Monday, June 27, 2011

High Tea

It is high tea time at school ! After helping with balloons and decorations with flags, I am curious how everything is going to be. Last year, in order to celebrate the summer arrival the kids performed in a musical. I didn't help because I don't like/cannot sew. This year I have prepared many sandwiches.
 Well, the opening: two grannies were playing popular songs to welcome the guests...

And the parents started to arrive and enjoyed the music while waiting for the kids. Big expectations.

There they come bringing to the long table some extra cookies, sandwiches and cakes, helped by their teachers.

Some waiters were wearing self decorated aprons...
...while the chefs were wearing appropriate self made hats.

The grandparents didn''t have to do a thing, just enjoyed the good weather while having a chat and were pampered by the cutest and helpful waiters.
For the grand finale there was a chocolate fountain. (=lots of little dirty hands giving their family members sweet hugs) 

The Dutch educational system also demands more participation from the parents and family than as usual in other countries - at least that's what I have deduced from bombarding foreign parents with questions my conversations with other foreign parents from America, France and Italy. These same parents also mentioned that the Dutch have a very strong sense of community/doing things together and putting the kids in the center of their lives.

This educational system for the small ones is not boring at all. The lessons are very playful, and demand creative solutions/response from the kids. I have noticed that with all the preparation for the high tea event some kids retained some of the English words they have learned (such as: tea, cake, hat, pie) even days laters. Some retained more difficult/longer words such as biscuits, sandwich (es), cucomber and chef cook. (Hmmm, I bet you think it an easy thing, don't you ? Hey, we are talking about 4 and 5 year old kiddos !)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dutch Cuties: John & Ramon & Humberto

My first post about Dutch cuties was a success ! I decided to introduce here some more - but no fair skin this time. And... three of them !

Cutie #1 is John Williams (Paramaribo, Suriname, 1969), a presenter and actor. John has worked in several shows on TV. I specially love seeing him on house make-up programmes, such as "Help, my man is a DIY'er" and "Help, my man has a hobby". The formula is basically the following: John and his crew come to give some help to desperate women whose husbands made a mess during the renovations. You know how everything ends: women that had completely lost their hopes in having a decent renovated home find after John's help a dream home/palace/castle. Then they cry and squeeze hug (maybe a bit too much) John Williams on the end of the show. I bet everyone knows this kind of stuff I am talking about.
Below, John plays with the fantasies of a woman in a commercial for MONA. The product is a chocolate mousse and the title of the commercial is ChocoDreams. You don't have to understand any Dutch to understand the commercial.

John Williams became the second best during the finale of show Let's Dance, with the number Single Ladies. Yes, he played BeyoncĂ©, with beard and all (and no, he is not gay - just an irreverent actor).

Cutie #2 on this blog post is Ramon Beuk (Paramaribo, Suriname, 1972). Ramon Beuk concluded in  1992, after working in several restaurants, his cooking studies. He also took a diploma in Pedagogics. After extra marketing studies, he started working at department store HEMA as responsible for the present culinary department image of this company. After that, he started working for Unilever where he gave several workshops to large groups about the usage of new products developed by the company. His qualities as an enthousiastic presentater reached the TV companies in Hilversum. He started to have small participations in some programmes on TV and later on started his own program: Born2Cook.  Ramon owns his own Events company CuliPro, cooking school Kooktempel and a party salon De Glazen, in de city of Maarsen.
So far, Ramon Beuk has written four books: "Thais", "Finger Food", “Ramon Beuk Born2Cook” and “De Echte Beuk”. John is married and thas two daughters.
Below, in a commercial for supermaket LIDL, Ramon prepares a grilled potato, topped by entrecote accompanied by a beet sauce. Mini pieces of an apple give the final touch. So easy, I cannot imagine something Dutchier than that. Ramon's tip: when frying a piece of entrecote, use oil AND butter. Oil gets very hot - ideal for frying meat. The butter gives a nice taste and colour. Enjoy !

And last but not least: Humberto Tan (Suriname, 1965). Tan is a Dutch radio and TV anchor man, writer, DJ and fashion designer. He is married and has three kids.  He is also a lawyer - but never worked as such. You can recognize him as one of the presentators of RTL-Boulevard on RTL-4 channel.
On the film below, Humberto Tan plays himself in a comercial for Unox. Coming from work, at first his own dog doesn't recognize him. Humberto wonders why.  "Unox: at home you can be yourself".

John Williams, Ramon Beuk and Humberto Tan. All the three guys are super nice, super enthousiastic and very talented - and of course super succesful. I wish there were more, many more succesful anchor men and actors in Brazil. More visibility of the blacks in the show bizz - and not only as soccer players or singers. I have heard that lately a black actor was the main character in a Brazilian soap opera. Well, there is hope.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sailing in the Northern Holland Canals

Yesterday was a perfect day for sailing with our new boat.
The best of it, is that we can peek into the backyard of many houses is that you do it completely following your rythmn and mood. No schedules to be followed, no pre stablished routes.  
Now, look at this Dutch man. While sailing he will have some beers... then he is completely satisfied and in his natural element. He has spent some hours sailing on a daily basis (of course weather permitting it) since he was a kid. Maybe since 8 or 9 years old ?  
Every house with a backyard giving into water seems to have a boat...
Recreation are Het Twiske. Windmills !
Lots of aquatic birds.
And cows and sheeps...

Some (many) houses around the Twiske area are just magnificent !

I have already talked many times before about the wonders of the recreation are located between Amsterdam, Zaandam and Purmered. If you wish to rent a boat to sail in Het Twiske click HERE for more info. A sailing boat with a motor for maximum 5 people costs around 11euros/hour. You can also rent a canoe and pul out the adventurer and explorer for a couple of hours. Not to worry - there are no crocs in the Netherlands. Otherwise I would never, ever, live here.

Florida (USA). Is this a joke ?

 Also in Florida. Ding-dong ! - Dear, I think someone is at the door.  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Famous Dutch Artists in the Film Industry

And last but not least... Remember Lurch (left) from Adams Family ?  It was played by giant Carel Struycken. The Dutch people are, indeed, among the tallest of the world, hahahah !

To be continued...