parents what the information is I get and need. Perhaps even talk to some people who are trying to convince unsuspecting Dutch folk to move to Farawayistan, be it Canada or Japan, Belgium or South Africa.

Of course I do know what information I need. What will it cost to take three cats with me? Where do I find a job? How do I find a place to live? What to do about my pension? A lot of wheres and hows and whats, but they all need answering and/or dealing with. People will keep finding bears in the road for me. Like my holiday money, part of which I will have to pay back. Like my funeral insurance, what to do about it. Like my cats, why part with all that money just to take some furry critters with me (obviously that last question comes from people who do not understand what a cat can mean). Like... enter your own question here.

Enniewee (as my friend Pepperfly always says, writing anyway the way we would write it: phonetically), tomorrow it's the emigration fair. I will report back tomorrow or Monday on what I learn!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Down in the mud

Since I didn't have my camera with me, I couldn't take any photos. This is a little bus I saw in Florence a few years ago.
I had to do a trip the other day with a bunch of teachers who went to a protest ralley. I was not the only one. There were about 100 coaches there and most of them were parked on a road that circled a large area with some grass and trees. Well, that's what it looked like anyway! In reality it was grass that covered mud and quite deep at that.

I let my people off the coach and they were able to walk across the path, however the coach driver behind me was a bit blonde on the inside and let them out straight into the mud. They walked it off in the end, but still. But when the people all came back, some weren't too happy about talking the long circular road between all those buses with their engines running. Some decided to cross the mud! Which was asking for trouble and a whole bunch of people (did I mention it was a circular road?) looking on in case something went wrong.

Which of course was exactly what happened. Within seconds everybody had stopped moving towards their coaches and was looking at this woman (from the coach behind me) who had sunk up to her knees into the mud, had lost a shoe and had then fallen over. You could hear the laughter all the way along. It was brilliant to watch! She made it back to her coach, nice and dirty (although I doubt the driver agreed with that) and in the end everybody was on board of the coaches again.

The first coaches started moving off and then I spotted a coach that was stood there, but not really the way it was supposed to. It was tilting towards me (albeit on the other side of the circular road)! And of course everybody saw that as well (well, I had to take the microphone and tell my passengers didn't I?). The driver had decided he didn't want to wait for all the coaches to leave before him and reversed. Unfortunately he reversed into the mud and with the added weight of a wheelchair ramp engine in the back of his coach, he had sunk. The thing was though, he was still sinking and the doors couldn't open anymore!! However, due to the wheelchair ramp he also had an extra door, even if it was about two meters high up (but lowering by the minute). While we were driving off, the passengers of that coach were being helped down into the mud!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The youth of today

I do understand when children don't believe me when I say I saw a catsized yellow elephant with a blue trunk. Honestly I do. And I know the idea of a tunnel beneath the sea might be stretching the imagination a bit. But when you see a car with a google camera on top and every child just takes that as fact ànd knows what it is...
That's when I start wondering about the children of today!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

I don't get it!

Good food, good company, good jokes all make for a good night. So, last night was a great night, since the chef was ill according to the guy who served us and we had to cook our own food, the company consisted of my colleagues and their partners and the jokes I didn't get!

Seriously though. We went to do something that in the Netherlands is called 'gourmetting' (see top photo). We were all given a little frying pan and could choose between several different types of meat to fry. There were fries (we have to have fries, it's very important to have fries) and sauces and drink flowed freely. I got all jokes apart from one and I can't even tell you, since it won't make sense to you.

After dinner we went bowling and my first hit was atrocious. I picked up though and finally ended with a 105 score. I was so happy: I was the best woman. Until the wife of one of my colleagues ended up with 124 being the best of all, including the men! It was great fun though.

We always end our outings fairly early. No point in hanging around, getting absolutely drunk and annoying everybody else. We stop at the high point. Pleasantly sozzled and well fed.

And the winner is...

According to the random number generator and having it randomly generate between 1 and 9, number 6 came up. Which relates to Anvilcloud!

I will be sending The Weighty Kitchen to you asap. Congratulations!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The promise

Right after Christmas I promised you the recipe to the mustard soup my sister made for Christmas. And then I completely forgot about it. When I remembered again, I had lost the recipe, but today, finally, I will give you the recipe!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of butter
3 leeks, cut in rings (yes, even the green)
3-4 table spoons of course mustard
3 potatoes, cut in cubes
7,5 dl (just over 3 cups) of vegetable or chicken stock
2 dl (just under 1 cup) of cream
fresh ground black pepper
salt
*2 table spoons of spring onion
*2 table spoons of bits of fried strips of bacon

Preparation:
1. Heat the butter in a pan with a thick bottom and slowly fry the leeks for about 6 minutes.
2. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of mustard and the potato-cubes and fry for another 4 minutes.
3. Pour in the stock, bring it to the boil and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
4. Puree the soup in the blender, bring it to the boil anew and add the cream.
5. Use the pepper and salt to taste.
6. Right before serving add the remainder of the mustard, making sure you stir well, otherwise there will just be a big lump of mustard in your soup.
7. Serve with the spring onion and the strips of bacon on the side (so you can add to taste).

It's a very easy recipe, it is extremely tasty and it is suitable for vegetarians. I tend to add a lot more mustard than it states in the recipe (about double the amount) and it still tastes fantastic.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

I didn't did I?

I used to have a lot of headaches. At first they started after I had had chocolate or coffee, but after a while the headaches were due to the withdrawel symptoms from the over the counter medication. When I started having stomach trouble, the doctor told me something I already knew: I was overdosing myself with aspirins, which caused stomach pains and more headaches than they supposedly cured.

I quit the aspirins. I quit the coffee and had less chocolate (quitting chocolate? no way) and after a few gruelling episodes where I was crying myself to sleep due to the excruciating headache, I got rid of most of them. Of course, drinking coffee (as I do on occasion) or eating too much chocolate or having one too many glasses of alcohol can still cause a headache. However, I don't take up to ten aspirins to 'cure' them anymore.

This morning I woke up with a headache. It's been a long time since that happened and I wasn't too happy about it. After all it's my day off and I don't want to be spending it with a headache. Besides I couldn't really figure out where it had come from. I haven't had coffee or chocolate, I didn't have a drink last night and I am not supposed to get my period yet, which by the way is a different type of headache.

Of course when I started writing this post on Wednesday, I realised I did have coffee. Last Sunday! And I did have a drink as well. Last Sunday! And I won't even start on the teaspoon of chocolate I had yesterday!

It's a good thing aspirins work again. More or less...

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

New blog

So, you all wanted to read my new blog. The blog that should help me get my cats to Canada. The blog that has so far helped me sell four items out of the very many that I have for sale, which translates into Wuppie's whiskers and the tip of his nose The blog that is completely in Dutch.

Well, here it is: for sale due to emigration