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Diary, November 2000

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    19  20  21  22  23  24  25
    26  27  28  29  30

Monday, November 6, 2000

A controversional picture

In the past weeks, I have come many times across a picture of a modern madonna on billboards along the road. It was posted as part of an advertisement campain by the KRO, the Dutch Catholic radio broadcasting organisation, under the title 'Het gevoel dat je wilt delen' (The feeling you want to share). In some cities, it was not shown, but replaced by a messages stating that the picture was censored. It was censored by the company that owns the billboards, not because a naked breast is visible, but because the advertisements gives a message with a religious connotation. (Yes, we live in a strange country.) On the picture is a young woman, holding a baby on her arms while looking up. Her left breast is uncovered. I wrote "young woman", not "young mother", because the form of her breast is not that of a woman who just born a child. This makes the picture rather sensual. I have no problems seeing picture of a child being weaned by its mother, or with a mother breastfeeding her child in a public place. But with this picture it is different. At the same time, I remember having seen paintings of medieval madonnas displaying this same kind of youthful breasts. But, I have never felt these paintings to be sensual. What is the difference, I wonder. Anyway, it is rather disturbing to being confronted with these kind of images on a daily bases. And I can tell you, this is really not the only one like this that I have seen in the past year.


Monday, November 13, 2000

Annabel teaching Li-Xia Dutch

When Annabel was just born, Li-Xia's mother remarked that one day Annabel would teach her Dutch. This made Li-Xia laugh. Yesterday, Annabel was working on a puzzle book which had on each page several questions each consisting of a picture with a question, and three smaller pictures representing the answers. Annabel still is not able to read the questions, so she asked Li-Xia to read them to her. Li-Xia did not have problems reading the questions, but she did not all understand all of them. Annabel often had to explain the meaning of the questions to her.

Thursday, November 16, 2000

Happy Meal Baby Furbies

Today, both Annabel and I took a Baby FurbyTM with us, which she got with a Happy MealTM. I put mine, a dark one with blue eyse, on my desk. When you presses the mouth of this Baby FurbyTM, it says at random one of the following phrases: "DoMo eten" (Dutch for "Domo eat"), "Ga Nu eten" (Dutch for: "Go eat now"), "Ika", "Da Oo Pe", "Nin Na Da", and "Hu". Some people have been busy with hacking the FurbyTM, and there is even a Upgrade Kit, to make it programmable. For this purpose it gets a RS-232 port. (Yes - UNIX geeks rejoice, your Furby will have a console port!) They are working on porting a version of Philos -- a freeware multitasking kernel -- which will be called FurbOS.


Monday, November 20, 2000

Applying for a temporary residence permit

We have decided to request for a temporary residence permit for my mother-in-law. When I phoned the police office last week it all seemed so simple. They would send me a form that I had to fill in. The form indeed arrived soon, stating that it was to help a quick application of a temporary residence permit. However, one of the requirements was that you needed to provide a copy of the passport of the person you wanted to ask the permit for. Today we received an email from my mother-in-law that for applying for a passport she needed an invitation letter with copies of our passports. This brings back all kinds of memories of our previous attempts of requesting permits and visa's, which all proved not to be so simple. I wonder how things will evolve this time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Applying for a temporary residence permit (Cont'd)

Yesterday, Li-Xia mailed the invitation letter and copies of our passports to her mother. She also phoned with some friends, and heard that for a half year temporary residence permit, you also need
  1. a birth certificate,
  2. a document proving the family relationship, and
  3. a statement of good conduct from the police.
These documents need to be legalized by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which costs 340 Yuan per document, and to do this it seems you also need to show a invitation letter and copies of the passports. This whole process takes approximately five weeks.

Applying for a new passport takes about one month. If we would follow the steps suggested by the form we received from the police, the rough time schedule could be something like:

In order to speed up this process, I have to phone the police office and ask them whether the additional documents are needed for each application of a visa or temporary residence permit. If the answer is yes, we should apply for them immediately. If the answer is no, we should not apply for them, because it is so difficult and expensive. My greatest fear is that at the police office they will no be willing to answer the question, because for them these kind of questions can only be answered after they have received the initial application form.

I just realize that it is too late again to phone. They are only open in the morning. I did think about it this morning, but then it was still too early, and when it was the right time, there were so many other things asking my attention. Bummer! I'll have to wait for tomorrow morning now. I have been so wise now to set an alarm on my computer. Li-Xia is not going to like this when I tell her this.

(detailed account, follow-up)

Thursday, November 23, 2000

White Baby Furby

I finally analyzed the phrases made by a white Baby FurbyTM. It speaks one of the following six phrases at random: "O tju ma", "Ninu", "Ma nula wa", "Ma ma ma" (singing), "Ma e e nu nai", and "Ika". The last phrase is also made by the dark baby Furby with blue eyes.

Friday, November 24, 2000

Dark Baby Furby with brown eyes

I finally analyzed the phrases made by a dark Baby FurbyTM with brown eyes. I only found three new phrases compared to the other two. This one speaks the following six phrases at random: "Ga Nu eten" (Dutch for: "Go eat now"), "Ika", "Hu", "Moa", "Mien mea ga", and "Min to lu". The first three of these are also used by the dark Baby FurbyTM with blue eyes, the one that is still standing on my desk. All of them say "Ika".

Saturday, November 25, 2000


This evening we had a dinner in the honour of the 40th wedding day of my parents. Actually, it is tomorrow that it is 40 years ago that they got married. But what is one day? We went to Grand Restaurant Savarin located in the Market Dome of the "Het Heijderbos" CenterParcs park, where we are staying for this weekend.

As a starter, I ordered: Salad of fennel and wine flavoured saurekraut, braised mushrooms and marinated tomato, finished off with cranberies. Although the saurekraut was missing, it was a very nice salad. It has been a long time ago that I had some fennel. I even tasted some cinnamon. As a main dish I ordered some fried lamb meat which was cooled down with red wine, and with some thime and laurier. It was served with sjalots, carrots, and paprika. It was nice, although I never saw the sjalots and the paprika. When the bill came, the restaurant offered to give those two dishes for free, because of the missing ingredients. Li-Xia started with a tomato soup and had a fish dish with a variaty of fish. During the dinner, I took a picture of my father and my mother.


Today, seems to have been a day of rare accidents. First, when I went walking with Andy, and on the way back, I met with my brother. Not a strange accident, because the park is not that big. But within minutes we met with a brother-in-law. Making it a little more accidentially.

Then around nine, I decided to go swimming in the Aqua Mundo, a tropical swimming pool. Just outside the villa in which we were staying, the others were coming back from the restaurant. (We had left early, because Andy was causing troubles.) My little nephews were walking ahead, busy talking, not recognizing me. I could not keep myself from shouting "Boo".

In the swimming pool, I tried out all the slides, including the wild water course. Then, when I came back, I noticed that I had lost the key of my locker. Then when I asked, it turned out it had been found. How accidently!

But this still was not the most accidential thing. When, I walked out the pool, a man and woman were talking about a small doll that was laying near the enterence, discussing that it looked like a cuddly toy of a child. When, I looked at it, I remembered that one of my nephews also had one like this, and I also recalled that I had seen it in the pool when all of us were there earlier on the day. I decided to take it with me. When I arrived at the villa, I showed it to my sister and brother-in-law, and the looked very surprised. What an coincidence that I had found it. There little son, already had complained about it being gone. It was his favourite sweety.

Sunday, November 26, 2000

Jungle Dome

Today we went to the Jungle Dome. There we met with my parents and the rest of the family. We had a hard time leaving, because every time somebody was gone. There is so much to see and play there that it is difficult to sit and wait for the others to come back. Together with my father, I climbed about halfway the central tower. With Annabel, I climbed to the top. But finally, we managed to get everybody together. Afterwards, some went swimming, I went back to our villa, and watched TV the rest of the afternoon. (It was more of taking a nap, because Andy had given us some trouble during the night.)



This evening we did not have dinner with the whole family together. My parents went for a pizza. My youngest sisters with their family went to the Market Done Restaurant, and my eldest sister and I with our families went to "Harold's Family" restaurant. As a starter, I ordered nacho's and Li-Xia had some tomato soup again. She said that this soup was better than yesterdays. The ordered a fish dish again. Yes, she likes fish very much. I ordered a Fajitas de Carne. This is a dish that consists of soft tortilla's, which you fill with the meat (beaf in my case), and some of the three sauces that are served with it. The three sauces are advocado (green), cream (white), and pepers (red).



When we were feeding Andy, he suddenly looked around, saw my father and said very clearly "Opa" (Dutch for "Grandpa"). This is the first time, Andy said "Opa" to his grandfather.


When everything was ready, I decided to go for a swim again, just like yesterday. It was after nine that I left for Aqua Mondo. There were not much people. I took the wild water course. It really feels nice to let yourself go with the water. Afterwards, I felt very relaxed and wished that I could do this every evening.


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