Diary December 2003



By now, I’ve written 15 poems and had fun writing them. The anticipation is the most fun, honestly. All of them are a bit rude, but that’s tradition. We’ll be celebrating Sinterklaas on December 6th with my in-laws. It’s the most ingrained Dutch celebration. I did an internship at a women’s rehab in the USA once. We had written every single one of the women a poem, which were met with disinterest or confusion. When we knocked on one of our friends’ door and threw some sweets through his open window, he almost went to get his rifle. For context; we were dressed as Zwarte Piet, something Americans find distasteful. No thanks, I prefer the Netherlands.


Lie, Hein’s mother, comes to visit every Friday afternoon. She’s an avid Scrabble player. I’ve become one too. Every Friday afternoon we play a game or two. It’s fun and I’m not too bad at it. Besides, she makes the best pea soup, both easily edible and delicious.


Last Saturday we laid our friend Lucy to rest. It was a bittersweet farewell. I’m in an odd position when it comes to condoleances. I should be dead already and I could die pretty soon, so everyone is more dramatic towards me at funerals. I don’t know what to do in situations like that, so I just bawl along with them. This world is strange. She was still healthy when I was already sick for 2 years. During the first year of my illness, she came to visit every third Wednesday afternoon to have lunch with me. She brought sausage rolls and drove Ward to tennis practise. She was part of our family rituals. Until she got breast cancer. She passed away on December 9th, 2003.


I always keep in mind that I have a limited amount of time left. It keeps me from making certain investments. I don’t have an automated home, a computer on my wheelchair or a downstairs bedroom. I’ve worn the same coat for years, to the kids’ chagrin. I can go on and on. Hein experiences time differently and has been asking himself if it would be useful to have an extra sun room built as a bedroom. What can I do? Change my perspective? That’s scary to me. After all, I’m a bit superstitious and I think it may have been my previous convictions that kept me alive. I don’t know.

Theatre visit

I went to see a Sanne Wallis de Vries show on Monday evening. I had been looking forward to it, but left feeling a bit disappointed. Tonight, wel’ll be going to see the Cambridge King’s Collega Choir sing Christmas carols. I’m wondering what the kids’ll thinkg about it (I think they were most impressed about the kind of crowd the choir attracted, we saw a few celebrities and politicians). Lately, I’ve tended to fall asleep during live performances. I didn’t like the show much on a visual level, so my head lolled forward and, in no time, I was fast asleep.

Family holiday

We went on holiday with Hein’s family in the weekend before Christmas, in a cottage in Otterlo. It was great, even if the weather wasn’t. We went to Deventer to go to a Dickens style Christmas market. We also visited Het Loo Palace. When we left on Monday morning, the rain turned to snow. A bit too late, but it did look beautiful.

Christmas break

Christmas break started with our family holiday and Ward’s school gala. I thought it was a bit overboard to buy Ward new clothes for the gala, but Floor made it clear that not doing so would be a grave mistake. When Ward and his friends did their research and concluded that buying clothes at C&A wouldn’t be that pricy, we gave in. Thus, we now have a son with fancy black pantaloons, a white shirt and a matching vest to wear at Christmas dinner. We celebrated every December celebration at home.

Christmas Eve with friends, Christmas Day with friends and New Year’s Eve with friends again. Hein put a lot of work in. My task was to compile shopping lists. The kids have become so skilled in setting tables that I barely had to do anything. I’ve noticed that most of my rituals have become family-wide, I didn’t even have to take charge while buying fireworks, Ward was happy to take the helm. I tried to mitigate a bit, but still ended up paying 55 euros.

Hein was completely in charge. The festive ambience made things that much more atmospheric. Sadly, I got a sore throat on Christmas Eve and felt a bit under the weather for the rest of Christmas. Even that didn’t spoil our holiday spirit. Like the rest of the country, we spent Boxing Day watching the final Lord of the Rings movie, which was amazing but a bit too long. Once again, I couldn’t get through it without crying. We also went to a live music show. Hein visited Brussels. Right now, it’s 12:00 on Thursday, January 1st 2004 and the whole family including three of Floor’s friends are still fast asleep, while I’m writing this diary entry. I think I’m going to have a little nap as well.

Happy New Year.
It’s snowing!!