Happy New Year

We’re 12 days into the New Year, and I’ve finally found some time to write a blog post. I would like to wish you all the very best for 2019. What a good year will encompass is different for everyone. To me personally, it should contain love, growth, and justice.

joe_strummer

Joe Strummer of the Clash once said: “Without people, you’re nothing.” It may have been the simplest of statements, yet it says it all. Without others around us, life is meaningless and, I would even dare to say, impossible. We need each other. Granted there are days I loathe the entire human race, including myself, but those are the days I should pull my proverbial cranium out of my hindquarters and get a grip. Luckily those days are rare. Most of the time I realize how lucky I am with the people in my life. I’m incredibly grateful for the amount of love, inspiration, and support I have received from them in the past year. They made 2018 a good one. This is why, to me, love is the most important ingredient for a happy new year.

Then there is the other ingredient; growth. One summer, when I was visiting in Maldon, I got introduced to this hardworking and modest guy. He had something about him that I connected with and we got talking. I found out he was keen on learning new things. He had taken a course in photography, learned to play the guitar together with his son and managed to get his GCSEs (for non-British people, this is the equivalent to your high school diploma) many years after dropping out of school while working six days a week running a tool shop. student-2052868_640Now I like to learn things, but he was taking it to a whole new level! Even though he is now one of my best friends, he probably doesn’t realize that he is the one who made me decide to learn something new every year. Not only did I pick up a lot of new skills through this resolution, but it also gave me a huge kick and more confidence. So no new year is complete without growth.

The last ingredient to a good new year is justice. That is the most tricky one as well. I see injustice everywhere around me. I see it in the big factory across the river, that knowingly spend decades covering up the toxicity of their products. I see it on my timeline, where the word refugee has become interchangeable with illegal. I see it on the streets, where the homeless people are sleeping. In the company where my husband works and where he gets paid a good wage while his Polish co-workers are robbed of their passports, work at low wages and are being beaten by their superiors. Injustice is everywhere, and it starts with us looking away. With us allowing it.

first-aid-850481_640I’m no saint. Far from it. More often than not I’m far too busy worrying about my own life than about that of those less fortunate than me. Still, I try to float back to Justice as the main item on my agenda. I can’t change the world. Hell, I can’t even run without tripping over my own feet. But with a bit of luck and a lot of help, many people together can change a little part of the world. I hope I can be one of those people.

Punctuation in British and American English

united-states-2391371_640 This blog post is my assignment for the course English Grammar and Style by UQx & edX.

English is spoken by 1.39 billion people worldwide. Some of them are casual speakers, that only speak the language occasionally. About 800 million people are using the language more frequent. They speak English on a daily basis and are either native or bilingual speakers. Although all these speakers tend to understand each other well, there are localised differences. The most apparent differences are those in the use of words. Such as the British ‘anticlockwise’ vs the American ‘counterclockwise’. However, more characteristics set the localised versions of English apart, one of them being punctuation.  Continue reading “Punctuation in British and American English”

#WhyIMake

brushes-3129361_640This blog post is my assignment for the course English Grammar and Style, lecture 1.2 by edX and a response to Infosys ‘Why I make’ video campaign. 

In essence, I think I am, and always have been, a creative person. Somewhere deep inside me, there is this drive to make something. To make anything really. As a toddler I was already scribbling notebooks full with my drawings and, as I grew on, the drawings became paintings. Later on in life, I got a camera, and I learned about the wonderful world of photography. Other arts and crafts followed and managed to spark my interest. A fair bit of tinkering also got added to the list. Welding, soldering, and pyrography. Writing is the most recent thing I picked up. This made me wonder; what is it about creativity that has such a pull on me? Why do I need to create in order to feel alive?  Continue reading “#WhyIMake”

Free Grammar Course

english-2724442_640My primary language is Dutch. Being born and bred in the Netherlands, it comes easy to me. Although there are some nasty pitfalls in the language, my gut pretty much knows how to solve grammatical difficulties. I’m not unique in this. Most people will naturally feel what is right in their own language.

When we learn another language though, it’s like being thrown in at the deep end. It is not that difficult to learn what translation each word has, but when it comes to forming sentences, it gets messy. Even more so when you start to write in that language.
For example, in Dutch, a dialog is preceded by a colon. That’s odd, isn’t it? Let’s take a look at the way the Dutch would construct a sentence with a dialog.  Continue reading “Free Grammar Course”

Feel Like It

island-1800892_640I’m sorry to say that I haven’t been completely honest with you. You came here, on my website, thinking I was a writer. But I’m not. Instead I have this secret I carry with me. I’m a highly skilled undercover procrastinator.

It all started when I first went to school. My mother wrapped me up warm that day. She sat me down on the back of her bicycle and cycled to school with me. I was excited and a little bit scared. Finally I was going to learn some of the important things that adults could do, like writing or reading! My mum took my little hand in hers and she brought me to my class. There was a little chair standing in the circle. It had a sticker on it. I remember the picture on it. It was Heidi. My mum had read the book of Heidi, the girl in the Alps, to me. There was a very sweet teacher, she said I could put my chair next to hers. So I did. Then the teacher started singing songs. Maybe they were interesting songs… or maybe they weren’t. I don’t remember, I was already looking out of the window wondering how clouds were made.  Continue reading “Feel Like It”

Makers gonna Make

tools-864983_640For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the way everything around us works. I can still remember taking a cassette deck apart at age 8. My mother was displeased about it. Granted it had probably something to do with the fact I had left the plug in while I happily poked around with my screwdriver in the exposed parts. But in the mind of an 8 year old there was no room to think about something as trivial as taking the power off. I only had eyes for the way the network of wheels distributed the tape alongside the head, which magically transferred a sound to the speakers.  Continue reading “Makers gonna Make”