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 27, 2008

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.


  1. Anonymous said...

    oh wow.

    Headbutt and all? hahahaha
    What a creeper!

    That is hilarious. I'm glad he didn't try to do anything to you, that would have been the beatdown of the century!

    Miss you!

  2. becky said...

    hahahaha, i can't believe you headbutted him!! that's awesome.

  3. Anonymous said...

    LOL.... where id this happen.. how funny.. what beach was it...... soooooooooooo funny...