If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


18 FEB 2018

DELFT - Carnival is an old custom in Europe where it mostly has been about common folk dressing in costume and mocking their betters. It is a period of revelry before the Christian religion gets serious about faith: those who believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead, after being crucified, are called to lament before Easter.

There are several clubs for Carnival, and likely prizes for best outfit. During the week, I am most aware of the pub on the corner, down from my house. 11 months out of the year, it is billiards and pool, played with a mug of draft in hand. Quiet place. In February, they host a club, make noise and have a good time. During the last month of winter, God willing and the canals don't rise, folks get tired of being indoors and feel like a little fun. Thus, we have a 'get goofy' Carnival.

Carnival in the Year of the Dog dopz-2018-02-18w

Delft has enjoyed a week of sunshine. It is February so still cold, but it is also Carnival time. No one will confuse Delft's version with those everywhere else. Here, clubs are linked to a pub, they march about behind brass bands, and pause for a smoke before going inside where it is warm.

Lately, I notice I am including myself more when I write about Dutch reactions. I have not lived in the US since around 2008 - 10 years now. Figuring cost in dollars against the euro is done with. Centigrade and Fahrenheit are gone too. If it is cold, it is cold regardless whether the temperature is labeled 0 or 32. Good morning sounds the same to me in English or Dutch as does thank you and goodbye.

It appears that I am better at seasons as well. Coming from Texas, for the most part, I was adjusted to a long, hot summer and a cool, short winter. It has taken a while to acquire winter clothing. I still have my Texas clothes but hardly ever have a chance to wear any of it. I am far from being 'Dutch' but, as with my winter jacket, I have a layer of it.

This is the Chinese Year of the Dog, an earth-linked dog which is different from a fire-linked dog, so I read. The US president is forecast to have a troublesome year - seems he is a fire-linked dog and the year is not.

Holland is quiet pleased with their showing at the Olympics and was overjoyed when their team won 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the women's 3,000. Also, it was fascinating to see the new, tranquil face of North Korea.

The US Vice President did not look comfortable at events or with those seated near him. He was petulant, staying seated when North and South Korea marched together by his viewing stand. He stood for the US team.

At home, a Dutch MP has resigned over lying about Mr. Putin's vision for Russia. It seemed odd here, because we do not expect our politicians to lie. Sure, they fudge numbers and promise the moon and stars, but lie?

Arguing the immigrant's view, I think I am a working mix of America and Holland. Family still in the US complements family here - enriches me. I am with Dutch regularly, live by their customs. No longer a tourist.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen