* February 2014

February 17th, 2014

Pride ~ /prahyd/

Pride is a feeling you get when you, or someone you admire, know, like, do/does something outstanding. The noun for someone or -thing that makes you feel proud.

I don't like the Netherlands. I truly don't. I can't really say why, for I don't have a clear reason, but I just dislike my home country. It's a feeling, deep within, that I have had since I was a child and believe I will never shake. I don't feel at home here, I don't believe this is where I belong. I know there are worse places in the world to be in, but I just don't... feel it.

Maybe one of the reasons I dislike my own nation so much is because, frankly, we think we're so much better than we really are. Let's face it, if countries were dogs, the Netherlands would be a chihuahua: small, noisy, easily overlooked and definitely thinking we're bigger than we are. But pretending you're great doesn't actually make you great (like pretending you're happy doesn't actually make you happy).

Therefore, I never expect my country to make me proud. Even when our national football team seems to perform very well for a change, I can't say I feel the tiniest hint of pride (but then again, I'm not a football person so what do I care anyway). In fact, I expect my nation to disappoint me rather than make me feel happy I'm Dutch, in any given situation, whether it is sports or politics or something else.

Even regarding The Olympics, I anticipate a certain level of disappointment. I know the Netherlands have great hockeyteams, some of our gymnasts have outperformed themselves during the last Summer Olympics, and our swimmers always know to win a medal or two. And I know we are renowned for our great skaters, but little did I know they were THIS great!

Surprisingly, seeing three female Dutch skaters on that stage, knowing number 4 was "one of us" as well, just made me... kind of... swell with pride. For the first time in years I felt somewhat proud I am Dutch, that I could point to the TV and say: "Look at what we did there!" (which, if you think about it, is rather silly, for we did nothing, they skated their butts off while I was just watching them on my TV).

Maybe something IS changing inside me, who knows. But even though I am now a little happier about my native country, I am still a long way from wanting to live here until I die.

Hopefully, somewhere in the near future I'll literally be a long way from here until I die.

But until then, I'm just going so sit back, relax, and watch "our" sportsmen and -women reel in some more medals. Hopefully. Go Team NL!


February 23rd, 2014

Perseverance ~ /pur-suh-veer-uh ns/

Perseverance is stuffing sushi into the less painful left side of your mouth, since the right side of your entire face is now extremely painful after the removal of two wisdom teeth, merely because you like the food so much you do not want to miss out on it.

Note: perseverance is sometimes mistaken for stupidity and/or stubbornness. However closely linked, these words are not synonyms.

Last Thursday I went to the hospital for what I thought was an intake on my wisdom teeth-problem. The lower right one was poking through a bit, had been doing so for a while, but lately it had become quite painful. So first step was to go to my dentist (and I'm only including this bit because it's rather entertaining). 

However, my official dentist had had an accident and so I was helped by a substitute. A young woman, I'd say she was around my age or maybe even a few years younger, was very kind and helped me perfectly. But even if she seemed adequate to do her job, she also appeared to be a little insecure (although this might also have been partly due to the fact that the dentist's wife and dental hygienist herself kept walking into the surgery and, without ever saying something, was definitely keeping a very obvious eye on said dentist substitute). Add to this the fact that I am the kind of person who always asks a lot of questions, especially when the answers I receive seem to me unsatisfying, and you get an insecure young dentist woman.

She asked me if I had any dental problems or sore spots in my mouth, so I told her about my lower right wisdom tooth and she confirmed my suspicions. She then told me she'd "make a note of it" so me and my regular dentist could discuss this during my next bi-annual appointment, when he is expected to have returned to his duties.
Apparently, I acted surprised, because she told me there wasn't anything serious going on, but she added that if I wanted to, she'd write me a letter to get me an appointment with a dental surgeon.

This is where my inner Annoying Sam took over.

I, on my part, told her that it was already painful, and I asked her if it needed to be removed, whereupon she said (seriously):

"Two things can happen. Either it stays like this, half-developed, or it will grow on completely."

Me: "When I had braces, my orthodontist told me there is not enough room in my mouth for my wisdom teeth, and if any of them ever developed, they would have to be removed."

She: "Yes, if it develops, it will have to be removed."

Me: "But if it doesn't, it won't have to be removed?"

She: "No, if it won't grow on any further, it will still have to be removed because of the risk of infections."


Me: "...So... whether it grows on or not, it still has to be removed anyway?"

She: "...Well... yea. So, do you want me to write you a referral letter?"

Me: "Yes, please."

But, in the Netherlands, what usually happens is this: you get the letter, you call the hospital's dental department to make an appointment, which is always an intake followed by more appointments to do what has been decided during the intake. Did I say always? Make that "almost always".

I expected to go there, have an röntgen picture taken of my jaw, meet the dental surgeon and discuss the plan, then make follow up appointments for the removal of the wisdom teeth.

Well, I was right about the picture! But straight after that I found myself in the dental surgeon's chair, being relieved of my upper and lower right wisdom teeth. And lucky me gets to come back in 6 weeks for the other two on the left side!

But, that whole adventure left the right side of my face in pain, and it's especially painful and difficult when eating. The surgeon told me I'd probably live off soup, yogurt and tea the first few days, but after one day I gave up. I love tea. I love soup. I love yogurt. But only eating that left me hungry by the end of the day.

And that was just day 1.

So, as from day 2, I tried little pieces of smashed bread, bread soaked in soup, biscuits soaked in tea, cut pieces of Chinese noodles and, my favourite, sushi! I mean, I had to cut all the parts in very small pieces and even eating 6 pieces took me almost an hour, but I did it!

I'm happy now. Still very much sore, but happy I persevered ^^