A Few of My Favorite Words

My posts often have a Dutch word (maybe two) related the topic of the blog entry. However, I thought I would share some of my favorite Dutch words and expressions.

Knuffel – This word means hug. I love the way this word sounds as well as the meaning. (Yes, you pronounce the k too.) Who doesn’t love hugs or knuffels?

Knoflook – Knoflook is one of the first Dutch words I learned. If you know Mike and me well it should not surprise you that this word means garlic. Knoflook isn’t just lekker or tasty, it is also fun to say.

Vogel or Vogeltje – Vogel is a bird and vogeltje is a baby bird. I love the way the Dutch pronounce v’s – part f part v. Follow the Dutch v with the Dutch g (which is very visceral since it sounds like you are getting ready to spit) and you have a word that is fascinating to hear.

Gefeliciteerd met je/uw verjaardag – If we translate this loosely you are wishing someone a “Happy Birthday” but the literal translation is “congratulations on your birthday.” You say this to the birthday person and say “gefeliciteerd” or “congratulations” to their friends and family. Why congratulations? I am not sure but it does feel good to be congratulated every so often. So why not your birthday?

Het was gezellig – This phrase, and gezellig in particular, doesn’t have a precise translation into English. It is used to describe spending time in great company and/or doing something enjoyable. Google translates gezellig as cozy. Bab.la Woordenboek translates it as cozy, close, intimate, homy, and sociable. Wikipedia says it is cosy or quaint. All of these definitions talk around the meaning but never hit it straight on. The best way to describe it is this: Imagine you just had an amazing experience that you are describing to a friend. You can’t quite express all the positive feelings you have about the experience so you finish your story with a lame “well you just had to be there.” You-just-had-to-be-there is “het was gezellig.”

Garden Progress

So I have been very remiss in working on my garden for a variety of reasons. However, now I am starting to work on it so the past doesn’t matter. Except that it does matter because that means I have more weeds to remove. This week I picked up weedkiller, a couple garden tools, and some potting soil. Tucked away in the shed I found a large watering can, some empty planters, a hoe, and a rake.

Gardening tools and 20 L of potting soil.
Gardening tools and 20 L of potting soil.

If you want a reminder of the garden before here it is:
The garden (tuin in Dutch) in its current state.

Below are my current improvements to some eyesores before I get into the weeds.

Table:
Unfortunately, the table isn’t mine (part of the house we are renting) so I can’t refinish it. My solution: buy a bright table cloth to put over top.


Seating:

The garden was lacking seating so I grabbed two plastic chairs from inside. A friend very kindly dropped off a lounge chair she is no longer using. Boom! Now Mike and I can eat or read in the garden.

Pots
I tossed broken pots and dead plants. The empty pots are now home to my herbs (so far I only have mint and coriander since I use those the most).

Re-potted herbs: mint and coriander
Re-potted herbs: mint and coriander

Next step is weeding and cleaning up the tiles.

Schilderij 2

After my last art workshop, I found that I do enjoy painting so I signed up for a second workshop. Both workshops covered landscape painting but the second was en plein air. The workshop was held at a lovely farm in Eemnes. I really enjoyed working on location instead of just from a picture. You get to choose what you want to paint instead of what was photographed. You can see, hear, touch, and smell your subject. I decided to challenge myself with a difficult perspective.

Here is the area I painted.
Here is the area I painted.
Here is my sketch of the view I wanted to paint.
Here is my sketch of the view I wanted to paint.
Here is my finished painting. As you can see my perspective is a little off but I am fairly satisfied with the result.
Here is my finished painting. As you can see my perspective is a little off but I am fairly satisfied with the result.

The class and teacher, Ton de Kruijk, were really great. I had so much fun. Maybe soon I will try painting on my own.

Adventures in Babysitting

So this week I have been babysitting* an awesome little girl (she is about a year old) while her mother learns Dutch. This week has been so much fun! At the beginning of the week, I found I was speaking to the girl in half-Dutch half-English. Now I talk to her almost completely in Dutch; sometimes she responds ja or nee. Like me, she enjoys books so I have read to her in Dutch. I have even tried to sing to her in Dutch, although I forgot half the words to the song- oops. (I did remember a carol in German – that is close to Dutch, right? – so I sang that too.)

Several days this week we have gone out to the heath. The girl really enjoys looking at trees and flowers while she is in her stroller. For those of you unfamiliar with Dutch strollers, the stroller wheels are pretty thick and well-treaded so they go fairly easily over sand, grass, rocks etc. The Dutch enjoy being out in nature so they make sure they can bring their kids with them.

View of the heath.
View of the heath.

In one area of the heath, there is a kinderboerderij (similar to the stadsboerderij). Sadly, she wasn’t very happy to see the animals.

One of the hertjes (or baby deer) at the kinderboerderij.
One of the hertjes (or baby deer) at the kinderboerderij.

I am sad that tomorrow is my last day watching her.

*Actually co-babysitting with another woman. Having another person is helpful.

Schilderij

For a while now I have wanted to try my hand at painting. I have sketched with charcoal and oil pastels but never done any painting. So when I saw a chance to take a landscape painting workshop in Bussum (and get a chance to practice my Dutch), I signed up immediately.

We began sketching out details, in charcoal, on our canvases. Then we painted over the sketch and began adding color until our paintings were complete. I really enjoyed mixing the paints and layering the paint on the canvas. It was fun to learn a new skill in a new language.

My painting of de heide. In the upper left corner is the photo I used as a guide for my painting.
My painting of de heide. In the upper left corner is the photo I used as a guide for my painting.