As an American with a sense of adventure, I’ve often dreamed of living in another country. There are things I care deeply about, like good healthcare and liberal attitudes toward religion, politics and social justice issues. I couldn’t live anywhere that didn’t have them. I grew up in a middle-of-the-road place, and I didn’t belong there. There are a number of other nations that are more to the left than the USA, at least on social issues, and one of my favorites is the Netherlands. The Dutch are deservedly famous for their engineering skills, and a great portion of their land was reclaimed from the sea. I do like checking out indexes and the Netherlands is higher than the U.S. in international rankings of Life Expectancy, Global Peace, Press Freedom, Human Development, and Democracy. Many great painters including Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer and Mondrian lived and worked there. Last but not least, since I don’t speak Dutch (yet), 70% of them speak English, so I really could get by there! For now I’ll have to be satisfied reading about the adventures and interests of our other FISH LADDER Contest Co-Winner:
Co-Winner #2: Local Heart, Global Soul http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/
I’ll list Kiwidutch’s stats first to show how little that means when estimating the value of a blog. She’s a married woman with children that loves cooking, crafts and travel. She wasn’t born there (she’s from a Dutch/New Zealand family), but she married a Nederlander and has lived there 18 years. She takes good pictures of her projects and her travels, and posts them BIG on the blog.
What I like most about her blog is her curiosity, her open, inquisitive attitude. She took a picture of a typical, ordinary yellow school bus and posted it just because “there’s nothing like this in Europe”. She will encounter something that looks interesting, and then she’ll research to find out all about it. For example, on a trip to Boston she saw a fountain dedicated to Dorothea Dix, took pictures, read up about her life and wrote a terrific article on this American Saint for the blog:
Who doesn’t love food? I may not like the effect too much of it has on me, but it’s sure more fun getting fat than losing weight! Kiwidutch offers yummy, simple recipes illustrated with step-by-step photos of the process and the result. She did a series on your basic delicious all-purpose chocolate cake, then showed how to decorate it in a variety of creative ways, including as a character from Disney/Pixar’s Cars. I am no baker, but I can make this! Score one for you, Kiwi.
When I want to learn about another country, I want to see it through the eyes of one who lives there and loves it. Kiwidutch combines her interests in family, cooking and the Dutch in articles like the one about the traditional crackers (Beschuit met muisjes) decorated with pink or blue aniseeds you should offer to celebrate a new baby. She also posts about The Hague, her home town, with large, clear photos of interesting architectural sights. One recent post is about a heartbreaking loss at the Olympics by a legendary speed-skater, which she was clever enough to illustrate by taking pictures of her TV monitor during the broadcast.
So, if you love travel, food and good photos, I recommend a visit to the Netherlands (with dashes of Portugal and New Zealand) through one multi-cultural woman’s eyes.
Next Up in Part Three – A Clear Channel that’s Partly Cloudy