It’s about 4:30 AM here. I usually would be asleep at this hour, but I woke up all hot and thirsty and now I haven’t been able to get back to sleep. About a week ago, the weather finally started to feel like spring (YUSS!), so sometimes when the heater kicks on, it’s too hot. Most places don’t have or really need air conditioning, but we’ll probably have to get a fan soon.

Graduate students at Codarts have to complete an artistic research project that they work on throughout the whole duration of their study. Will is doing a project on transcriptions for bass clarinet, and he had a meeting with his research coach where he learned that he must keep a “portfolio” documenting all the time he’s spent working on his project. Apparently, you have to document how much time you do ANYTHING related to your research and artistic development.

Neither of us really see the point of it. What are they going to do with that information? The time it takes to do something can vary so much from person to person. For example, a native English speaker may be able to power through a book in a week, while a student coming from, say, somewhere in Asia may take a month to do the same.

Also, it’s okay to document things like time spent on a train if you’re taking a trip somewhere to get documents, have a lesson etc., even if you take a nap while in transit. In that case, what other things could he document? We starting running around the lake, which boosts lung capacity and endurance. Put it in the portfolio. Did you think about your project on your way to school?! Put it in the portfolio.

Anyway, I started writing this whole thing about research because after I wrote the first paragraph of this post, my sleeping husband rolled over and said, “Report tray…mmmidunno….” He’s probably dreaming about research!!! Put that in the portfolio STAT!


I actually started this post because I’ve had a couple funny conversations I’ve been wanting to share. By this point in our assimilation to our new country, we’re pretty used to seeing and hearing things that would be deemed out of the ordinary in the U.S. and taking them in stride. Sometimes I get caught off guard still.

One example is that there are some things you would probably never hear an American joke about, but they’re fair game here. One time before church, I was talking to a Scottish man, who was telling me about his grandchildren.

“I have two grandchildren. They’re 4 and 6 years old.”

“Oh, cute!”

“Yes, but they are terrorists.”

What? He must have said “terrors” instead.

“Oh, haha…”

“Yes, they are in Al Quaeda. They kick my dog.”


I was so surprised, it took all my self-control to keep myself from busting out laughing right there. It was time to start the service, so I walked to my place in choir and proceeded to try to sing without giggling. Not as intense as my reaction to the Kelly Family, but still difficult.

Another time, I taught Sunday school to the 8- to 9-year-old group. Most of the kids speak Dutch as their first language, but they usually understand English and can speak a little bit. Our church is international and is supposed to operate in English, so we teach them in both languages.

In my class, I had a very sweet and attentive boy sporting an orange mohawk-looking thing (not that the mohawk really has anything to do with this story). This kid’s grasp of English was surprisingly good for his age. He came up to me at the end of class, and I thought maybe he was going to say goodbye. 


“In America, there are many Mormons.”

Still in teacher mode, I said, “Yes, well, in some parts of the country that’s true.”

The kid nodded and walked off. No one had said anything remotely about Mormons all day. What just happened? I looked at my friend Ediri, who was helping me that day, and we lost it. I think we laughed for a solid 2 minutes.

So, if you get the chance to move to another country, you may feel overwhelmed and frustrated sometimes, but to balance it out, you’ll probably get a few good laughs out of the whole experience. Freaking put that stuff in the portfolio!