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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

First line of Defense

I promise that when I move to Alaska I'll make sure to look out my window and check if there is a Russian standing outside. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

You probably won't think these are funny...

A friend of mine from Kyrgyzstan created his first Facebook group. He is very proud of it. His name is K-Train. It's not his actually birth name, although that would be awesome if it was....note to self maybe instead of naming my child Thrash I'll name him K-Train.... second note to self-Don't actually have any children or any one the way....not three must stop making plans for mythical babies that don't exist.
The K-Train nickname came around for lack of a good nickname. There were two Kyles in K-14 group. One had been dubbed Frat Kyle... by some girls Sexist Kyle(and occassionally by some minority people racist Kyle). Personally I thought his sexist ways were funny and had to bite my lip when other girls got their panties in a bunch.
My favorite Frat Kyle moment was when he had to compare women in Kyrgyzstan to American women. He got up in front of everyone and said,
"kyrgyz women wash clothes by hand. American women show Lupe how the washer works."
I'm still laughing over that one.

oh, but back to K-Train. The nickname Frat Kyle was already taken, so, it some how became that the other Kyle(now known as K-Train) became Silent Kyle. To be fair he does talk and is quite funny. Just took a while for people to realize it. The first day I met him I so thoughtfully said, Do just not talk or is that you just don't talk to me?" he said he just doesn't talk. Fine by me as long as it not a carol related issue. anywho, Another dude in the Peace Corps and I were talking about how we needed a better nickname for Silent Kyle and Zach(the other dude I refered to earlier) just threw out the name K-Train. I loved it... and can't remember a time since I have called him anything else.
I seem to have gone a bit off topic explaining how K-Train a guy you have never met(unless you are a K-14, Caitlin, or in fact K-Train himself) got a nickname that not many call him.... His Frat Nickname(yes, in reality they were both Frat Kyles) is Nugget...I'm sticking with K-Train unless I ever see him again and I have a couple too many long islands... then I will probably call him Nugget.
What was my point? Oh, yeah so on his group that he started one of the other RPCVs posted some comics about Kyrgyz politics...
If you ever wanted a bit of a view into the place I lived(but never got around to calling home) for a while then check these Comics out:

Find that funny?

Fakin' it

I only start to realize that I know a language when I can pretend that I don’t know the language. The perfect omission of whatever I don’t want to understand. The 10 different ways I can say I don’t understand, or this language is too difficult, or my favorite saying in the language that you don’t speak the language. This afternoon I realized that I can speak Dutch.
I had gone to the beach to enjoy the warm sun and the soft breeze. A combo that rarely happens in a land that is famous for windmills. Strong winds with little to know sunshine is the usual weather. So, it’s no surprise that when a nice day comes around you’ll find every open space crammed with Dutch people trying to take in some UV Rays. I was lucky enough to find a bench in an uncrowned area of the beach. The only place I could have found less crowded would have been to actually go in the water. I went in the water one time my whole time in the Netherlands… never again… The water needs sun to warm up from the winter cold.
I was enjoying my newest Bill Bryson book and occasionally looking up from book to see how the sailing contest across the harbor was going. I looked up and saw a normal enough looking middle aged man standing near by with his bike looking on at the sailing contest. He saw me look up and then said something in Dutch. I didn’t hear him and I wanted to get back to my book so I simply said, “Ik spreek geen Nederlands.”
I don’t speak Dutch… in flawless Dutch.
He asked if I was German. I always get accused of being German. It’s a combo of factors:first me being a big gal and the second I have a bit of an odd accent on my Dutch.
I informed him that I was not German. Ik kom uit Amerika.
I come out America.
“Oh, well you need to practice your Dutch then because Dutch people are so nice. They are always friendly.”
I understood everything he said but wanted to appear I didn’t and still some how not come off as rude.
“So, you should practice speaking Dutch right now.”
I couldn’t bring myself to just start speaking in English which would have brought the conversation to an end. At the same time I didn’t want to admit I know Dutch.
We chatted a bit about the weather and what not. I kept looking back at my book even though I had completely lost my space to imply that I was way more into this book than I was this conversation. He asked if he could also sit on the bench. It was a big bench and I don’t own it so I moved my stuff over and gestured for him to sit at the other end.
“Mooi Tasje”
Nice bag.
Yep, yep, yep. I pulled it in closer to my side and he sat just on the other side of my bag. Actually he was more or less on my bag, crushing my stashed bag of chips I had just bought. This is when I realized he was crazy. Right as his arm slung around my shoulder.
I think crazy people should look crazy. Crazy people that look normal really upset me. Crazy people need to have bad hair, dirty clothes, a weird smell, crazy eyes… I just realized I described myself on a daily bases but it is better to look crazy and just be a little weird than to look normal and be crazy.
I kept trying to look really into my book. Really focused, yet totally looking at what he is doing out the corner of my eye. He clearly couldn’t think of anything to talk about but he wanted to talk to me so he complimented how lovely my hands and feet are.
Out of anything about me to compliment let’s face it my feet and hands are the last things to bring up. As you either know from reading this blog or from being a close personal acquaintance… or even just someone who saw me on the street once-I have pretty big hands and feet.
Then he kept telling me that he lived in the Netherlands.
No freakin’ Duh!
“Oh,yeah? Where?”
I had realized I had the perfect out.
He pointed in the direction behind us. Then said how I could come and visit him. My selective hearing made sure that I didn’t understand that offer. He said it again and I apologized for not understanding what he was saying. I then pointed in the direction in front of us and described where my vriend lived.
Vriend is the Dutch word for a friend that is a guy and a boyfriend. Mijn vriend implies it’s my boyfriend. He instantly stood up with my mutterings of where my friend lives. I was describing an actual friend and where he actually lives. I just didn’t feel like clearing up that he wasn't my Vriendje(affection form of friend that pretty much only describes a boy/girlfriend) When he stood up I instantly said goodbye and returned to my book. Crazy disguised as normal thought he would give it one last go. He grabbed me by the shoulders and was telling me how nice I am and wasn’t it cozy when we were sitting on the bench next to each other. I realized if he was even given half a second he was going to try and kiss me. I became hypnotized by the black letters on the white pages… I avoided looking up at all costs.
He said that it was such a shame that I had a friend, because if I didn’t I could stop looking cuz he was right there.
Yeah, well I have a friend.
Concentrate on the book
He started to walk away and I figure I was in the clear so I made the mistake of looking up. He must have taken that as an invitation because he came back and put his hands on both my shoulders then tried even harder to move in for a kiss. I kept looking at my book and head butted him. Hard
Another clue that he was crazy was despite just getting head butted by a girl he kept trying to chat me up. I was trying to ignore the headache I had coming and not look up. He then felt the need to tell me how nice he is and that he isn’t weird, and I didn’t hear anything after he said he wasn’t weird because in not trying to laugh I had a sudden coughing attack. He moved away for a minute and let me hack up everything I could and then came back one last time and put his hands on my shoulder. He decided to throw away all subtlety.
“Kussen geven”
Kiss Give
“Nee hoor”
No, however I like saying this because it sounds like Nay Whore.
“Ja hoor”
OH, you’re going to call me a whore?
I informed him I couldn’t cuz you never know when my friend would be coming. Soon hopefully.
This finally got him back to his bike he said it was such a pity that he might not see me again. But if our paths cross again and I am single maybe then we could get together.
I blanked stared as if I had no idea what he said and yelled, “DAG DAG!!”
“BYE BYE!!!”
If you are crazy don’t worry…. We’ll meet eventually.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

just God huggin' us closer...

It is nice to see SNL still has it. This is hillarous. If you haven't seen it go ahead and check it out.

My middle name is Space Lynn...

... but it should be awkward.
When I even remotely find a guy interesting or attractive or anything slightly unplutonic I consistanly say weird things. I also sweat alot... I sweat alot regardless but it is uped a bit around a funny/cute guy.
Sometimes my awkwardness gets lost on the Dutch. Don't get me wrong they think I'm plenty weird. But sometimes the little weird things that an American dude would catch gets lost on Dutch guys. However, a little while ago I did say something very awkward and was so obvisously awkward that the dude couldn't have missed it.
I was at a Dutch birthday party. Because it was a Dutch birthday party we were all sitting around in a circle- around a table. My foot accidently brushed against a guy I fancy's foot. Instead of just pulling my foot back a little bit and continuing on with my conversation, I choice to jerk my foot back. After jerking my foot back I yelled at the guy, "I'm not flirting with you or anything! I just have REALLY BIG FEET!"
He has never shown any interest in me.... can't figure that one out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My plans are changing like everyday. I never know where I am going to be when til after it has already happened. So, if you don't know what I'm up to these days in in the future don't feel bad... neither do I.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

She tells it better than I do

For ages I have been trying to tell this one Ellen Degeneres joke but never could tell it so that it was funny. Some people would give me a little chuckle but no genuine laugh... Realize I ahve been trying to tell this joke since I was a pre-teen. So I finally found it on youtube. it's the joke that starts with her at the grocery stor. Please, watch and enjoy. She is great!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Killing girls' self-esteem one soccer field at a time.

My friend annie invited me to come and cheer on her Soccer team last night. I know most of the girls on the team since this is a very small village and there are only so many women in their twenties here.
I was really trying to encourage the team and cheer for them in Dutch.
I didn't think they were attacking enough so I started yelling, "Attack, Attack!" or so I thought.
I was yelling AFVALLEN!
For those of you who speak Dutch you already know what I was yelling at the girls. Don't ruin th suprise for those who don't speak Dutch.
The real word for attack in Dutch is, "AANVALLEN!"
So similar to "afvallen" but so different.
I kept yelling, "AFVALLEN!"
IT drew quite alot of looks.
"What is that not right?" I said with my arms out and a bit of attitude that indicated I knew what I was talking about.
"Are you saying afvallen?"a friend asked quizically.
Afvallen is lose weight. AANvallen is attack.
"I was just yelling at those girls to lose weight?"
"Well I knew afvallen was a real word.
They all started to laugh at me.
Fair enough. Me of all people shouldn't be yelling at a field of girls to lose weight.
I was just trying to help.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

To steal from the great Adam McKay

We're going to Lose this thing
"Stop saying that!" my wife says to me. But this is not a high school football game and I'm not a cheerleader with a bad attitude. This is an election and as things stand now, we're gonna frickin' lose this thing. Obama and McCain at best are even in the polls nationally and in a recent Gallup poll McCain is ahead by four points.

Something is not right. We have a terrific candidate and a terrific VP candidate. We're coming off the worst eight years in our country's history. Six of those eight years the Congress, White House and even the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republicans and the last two years the R's have filibustered like tantrum throwing 4-year-olds, yet we're going to elect a Republican who voted with that leadership 90% of the time and a former sportscaster who wants to teach Adam and Eve as science? That's not odd as a difference of opinion, that's logically and mathematically queer.

It reminds me of playing blackjack (a losers game). You make all the right moves, play the right hands but basically the House always wins. I know what you're going to say " But I won twelve hundred dollars last year in Atlantic City!" Of course there are victories. The odds aren't tilted crazy, but there is a 51%-49% advantage. And in the long run, the house has to win. The house will win.

So what is this house advantage the Republicans have? It's the press. There is no more fourth estate. Wait, hold on...I'm not going down some esoteric path with theories on the deregulation of the media and corporate bias and CNN versus Fox...I mean it: there is no more functioning press in this country. And without a real press the corporate and religious Republicans can lie all they want and get away with it. And that's the 51% advantage.

Think this is some opinion being wryly posited to titillate other bloggers and inspire dialogue with Tucker Carlson or Gore Vidal? Fuck that. Four corporations own all the TV channels. All of them. If they don't get ratings they get canceled or fired. All news is about sex, blame and anger, and fear. Exposing lies about amounts of money taken from lobbyists and votes cast for the agenda of the last eight years does not rate. The end.

So one side can lie and get away with it. Now let's throw in one more advantage. Voter caging and other corruption on the local level with voting. Check out the article here on HuffPost about Ohio messing with 600K voters. If only five thousand of those voters don't or can't vote that's a huge advantage in a contest that could be decided by literally dozens of votes. That takes us to about a 52 to 48% advantage.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Coming soon


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mav where's goose?

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Best of Berlin Culture

I went out into Berlin not knowing much about the city. It had been divided during the cold war by a wall...
I'm done.
I came across the German History musuem which was a great starting point to learn about Germany and Berlin. After I was done I was very hunger and saw there was a bar in the museum. In the bar is where I really discovered the best of German culture with a variety of beers at affordable prices.
I sampled them all... I mean I just wanted to embrace the local culture.
Here is the best of German Culture:

Here is the best of Berlin Culture

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm not flat busted either...

Is there really a button out there that says: THE HOTTEST V.P. FROM THE COOLEST STATE? If there is can I just request for someone to send me one. I don't know how I would reward someone for sending me such a precious gift but I'm going to Africa in a month so I could get you something very cool too. I really need that button. I want to put it next to my pin I got in Finland. The pin is of President Tarja Halonen of Finland. If the conversations I got into because of the pin are any indicator she is pretty popular there. Also, she kinda looks like Conan O'Brien... That might be the entire reason I bought the pin.

I'm so glad Palin is in this Campaign. America is moving forward now. We are finally getting passed our sexist past. Women's voices will finally be heard. Who more represents women than a former beauty queen? All women wear heels with their bathing suits.
McCain didn't pick her just to try and pander to Clinton supporters. He also didn't pick her to try and make his campaign as historically significant as Obama. No. He wouldn't do that because those are ridiculous reasons to pick a VP. No he picked her to show the Country how much the Republicans have changed since Hillary Clinton dropped out of the campaign.
You NEED to watch this:

I found it extremely bold for Palin to compare herself to Truman. Aren't Republicans suppose to be comparing themselves to Reagan? Hmmm.. who is someone else who compares himself to Truman?
George W. Bush.
He has to try and compare himself to Truman because he has nothing left. Truman was realitively unpopular when he left office but history has made him one of the great American Presidents. Bush is just hoping that history can some how turn him into a great president.
Hockey Mom.
I don't know any Hockey Moms but I know plenty of Soccer Moms and I don't want any of those crazy, overzealous, hyper-competive be-otchs second in line to a very old man to become the leader of the free world.

Okay, you might think I was being sarcastic when I said I'm glad Palin is in this campaign. Honestly, I'm not. She gives me hope. Hope that I can someday be running for vice President with viturally no qualifications. It makes sense. If we look at McCain's logic all women are replacable. If Palin can easily replace Clinton... than that means I can some day get up to a heart beat from the highest office.
Education wise I'm as qualified as she is. She holds a BA from the University of Idaho in Journalism. I hold a BA from Michigan State University in Political Science. My school was the first Land Grant university which is a legacy of Lincoln's the first and greatest Republican President.
She was a sportscaster... which just means she can talk about sports. See me I'm a doer, I play sports-all kinds of sports. I'm even so good that I sometimes watch sportcenter and comment on what the sportscasters are saying. I don't just do, I also talk.
If being a Hockey Mom is some great qualification than you should look at what she named those qualifications.
Girls: Piper, Willow, Bristol. Boys: Track, Trig
Well, I don't currently have any children but I plan on naming my future fictious children: Throckmorton, Thrash, and Thor... Those are the boys names... Girls names would be boring family names. But this shows that I too can give children stupid names.
So watch out world Carol Bontekoe is a-comin' Though I don't have any pictures discussing my breasts I have plenty of embarressing photos from my youth. Although, my parents might be smart enough not to release them to the media. Jeez, hope that doesn't hurt my chances...
I'll be 44 for election 2028. I already have more forgein policy expierence than she does. I have to get focused. I only have 20 years to have some oddly named children and to become way to involved in their sports; to learn to read a telepromtor while discussing touchdowns, to get 1100 votes to become a mayor of some hicktown(I'm from hicktowns and love hicktowns-so, personally I would love that job) and then get in less than two years of experience as being a governor of one of the least populated states in the Union... North Dakota, Vermont, or Wyoming get yourselves ready for Bontekoe 2026 Gubenatorial campaign. I mean I gotta show Palin up in some way or the other and I figure going for an even less populated state is the way to go.

I need to be Fair and Balanced so if you already haven't watched her RNC speech feel free to do it now:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

all year round.

When I rode into Berlin I had a 102 temperature. I just wanted to get off the train and find a hotel and sleep through the fever. Unfortunately I don't know German, so I didn't know the word for “main station“. This lack of knowledge led to me getting off at a train station that was “something“-Berlin. For all I know the “something” was German for "suburbs" or "out-in-the-boondocks". I was wondering why no one else was rushing to get off but I figured I didn't have time for questions and grabbed my bike from the rack it was hanging from, threw my saddle bags out the door, and then dragged both parts of my bike off the train. When I left the train station I looked around at all the single family homes and realized I had made a mistake. Fortunately Berlin has a big television tower in the middle of town. It is visible from quite a distance away. I figured with no other guesses on where to go I should try and find my way to the Television Tower. It became my Emerald City. I wish I had had a yellow brick road to follow. It would have been a lot easier. I kept dead-ending and ending up on little back allies. Sometimes I would take a turn and lose sight of the tower and start getting all panicky. Also, the whole time I was dragging around my bike halves, and had that aforementioned fever.
When I reached the tower it wasn't exactly the hotel/hostel ridden place I had been hoping for. There was, however, a mall near by. I really don't care for malls in America, it is honestly because I can't go to one in the Netherlands that I get so excited for malls in other countries. Inside the mall I was able to get a directory of hostels. I had sweat through all of my clothing and was in desperate need of fluids. The girl at the information desk in the mall was looking at this disgusting looking creator and quickly showed me where the nearest hostel was. After walking around the tower lost for about another hour I eventually found the hostel and checked in.
I should have just taken a shower and gone to bed and slept through the fever. I was unable to do that because I had passed a certain store on my way to the hostel. I was in Germany and I had seen the store. It seemed like fate.
The next day I asked my friend Caitlin to guess what I would go out shopping for despite having a fever. I gave her the clues that I was in Germany(so a German specific thing) and it was a piece of clothing.
She sarcastically typed back that I had bought ladderhouzen.
I pushed her to put in an honest effort. Think German and my FAVORITE article of clothing. The one thing I will wear all year round regardless of weather.
She knows me too well. Yes, I got a pair of Birkenstocks in Germany. I didn't buy myself a lot of souvenirs but this was one thing that I really wanted. I got the only pair that fit.
On my way back to the hostel I bought some orange juice to get some vitamin C and some fluids in my system. I couldn't go to sleep now-Birkenstocks(!)- I wanted to embrace German culture. I went and got a pair of socks and put them on and then put on my Birkenstocks. Now, I was ready to really experience Germany.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I need to take an intermission here from my cycling story for a quick Public Service announcement.

I don't like being treated like I'm dumb. Whether I am dumb or not is irrelevant. I don't ask for much in life but I do ask, "Please, please don't insult my intelligence."
With that said I have to say one more thing-John McCain how dare you! How dare you insult my intelligence so. I am truly hurt.
I haven't been this hurt since Dub-yah took South Carolina and turned Republicans against McCain. I was little Miss Republican back then. I had even bought myself an elephant key chain. .
When John McCain dropped out in 2000 I took that key chain off my bag and threw it away. I never thought I could trust or believe again.
I know that was a bit dramatic but I was a 16 year old who was really into politics. People collectively making a bad choice upset me. Still does. However, this new hurt- hurts worse than 16 year old Carol's pain, because this time it comes form McCain himself.
I just want to point out something... cuz honestly maybe guys never really realized... NOT ALL WOMEN ARE THE SAME!!!! You can't just throw one out there and say good enough!
This has nothing to do with Palin or Clinton's politics. Neither one was every my pick for president. Wanna know why that is? It's because even though I'm a woman I don't just blindly vote for any woman on the ballot. That is insulting sir. Women, are we really this dumb? Why haven't we stood up and said, "This is just absurd."
When you look outside of their reproductive system these two politicians have virtually nothing in common. Yet, somehow having her on the ticket is suppose to pull all the sen. Clinton supporters to McCain. They should be viewed not on the woman factor but on the political factor. On what they stand for. Women if you were planning on voting for Clinton and now you have switched over just because McCain put a woman in there for his Vice President than I have to say shame on you too. Shame on you for feeding into irrational women stereotypes. Because no one who wanted Sen. Clinton should want Gov. Palin, Just as I believe that Gov. Palin supporters shouldn't be voting for Sen. Clinton.

However, I haven't heard a lot of women changing their tune because of McCain's VP pick(which gives me some relief), it has mostly been middle aged men. Really guys? Grow a freakin' pair! And get over your Naughty Librarian fantasy.

Okay, phew... just needed to vent for a minute. Now back to the ramblings of Carol Bontekoe, Europe and a bike.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Won't remarry...

My bike eventually broke in half. Literally it has two halves. Right now it is just being held togther by the chain. This happened a little after I had biked 1300 kms and a little before I had reached Berlin.
I put my broken beloved on the train and brought her to Berlin(her name is Elizabeth.. after the first one not the second one... to be honest I don't know that much about Queen Elizabeth2 she could be fine but I have read so many books about QE1 that she is one of my favorite historical figures.... yes I'm dorky enough to have a favorite historical figure)My second day in Berlin I found out there was a big bike shop just around the corner from my hostel. When I brought her in they at first didn't notice she was broke in two and were like what is wrong with it and only looking at the tires. I finally pointed out that there seemd to be two distinct parts to my bike. They stood up and looked at me,
"It is destroyed."
"You will never ride it again."
"Can't you just weld it?"
Blank stare... mimed welding...
"No, it is broken forever."
This would have been the time to say," fine. fine. Take her and throw in the back with the other junk," but I didn't. I said, "Well... alright... so uh ya can't fix it? right... okay... danke... bye..."
I couldn't let her go. I ended up taking her by train all the way to Lieden, which is actually further than where I live. They wouldn't let me take it to Noordwijk, which is where I spent my last couple days of my trip. When my friend Lauren came to pick me up she had forgotten the bike rack. I had to leave her in Lieden for an extra week. I then had to spend 20 euros in I'm an American... I mean gas... to get my bike back home.
My friend Caitlin kept encouraging me to dump her and get a younger, cheaper, newer model. I just couldn't do it. we had been through a lot and I couldn't dump her right at the end. This is when Caitlin pointed out and I had to agree that if I ever get married I probably wouldn't marry again after my husband died. I just can't replace things I love with a lower quality model.
Elizabeth and I are both back at Rinia State in the Netherlands. And she is sitting in the barn. she is begging me to take her to the bike repair place but I can't. What if they also tell me that there is nothing that can be done for her? I just couldn't stand to believe it is really over for her. I would rather have her in the barn and hope that she can get fixed than at the bike shop and know that she couldn't be fixed. I mean look at us we had one hell of a ride together.