Een andere dimensie van de Zwarte Piet discussie: ben ik Nederlands of eigenlijk toch nog buitenlands?

Roetvegen, zonder allerlei karikatuur eigenschappen! Is toch prima voor Zwarte Piet en past beter bij het verhaal van de schoorsteen. Als men het argument dat de Piet anoniem moet zijn gebruikt, kies dan voor allerlei andere kleuren. Welk kind is geen fan van kleurtjes? Hoe meer hoe leuker juist! Niemand wilt de kinderheld voor velen compleet laten verdwijnen en in zijn geheel afschaffen. Niemand wilt hem in de zak stoppen en terug naar Spanje verbannen. Kunnen we niet kalmeren? Ergens denk ik: “Oh nee daar begint het weer en alle commotie komt nog eens, beter ren ik weg en annuleer ik mijn internetverbinding tot het januari is en we dit niet gaan bespreken maar aan de andere kant is dit de perfecte mogelijkheid om eens te zien wie van ons naar een ander bereid is te luisteren en een lang dialoog wilt aangaan in plaats van de gekste dingen te schreeuwen naar elkaar. Het gaat om een simpele wijziging, elkaar halverwege tegemoet komen en niet zo hysterisch doen met z’n allen. Ook zegt niemand dat omdat jij als kind Zwarte Piet leuk vond dat jij automatisch racistisch bent, jouw jeugdsentiment is jouw jeugdsentiment. Koester het maar geef nu anderen die juist door deze vorm van Zwarte Piet niet vrolijk worden ook de kans mee te kunnen genieten met het feest zonder zich apart te voelen daarbij.
Je meest racistische opmerking uit de kast halen om te bewijzen dat Zwarte Piet niet racistisch is, is misschien ook niet de slimste zet. Maar dat terzijde.
Verder vind ik dat deze discussie ook een ander discussie weer opstart. Zijn wij ook Nederlanders en mogen wij een mening hebben dat gerespecteerd wordt en wat mee kan worden gedaan of zijn we buitenlands tenzij we natuurlijk een doelpunt voor het Nederlands elftal scoren of wereldkampioen honkbal worden?
Door al die reacties die ik terug lees op sociale media besef ik nogmaals waarom ik mij zo thuis voelde in mijn vaderland in de zomer van 2013, terwijl ik eigenlijk langer in Nederland heb gewoond inmiddels dan daar. Je geeft kritiek op iets in Nederland en meteen kan je reacties verwachten als: “DAN GA JE TOCH LEKKER TERUG NAAR JE EIGEN LAND.”
Dit zinnetje raakt mij op veel verschillende manieren, tot aan tranen toe als je het steeds blijft lezen. Ik voelde mij thuis in mijn “eigen” land omdat niemand dat ene zinnetje ooit naar mij uit zou kunnen spreken en tegen mij zou kunnen gebruiken daar waar een tegenpartij geen geldig argument eigenlijk kan bedenken. Want laten we eerlijk zijn, kom gewoon met goed onderbouwde argumenten in plaats van je “ga terug naar waar je vandaan komt” – argumentatie. Ik voelde mij daar, ondanks de enorme beperkingen in al mijn vrijheden, toch vrij genoeg om kritiek te uiten op wat ik maar wilde. Van stoeptegel tot aan politiek. In Nederland ben ik daar nog erg voorzichtig mee en hou ik mezelf ook vaak tegen. Maar is dit echt waar Nederland voor staat? Niet toch? Ik vind in ieder geval van niet maar dat gevoel krijg ik wel en het wordt sterker door zulke uitspraken constant te lezen. Er is een reden waarom velen van ons niet in hun “eigen” land zijn/kunnen zijn moeten we dan voortaan ons mond maar houden over dingen die ons dwarszitten in de maatschappij? Ik hoop het niet! 
Ik ben door deze  Zwarte Piet discussie veel wijzer geworden, het heeft mij de kans gegeven om dingen te bespreken met mijn “Nederlandse” vrienden die ik normaal gesproken niet durfde of alleen met vrienden met buitenlands achtergrond besprak.
Nederland zwaait altijd heel trots als een klein kind met haar ‘tolerantie certificaat’ die ze zelf aan zichzelf heeft uitgereikt maar tegenwoordig mag er ook kritisch naar worden gekeken.
Je leeft toch met elkaar uiteindelijk, waarom zo moeilijk doen en krampachtig vasthouden aan iets dat makkelijk gewijzigd kan worden? Waarom niet ervoor zorgen dat iedereen kan genieten van deze feestdag en we gezamenlijk met z’n allen dit kunnen vieren?
Nee, ik ga niet terug naar mijn eigen land. Juist omdat ik Nederland waardeer wil ik dat het beter wordt hier voor alle Nederlanders en juist daarom mag ik een mening hebben en mag ik kritisch zijn.

From walking on an island near Toronto to suddenly seeing @Nas perform…

                        Story time!

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Today my parents and I went to Centre Island, an island close to Toronto.
If you google it the information you will get about this place is “a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city”, a pretty calm area. We went there and walked around when I clearly heard loud music coming from one point of the island. Heard some songs that I like so I decided to go follow the sound, left my parents to do their thing and Negisa was on a mission.
I walked and walked and walked. The sound started to feel as it was coming from very nearby, when I thought I was almost there I reached the end of the island and there was nothing! Just water… I couldn’t go further but I did hear the music so clearly, it didn’t make any sense!
A bit frustrated I decided to walk back and search for an alternative route but I wasn’t very successful. I was pretty OK with enjoying the ‘mystery island event’ this way, from a distance.
Found a good place to sit, admitted my defeat when all of a sudden I heard a familiar beat and this time the song was performed live instead of a record being played. I listened carefully and holy macaroni… It was NAS! Nas was performing somewhere near me! Unbelievable. What are the odds.
I quickly jumped off of the bench, Speedy Gonzalez was slow compared to how quick I started walking. I had to get to where Nas’ voice was coming from. I walked in a different direction, but again a dead end was waiting for me while I heard Nas performing from somewhere.
I choose another direction and started walking. Bumped into my parents who were ready to leave the island while I clearly wasn’t. Me leaving a place where Nas is clearly performing? Hells no!
They accepted to wait until I had completed this mission of mine. I felt as if I was in a marathon, the Nas marathon. At the finish Mr. Illmatic would be waiting for me. I saw a guy and he gave me instructions but also said that the event is for students from a certain university and I won’t get permission to enter. For a moment I stopped walking and thought maybe I should just return because I have no idea where to walk and not getting in would be such a disappointment. This thought lasted exactly one second cause my mind and heart were back in marathon mode and I started walking. After three other dead ends I finally was on a road that seemed to be leading to the right direction when all of a sudden I heard Nas say: ‘Thank you Toronto! I will be back soon!’
Say what now?! Nooooo. He better not stop now that I am almost there. I walked faster and faster. In my head I was wishing this wasn’t the last song and also thinking of ways to talk myself into the event if they refused to let me in. Luckily he continued performing, I was getting closer and got a view of the crowd. Finally not another dead end! I focussed on the area but didn’t see a fence or people controlling if someone is from the university there. Perfect. I finally saw Nas’ face from a distance. I heard his dj mix something and I knew exactly which song was about to start which automatically made me speed up my walking. No way I was going to miss this song! As I finally entered the area and got closer to the stage he started performing ‘Made you look’, one of my favorites. Mission accomplished. I most definitely didn’t let Nas down!

Asking for directions in Sofia (Bulgaria)

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When abroad I love traveling around with public transport. Sometimes it is difficult if you can’t understand what is written, like in Bulgaria for example where I am currently. Asking for directions at a metro station was a bit diffucult, the woman working there didn’t speak any English and the only thing written in English on the map were the metro stops not the surrounding streets. When I noticed the lady and I couldn’t get far I decided to assemble some basic Bulgarian  and tried to explain myself in that language. The woman working there responded by hand gesturing that I had to wait and grabbed a phone.
All of a sudden two big security guys show up…. Well damn, what did I say?! Did I just assemble the most threatening sentences in Bulgarian and said them to the woman? Why drag security into this!
Oh… never mind the guys came to give me directions. Such a relief. What a bunch of nice officers they are.
As they walked with me towards the map to show me where the street I wanted to go was, one of the policemen said in Bulgarian: ‘How come you don’t speak Bulgarian? Whenever I go abroad I always speak abroadian.’ Ha ha funny guy. He asked me where I am from and I said Holland. Both he and his colleague went crazy: ‘Oh my god Holland kicked Spain’s behind the other night. It was amazing!’ They asked me if I knew van Persie.
I said: ‘Yes, he is my cousin!’
They got extremely happy: ‘He’s your cousin…really?!?’
Me: ‘Nope.’
Luckily they could cope with my dry sense of humor. The three of us did some cavemen hooligan bonding over Holland’s great game. After that they explained the route I had to take…in Bulgarian… just perfect. I wrote down a few stops I could recognize. After I arrived at the next station I asked a security guy if he speaks English. He confidently said yes and then gave me new directions completely in Bulgarian.
At the end I managed to get to where I had to be and if things continue to go like this I will be speaking Bulgarian in no time. :)

Been there, saw that: Sam Smith live @ People’s Place Amsterdam

 

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Yesterday I finally got the chance to see the young and talented Mr. Sam Smith perform live at the People’s Place in Amsterdam. This of course was a great way to spend my Wednesday evening! The second Sam Smith started singing I thought: “Pshht that’s exactly what I sound like when I sing in the shower every morning”. Ok… that wasn’t really my thought and I so desperately wish I had even 1% of Sam Smith’s singing ability! I mean seriously, what did he drink when growing up and where can I get it?!
The first song he started with was the beautiful ‘Nirvana’, which I had on repeat for a long time. When I closed my eyes it felt just like I was listening to the record at home. He was able to nail all the difficult notes perfectly during each song. Without even blinking, as if it was the easiest thing in the world. This 22-year-old singer has definitely been blessed with a wonderful voice and I am glad he has the chance to share it with the world. He performed some songs we already were familiar with but also some new ones like ‘Leave your lover’, which will be featured on his debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’. This European Spring tour of his has been very successful thus far and every performance has been sold out. Take a look at samsmithworld.com to see if he will be performing near you in the future and make sure you get your tickets quickly. He’s worth it, trust me. Here are some videos to give you an impression of last night’s performance (footage is a bit shaky because it was too crowded and there was always somebody pushing me by accident):
1. Nirvana

2. Leave Your Lover

3. Money On My Mind

4. Lay Me Down

5. Stay With Me

*The picture used at the beginning of this post was taken from Sam Smith’s Facebook page.

Video: Would You Help A Freezing Child?

This video will restore your faith in humanity and warm your heart in this cold winter day. It will also make you aware of what children in less wealthy counties and countries in a conflict like Syria go through daily without our help. “Would you help a freezing child?” is an interesting Norwegian social experiment and a campaign to donate jackets for Syrian children. Watch it here:

Audio: Ed Sheeran – I See Fire (Kygo remix)


A highly addictive remix of Ed Sheeran’s single ‘I See Fire’ has just been released. The one responsible for this lovely remix is Kygo. I can’t listen to anything else except this song at the moment. The only thing that would make this a better experience is if I was listening to this while relaxing on a tropical island. But we can’t have it all… now can we? Take a listen and enjoy:

Been there, saw that: Mayer Hawthorne @ Melkweg, Amsterdam

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Mayer Hawthorne’s music has been bringing a smile on my face for several years now but somehow I never got the chance to see him perform. This finally changed on the 16th of October when I went to his show at the Melkweg in Amsterdam.
I asked a friend of mine to join me to his performance and she actually didn’t know who he was. She accepted to go even if she had never heard any of his songs and at the end of the night she was completely in love with his music. This is a perfect example of how good his performance was, someone who had no knowledge of the songs actually enjoyed the whole performance.
The venue was packed and I was surprised by how divers the audience was. Mayer’s music is for all ages and as I looked around I only saw people smiling. There was such a positive atmosphere throughout the evening. Together with his band he was able to give an amazing performance, I loved the way they interacted with each other and with the crowd. It seemed as if they were having a good time on stage which also reflected on the audience. They were of course musically talented but also funny and entertaining.  I doubt if anybody went home not feeling happy. It seems impossible to me after a performance like that.
Unfortunately I couldn’t film but I did take some pictures, you can view them at the end of the post.
Mayer Hawthorne will be in Europe until the 26th of November, go to http://www.mayerhawthorne.com/tour/ to see if he will be performing in your area this month.