Thursday, December 08, 2005

feast days and computer breakdown

Our computer broke down, crashed, went bonkers, gave up the ghost. How long before we get it back and whether it will still contain all my files is a risk we didn't want to take. Thank God for a brother who can advise his non-tech sister over the telephone. I learned that constantly pressing on F8 while computer is in start up mode will lead me to a screen that allows me to start up said computer in safe mode, thereby allowing me to download all important files ( fotos, word files, emails and all ) onto a disk or a usb stick. Except, my dear hubby saved everything on a DVD disk. A drive which this interim computer does not have. Ha, ha. Joke's on me.

Happily, I do have some files stashed away on the stick that I can still work on, like my beloved Inhabitants of the Earth which I'm working on for the seventh time this year.

Feast days brought me a package from the USA :) How wonderful packages make me feel. This was exciting, a load of books from The Chatelaine for identifying the wabi sabi in Post Bling Bling. This is actually the first time I've ever won anything like this, and I was quite excited about it.

Seven books of poetry and prose to enrich the spirit. My spirit is getting fed, and fattened and I find myself attempting poetry again. I don't dare publish my toddling attempts just yet.

Which leads me to confess that I am the person living in the Netherlands whom Eileen refers to in her blog. For some strange reason the bank where I bank did not know what I meant when I asked them about checks and money-orders.

I found myself facing a bunch of bank employees who wanted to know what I was buying and where I was buying it from and why this company I'm ordering a book from doesn't accept credit card payments. I explained I wanted either a check or a money-order and was told that I could do a bank transfer.

Enough to drive this allochtoon (foreigner) crazy. I am grateful for the solution Eileen proposed as I wasn't really looking forward to braving another team of dutch speaking bank employees who wanted to pry into my private purchases, and to be honest my Dutch speaking abilities sort of melt away when confronted by officious looking people who treat me like I came from some backward mountain. I lapse into english which leaves them looking at me like stunned giraffes. He, he. While most dutch do speak and understand english, a good number of those in this small town will look at you like you've grown an extra arm or something.

I think one advantage of living in cities like Leiden or Amsterdam or Utrecht is the willingness of city dwellers to speak a language that isn't their own. Unlike Bodegraven where most folks will hesitate to speak english, shopkeepers in the big cities are almost eager to demonstrate their mastery of another language that isn't dutch.

But this Bodegraafs hesitation comes from lack of exposure, I suppose. Just as I was shy about speaking Dutch in the beginning ( from not having used it before ), I think Dutch people who don't use English on a regular basis are quite shy about using it and perhaps being confronted with someone who speaks english sort of disrupts their comfort zone in some way.

Anyway, that's how I logicize it...


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