Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summertime & Swimming Lessons


Usually I do not get personal at this blog space. Some Brazilian bloggers have already remarked I am quite "neutral" in my posts. That I am not "pro" or "against" certain Dutch facts/habits/situations. (I can tell you: I can sometimes whine SO MUCH). I just report certain things and leave the reader to reach his/her conclusions or investigate further.

Well, I need to ventilate something now.

We have had nice vacations in Brazil. Especially my kids, they love a swimming pool and my oldest son was springing into it already very early in the morning, together with my mom. We found it great, because he was going to start intensive lessons soon. Every Saturday afternoon during 12 weeks. He has had an exam last Saturday, together with other kids. Before the tests, before our vacation in Brazil we were informed that in order to be accepted in the course he would have to do two things in the exam: be able to spring into water and also be able to put his head in water. He did that in Brazil. He did that a lot, on a daily basis. Since his birth he is used to be in swimming pools in hotels and clubs.

He failed in his "exam".

Reason ? He had to float on his back and also perform several movements. He was "not comfortable about floating, his neck was tense" the examinators told my husband afterwards. Other children were not aproved either, and parents got disturbed and started to defend them. My husband just walked away and when arrived home he scheduled a new test for our son in November. My son told me he actually liked the "exam". He sometimes lays on the floor and shows us the series of moves he had to do then. He said it was "leuk" (nice).

This reminds me about my driving exams. During the feedback (after my second faillure) the examinator said: "You dind't have major technical mistakes, and I was feeling comfortable sitting next to you. But no. Not this time." This kind of exams and the attitude/level of demands from the (Dutch) examinators' side puzzles me. Do you have to be a fish before applying to a (intensive) course to learn how to swim ? Have lots of experience in the heavy traffic when you apply for your driver's license ? Have lived in Holland many years and speak some Dutch BEFORE following a Dutch course ? Tsk, tsk, tsk... That's why there is so much stress in this country (or used to be). Burn out, suicides, etc.

I am not emotional about my childs episode. He is (very) cool about it, my husband is (very) cool about it, so I am okay. But my parents do not understand it. My friends either. I even had to defend the situation form the examinator's point-of-view.

I think I am definitely integrated. Yes, now that I ventilated my reaction - or final acceptance? - about this episode... I think I relate to Dutch people/views more and more. I am definitely enjoying two cultures, I make a good bridge between the Dutch and Brazilian view. That's why so many people consider my blog "neutral".

...Or maybe not ? (Hey come on ! A child can learn how to float very quickly). Will it take my whole life to think like Dutch ? I hope I stop here with my genetic mutation. Help !


Galera, geralmente eu não falo de coisas pessoais nesse blog. Algumas blogueiras (e blogueiros também) já comentaram que eu nunca expresso fortes opiniões nesse espaço. Que eu sou neutra e apresento os hábitos, situações e fatos de maneira imparcial (não concordo totalmente) e deixo os leitores tirarem suas próprias conclusões. Olha, posso revelar uma coisa: as vezes, muitas vezes eu tenho reações passionais e reclamo pra caramba das pessoas e das coisas. Só que por aqui eu procuro deixar o leitor livre pra dizer o que pensa. A maior parte das reações ou quase todas acho ate muito educada. A polemica rola mais la no Inteirativa.

Pois é. Mas agora preciso soltar algo.

Tivemos ótimas ferias no Brasil e talz. Especialmente minhas crianças. Adoram a piscina dos meus pais e o meu mais velho já queria cair na piscina as seis da matina com minha mãe. OTEMO pois ele teria que começar um curso intensivo de natação depois das ferias, aqui na Holanda. Todo Sábado a tarde toda, durante 12 semanas. O requerimento pra fazer o curso seria passar no teste. Duas coisas a serem realizadas no teste: a criança querer entrar na água sozinha e também não ter medo em afundar a cabeça na água. Ele praticou isso pra caramba no Brasil. Alias, desde o nascimento ele "nada" com a gente (com boinhas nos braços, claro) em piscinas de hotéis, clubes e eventualmente na piscina dos meus pais no Brasil.

Ele não foi aprovado no exame.

A razão ? Tinha que flutuar "discostas" e também realizar uma serie de movimentos. Nadar um pouquinho "que nem um sapinho", flutuar e bater as pernas, etc. O examinador contou a meu marido que ele "não se sentiu confortável em flutuar e bater as pernas, o pescoço ficou muito tenso". Muitas outras crianças também não foram aprovadas, e muitos pais se revoltaram, queriam motivos mais concretos. Meu marido passou ziper na boca e se pirulitou de fininho. Chegando em casa foi pro computador e agendou uma nova provinha pra final de novembro (há lista de espera para as provas). Meu filho de 5 anos fala que gostou da brincadeira. Que quer fazer de novo. As vezes ate deita no chão e mostra o que teve de fazer. Fala que foi legal.

E ai eu começo a me lembrar do meu exame pra tirar a carteira de motorista. Apos minha segunda reprovação, o examinador "explicou" assim: "Você não teve erros técnicos e eu me senti tranquilo do seu lado. Mas ainda não. Não dessa vez." Sorriu de orelha a orelha e me cumprimentou. Eu enfiei a viola no saco e sai arrastando as sandálias e a moral .

Esse tipo de atitude/exigência dos holandeses me esgota. Então você tem que fazer diversos movimentos na água, flutuar, mergulhar e enfiar a cabeça na água ANTES de aprender a nadar ? Tem que ter a destreza de quem tem experiência de anos no trafego ANTES de adquirir a carteira de motorista ? Falar algum holandês razoável ANTES de começar o curso básico ? Ler tudo sobre partos e ter total confianca na hora de parir em casa (eu fui assim, hehehe) ? Tsc, tsc, tsc. Por isso que ha tanto suicídio, gente que se aposenta por stress e pira total. Vou te contar, o caboclo tem que ser mentalmente muito forte pra não o pirar por aqui, viu ?

Não pensem que eu fiquei um tiquinho abalada com essa estória. Meu marido ta praticamente cagando e andando, meu filho pergunta pra gente quando ele vai poder entrar numa piscina de novo. Então eu to legal (e tenho coisas BEM mais serias pra me preocupar, como meu trabalho). Mas meus pais ficaram totalmente confusos. Alguns amigos também. Dizem que uma criança pode aprender a fulturar bem rapidinho, não precisa esperar tres meses pra um novo teste. E eu agora ultimamente me pego defendendo o lado do examinador. Vejo como eu relativizo tudo mais e mais nos últimos anos. Por isso que meu blog as vezes soa "em cima do muro". Eu estou entre duas culturas. Acho que estou mudando de lado e virando holandesa. Deve ser alguma mutação genética. Help !

6 comments:

~Lopa said...

Ohh ya i totally agree with you on swimming and driving.... i wonder with such strict driving tests how many pass the exam on first go !
That is why clearning a driving test is a big deal here, and not to forget it do cost a lot to many !

angela said...

What a lot of work--you're right, it's as if the Dutch already expect you have taken some lessons and have prior experience. It does sound frustrating--at least you can share feelings with your son.

Anonymous said...

In this post you are absolutely wrong with your point of view. It’s better to be neutral with correct facts, then twist it because you are disappointed and frustrated.

You suggest that in Holland you only can start a study/course when you know already the material. Bull shit! You can start a swimming course everywhere and of course you don’t have to be able to swim already. But when you want to do the intensive fast track it’s different. It’s 12 Saturdays or Sundays with lessons of 4 hours, of course with breaks , and with a certificate guarantee. Most children have 1 or 2 lessons of one hour a week and spend 1 or 2 years to get that certificate. Therefore there are conditions to follow the fast track. For example the children have to be concentrated, physically strong enough, don’t get tired quickly, don’t have locomotion problems and they have to be ‘water free’. ‘Water free’ means that they have to be comfortable in the water. They have to dare jumping into the water, be under the water completely (preferably with open eyes) and lay on the back with the ears in the water. When they think a child doesn’t meet the conditions, it has to do a regular course. I think that is fair. When a child adores to play in the water doesn’t mean it meet all the conditions.

When a parent thinks their child is perfect and disagrees with the opinion of an ‘expert’ and gets offended, then the problem is not the system, but the parent! It reminds me programs like X-factor. The parents thinks the child is the best singer of the world and the child starts to believe it. But the voice of the child is terrible and the performance a joke. The child made a fool of himself and the parents are angry that no one liked it. Some people can’t be objective about their own child. That’s not strange, because you love your own children more than everything else.

In your blog you suggest that a lot of children were not approved for the swimming course and the parents were angry. You were not there. Indeed some children were not approved and some parents were surprised about that, but they were absolutely not angry. Why would they? Just ask what the problem is, practice it and try next time.

Willem

By the way, I love the pictures!

Anita said...

Oh Willem ! My point-of-view is not right or wrong, it is just my point-of-view. I see many nuances and realities in a "fact" and if you follow my blog you can reach this conclusion (or maybe not?). A child can learn how to float very quickly. He/She doesn't have to go for a new test three months later. But I am a parent and NOT a swimming instructor so I accept the professional's decision as the best decision. I just think there is not much flexibility and belief in the capacity of applicants, from the side of instructors. Some schools make a lot of money with that also. They play with your self confidence.

Droomvla said...

I agree with the driving part. When I had my driviing lessons here, my instructor just assumed that I could already manage the Dutch traffic and the highway. I was this close to having a nervous breakdown.
But that was 3 years ago. Now that I live longer here, I can see the wisdom behind it.
They don't baby people here. They pretend to be tough all the time. They push you to your limits. And they don't want whiners.
There's a good and a bad side to it of course. The good thing about it is that, you are compelled to take full control of your life.
The bad thiing about it, you can end up in a mental institution.

I love your blog. I am so happy that I am here now. And I will definitely add you to my favs blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Sory Willen but I'm doing the Inburgeren in Holland, and I agree with Anita, because before I come here I had to make a test in Brasil and only if I was aproved I could start the process.
Luckily I manage to study by my self (since in Brasil we do not have dutch courses avaible as we have for english, spanish, french...) and then when I arrive here I received an invitation from the Gemeente to start the course level 1 and 2 and for my surprise even on the interview my teacher speak dutch all the time.
So you do need to study a lot by yourself to follow the course, even if you have a full time work you will need to arrange the time for study at home + 6 or 9 week hours for the course
And I still add one point, when you start to speak dutch( aferter a lot of time to get confidence) and try to speak in Amsterdam, you face a strange situation that the people "trying to help" and answer you in english, just because you speak with a litle accent, this is very disapointing
So at the same time that the law says that you need to integrate in the society here in Amsterdam, is difficult
anyway...I always have in my mind the universe conspire in my favor and provide me all the possibilities that I'm ready to face, so if I really want something I can reach it...that is what give me inspiration to continue my efforts

Anita I love the the way that you arrange the pictures(BTW, very nice ones)
kisses naty