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.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aesthetics of Colour

An Exploration in color... or to use some of my snobby academia- Aesthetics of Colour

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flirting with Books

I by no means of the imagination have any flirting skills. If I find myself attempting to flirt I panic, become very embarressed and avoid the guy for eternity. He probably just thinks I'm being weird, loud and sweaty- as usual.

When I find a guy flirting with me I become totally creeped out. I begin to wonder what is wrong with him? And what happened in his life that has lead him to the point where he is flirting with me? Did he have a head trauma as a child? I become rude and annoyed by these guys.

So, you can understand my suprise when lately I have found myself doing some flirting of my own. The biggest suprise is with I'm flirting with. Lately I have found myself flirting with books.

See I have absolutely no money thanks to the amazing Dutch Banking system that I find myself trapped by. So, instead of just avoiding bookstores I end up hanging around them flirting with books I can't have.

If there is a piece of lint on them I sweetly brush it away. I look it up and down complementing its well chosen cover. And if things go really well I find myself fingering through it for the next hour.

I'm a bit of a tease with how much I come back to the bookstore and the time I spend with an individual book- I can see why they think they would get to come home with me. However, after I have had my fun and gotten some free reading in I end up going home alone. Back to the book I have waiting for me at home. Even when I'm laying in bed with my book I lay there imagining how much better it would be with the book from the store. To run my eyes over its un-doggy tagged pages. My eyes gazing from right to left and up and down. To slowly turn the pages with a lick of the finger and than a soft touch. Than I fall asleep with the book on my pillow just to dream- dreams of another.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A walking stereotype.

Today we had to do an exercise on stereotypes. People wrote their stereotypes of a country and then they posted it under the name of that country. Countries like Latvia and Hungary were a little sparse. The United Kingdom was quite full, however I wrote about half of them: "Tea Drinkers", "Fancy themselves something special"and "Colonized the world in order to get some descent food" were just some of my beauties. I some how forgot bad teeth.
I was very surprised that when it came to America's turn that people started to clap. They were excited for us to address our stereotypes,since I would say Americans and Germans have the most unflattering stereotypes of any nations. I truly feel America is the only country in the world that EVERYONE in the world has some kind of opinion about.
There were three of us Americans, all very different. The first girl to speak is very tiny, always wears scarves, and when she talks she keeps her hands clenched in front of her unless to make a point she uses quotation mark fingers. She openly talks about how much she hates America and how embarrassing it is for her to have an American accent. Because of how tiny she is, the demeanor and her scarves she can blend into the scenery quite easily. She almost seems like she is hiding. She does not stand out at all. She finds it a high compliment to be told that she does not look American. She spoke first that the idea of Americans being fat, loud, and dumb is completely untrue. She said this with her back to me. Whether she did it consciously or unconsciously, she did it, and than tried to make the other girl in the group speak so as no one would notice the American Cliche standing directly behind her. I wasn't going to say anything but when she was so clearly trying to keep me out of it what could I do but be an obnoxious American and speak my mind? I said well I can see where these stereotypes come from since I am more or less all of the stereotypes. I even voted for Obama("Yes we can" and Obama were listed as stereotypes- I don't know how they are stereotypical.)
See even though I am the very embodiment of the American Stereotype I would say the other American girl that is running from being an American is re-enforcing these stereotypes more than I am. For an American to openly be saying, "Oh, I hate saying I'm from America. I hate my accent. I left and I'm never going back... ugh Americans(eye roll)" These things make people believe that these negative ideas of America are true and that they are justified in what they say about America. I find it irresponsible to push people towards thinking negatively of America.
I do not have the luxury of distancing myself from America at all costs. I'm American. Even if I am wearing the national dress of a country I am American. People can point to me from a distance a declare that I am American. Actually it has only been in the past month I have been perceived as anything other than American-most Dutch people at my university think I am South African, blame that on my DUTCH last name. I don't live abroad because I am trying to escape my homeland. I live abroad because of a fear of commitment- if I move to any place in the lower 48 than I'll be there for the rest of my life. For adventure. To learn about others cultures. On the side I try to re-educate people in their perception of America. Maybe I am what you think of as Typical American- even though in America I am far from typical. But am I really so bad? Am I really worth hate and anger towards Americans in general. I have often been told by people abroad that I am the first American they ever liked, all the others are horrible. That is when I have to ask, "Do you know any other Americans? No? We really aren't that bad. Some are. I will give you some suck; but that is true for every country, city, village, school, and family."
If you happen to be horrible behaving, uneducated, fat, ignorant, loud, conservative, who didn't have any fun till you were 21 and you are starting unjust wars-maybe you should say you are Canadian. But for those Americans living and traveling abroad who are educated,who try to learn the language, who know some geography- don't be afraid to say you are American. Own it. Help the world see that we are more than just the stereotypes. Even us stereotypical Americans need to show that those stereotypes are just the surface of wonderfully complex culture and country.

My4th of July party in Oudemirdum Friesland, Netherlands summer 2008. Showed everyone the best part of the 4th of July the parade and candy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009



Thursday, October 1, 2009

3 Random things in Amsterdam

These are three random things I saw around Amsterdam that basically make no sense to me.
The first is this cement dog sitting on a bridge. It is made to look like a bobble head from a distance but once I got next to it I saw you couldn't smack it in the head to make it bobble. So, what is the point? And why is it on the bridge? And on top of that there were actually two of them, the other was across the street.

Secondly in the self-proclaimed gayest city in Europe(and trust me they have competition) I still find this to be pretty gay. Not in the how stupid is that, but in the man on man love kind of gay. This is a "Rockin' Sailor" for children outside of a barber shop. Yes, cuz there is nothing cuter than putting little Johnny on top of a sailor to rock around with while men get their hair done.

And lastly a thing (thing because I have no actual words for it) that lead American Shock Comedian Doug Stanhope to say, "You don't need me here. My sense of humor is useless on people who have something like this for children to play in."
This bikini clad dismembered body lies in Oud Zuid the richest, poshest, and apparently most over the top part of town. This sits in a park near a school. It is for children to run around in- for fun. The door on the severed leg is open but you can see in the left hand corner how the doors are made to look like the insides of a human- the way they would look if the arms, legs, and head of a women at the beach had all been chopped off.
Oh, Amsterdam, I can't explain thee.

So Gay!