Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Windmills and Dirty Busses

When I was looking into places to spend this year I liked the idea of Europe. Europe seems so classic. It seems like the kind of place that classy people live in for a while. And after a year in Central Asia don’t I deserve a little class?
I did actually have a choice. On the same day I got offered the job here in The Netherlands I got offered a job in Belize. Belize, is a country in Central America that was set up by pirates. The Netherlands- has ships too.
I feel I’m not expressing the fact that I really do like it here. It’s nice and calm, neat and tidy, small and charming. I’m relaxed and after Peace Corps and Camp Shane I deserve not to feel stressed to my very core. I like taking long bike rides along the dykes. I watch the kite surfers, it is pretty expensive to do so I opt for watching rather that doing it(I admit I hope someday to save enough money to try it). I also like trying to learn Dutch, even though I rarely get the chance to use it. Everyone says they speak only a little English, yet they speak English as well I as I do.
I think there is something fundamentally wrong with me. I think I need to live in a place with an unstable government. I’m not talking Iraq level, but Myanmar is looking pretty fun right now. The Netherlands is the picture of stable. The hedges are all trimmed, the grass is all mowed, the windmills are a spinnin’.
Biking across the flat land that has been reclaimed from the sea, I imagine the dykes breaking and watching a big wave of water coming across the way.
Sick right?
I really do love it here.
It just feels too safe.
The Netherlands is like one giant suburb, and I swore I would never live in the suburbs. I check the papers regularly but there is no sign of global warming making the sea come over the dykes, just yet. Revolution… unlikely. Not, even a Madeleine McCann sighting in this country. Safe, peaceful, Dutch.
While sitting in my VW Station wagon waiting for the ship to pass and for them to lower the bridge I fantasize.
I think about being in a hot, overcrowded, dirty bus in some far off place with a unstable government, children with dirty hands begging for money that I must ignore, and old women who stare at me because without knowing it I have broken some cultural norm. Then the bridge comes down and I realize if right now I was sweating on that overcrowded bus with my shoulders curled into me, I would be fantasying about driving past beautiful old windmills and canals in my own spacious car.
Because when faced with danger I like to think of something that is unrealistically charming. When faced with charm I dream of struggle.
In a book I read recently they said everyone has a word that defines them. I think it is a nice idea to think mine would be sassy, compassionate, helpful, hopeful, humorous… you know something like that. For the first time in my life I feel content, yet somewhere in the recesses of my soul I’m not. So, my word my forever be… restless. If you have ever lived with me you know that is literal and figurative.

3 comments :

  1. Anonymous said...

    I have lived with you and I would say your lack of staying in one place for very long does make you restless I suppose, but I'm glad you are happy!!!! It sounds so beautiful there!
    ~Sara

  2. Anonymous said...

    I have lived with you and I would say your lack of staying in one place for very long does make you restless I suppose, but I'm glad you are happy!!!! It sounds so beautiful there!
    ~Sara

  3. Emily said...

    That book you gave me was awesome, btw. I don't remember if I told you or not but I really liked it and gave it to my roommate back in Italy to read. I just re-read the part of having a word for oneself like there's a word for every city. I also re-read the part where the author quotes a guy about Italians and tries to reason why they'll put up with dictators and ineffective governments and such but won't put up with bad food, art, or whatever. So I looked at the guy's name and found out that the same book is in our library at school, along with another book by him about Italians. Very interesting reads, so basically this means thanks for the Eat Pray Love book bc I not only got to read that but two other cool books:)