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, March 25, 2010

I want to be a cheesemaker

Last weekend I went to the least populated provience of one of the most densely populated counties in the world-Twente. I hadn't ever been to Twente so it was new experience for me. And after living in Amsterdam so long I get really excited when I head out of town and have some room to move around.
I was with my friend Claartje and we went to visit her hometown of Losser- Loser with we a little extra. :P
Since there isn't a whole lot to do there Claartje's mom suggested with go visit her new friend Pauline, a cheesemaker in the area.
Pauline was incrediably kind and open to us, giving us the full tour of her farm/cheese factory. The whole time I was like I want to do this! I want to be a cheesemaker. I have a random assortment of old jobs behind me maybe Cheesemaker can be my next calling..

Monday, March 1, 2010

USA vs Canada

I was invited to watch the USA vs Canada Hockey game at an Australian Bar. I agreed. I figured it would be a nice chance to keep in touch with my American Roots, have some beers, and in general have a good time. My friend that invited me to watch the game is Canadian and I knew going into it that the other people we would be watching with would be Canadian.
I decided before the game to show some USA pride. I don't have any clothing that says USA- mostly because I don't like being taunted every five feet (yes feet- NOT METERS!) as I walk down the street. All that I could find to show my American Pride was my American Flag that was hanging on my wall. I cut the strings that hung the Stars and Bars up on my wall and packed it away nicely in a zip lock bag. I was ready to face those Canadian Ice Holes. I refused to be intimidated out of cheering on my team- Team USA.
When I entered the bar it was a sea of Red. I almost got excited, my brain instantly connecting hockey with red- RED WINGS! Than I realized the whole bar was dressed in red because they had come to cheer on Canada. I looked around for anything that might say subtlety, "I'm an American." I saw nothing of the sort. So, I felt the need to scream it out loud. I slowly pulled out my zip lock bag and released the Stars and Bars into her glory.
I had been unleashed. I never get to feel apart of American sporting events anymore. They certainly aren't showing my Detroit teams and MSU will have to do pretty amazing during March Madness for me to get the chance to watch them here. But tonight they were showing the USA vs CANADA. My chance had come to cheer on MY team.
There were a handful of other Americans in the bar and I ended up meeting each of them, me becoming the de facto American Embassy in the bar. Each one hand been conditioned through years of travel to hide their American-ness. To cheer, but at a level where no one would know that they are from America. One Canadian woman came up to me and pointed out that her husband is American. Then followed it up with, "He has traveled a lot so he knows not to show that he is American." I received at least 5 other comments about how other people had traveled enough to know not to have an American flag. They were all implying that I am not as well traveled, and clearly have spent little time outside of America. I don't need to defend myself with numbers, all I will say is I'm pretty well traveled myself. The thing is I refuse to be intimidated into not being proud of my background, heritage, and country. I especially refuse to be scared away by a bunch of Canadians.
Since I was the only American showing pride I became the focus of 95% of the bar's cheers and jeers. Whether cheering "Go Canada Go!" or pissed off because the USA had just tide the game I was the person everyone was looking at. I didn't mind, I actually found it kind of adorable. I also found if you keep calling Canadians adorable during an intense Hockey Game you can push them almost to the point where they forget their manners. My favorite was how they started chanting "Universal Healthcare" at me. I was like I don't know what you want me to do, I agree with you. I wish the Democrats weren't so afraid of being bullied by the GOP and would just pass something through. I knew I had gotten under their skin when they started chatting, "Universal Healthcare." When Canada scored a goal I was shoved. When America scored a goal I was tickled. When I went to the bathroom I was booed. I chose to take it all in stride. Cause sorry ya'll I know you think cause I have 'Merican Pride I must be un-educated and not well traveled, but the thing is there is almost nothing you can say to me at this point that I haven't heard before.
When America lost in over-time I was bummed, not to a point in proportion to how excited the Canadians were over winning. One guy even yelled, "This is the BEST DAY of my LIFE!" I thought, well good then that Canada won. Because there is no way that America winning any sport in the Olympics(even the Summer ones, which we all know are the ones that count) could make me yell that. Because it simply isn't true. America winning doesn't make me a winner and America losing doesn't make me a loser. I love my home country but it's wins and losses in international athletic competitions doesn't make or destroy my world.
At the end of the game I went around congratulating everyone in the bar. Even agreed to take a photo of all the Canadians. I was told I'm a really good sport. They probably told me that because every time everyone in the bar started booing me I just shouted back, "Good Sportsmanship is rewarded in Heaven!"

Oh, Canada and welcome to where Americans were a couple years ago. Every Canadian in the bar booed when they showed their prime minister Stephen Harper on the screen. Our president is pretty cool and we don't have to boo when we see him on screen. Yay! So, Canada you may have the gold- but our President is hotter than yours. So, who are the real winners?