Dutch singer Maaike Ouboter : Why you must know her and listen to "Dat ik je mis"

I'd guess you have listened to her while riding the bus, on the radio, in a store or restaurant. Maybe it's even on your playlist! It is on mine. Now, why would I want to tell you about her today? Because I would love for you to understand where the lyrics of this song come from, and to know what she's achieved in spite of her pain. To me, she's simply inspiring.

     This is how it all began: I was on the train on my way to Leuven while listening to the song Dat ik je mis. I went to stay for a few days with my high school friend Camila who currently lives in Dubai. Why was she in Belgium? Believe it or not, she was taking a Dutch summer course! Why, for goodness sake, if she lives in Dubai, right? It turns out she is married to a wonderful Belgian man, they have three lovely daughters, and she thought it was about time she started speaking better Dutch. 

     Anyway, let me get back to the song. On the train, I decided it was a song I must come back to study becaus…

Weekend Getaway: Camping in Relles Mühle

Our First Camping Trip Relles Mühle

Two years ago, my sweetheart and I talked about the possibility of camping. I got overexcited, as I tend to do when an adventure awaits around the corner, but he said, "Maybe next year." I was not pleased, but he was right. He usually is, not always, but quite often. (Don't tell him or I will never hear the end of it!) Why was it better to wait? To begin with, I had just moved to the Netherlands from Mexico. On top of that, we were trying to figure out: how to be together, who we were as a couple, and which were our new roles as individuals and as a family.
     Fast-forwarding, I'm delighted to report that it's been two years and we feel... Well, I'll leave it to the amorous you to complete that phrase. I don't want to be too corny, as my darling would say. 
     Anyway, now that the hard part is over, we are focusing on enjoying more of the simple things in life, like camping! Today, I'll be sharing our first camping…

For You: Summer Gifts from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek


     Yes! The Koninklijke Bibliotheek promotes summer reading by offering a selection of e-books and audiobooks for free. They are available until September 1st.
How can I access the material?
     You just need to download the apps:

What does the LuisterBieb offer?
     They have books for children, young adults, and adults. For example, I chose a quite new book (2019) called Antoinette by Robbert Welagen. I'm listening to it while biking; and just now, I downloaded the Kindle version so I can read it too. (I did look for it in the library, but all copies are already taken.)

What can I find in the VakantieBieb?
   Again, they have a selection for every age. For example, for young people, they are classified by age: 04-06, 06-09, 09-12, 12-15, and 15-18. For adults: Information, fiction, and suspense. You can download the book and carry it with you everywhere!

Any other tips? Do you ha…

Resources and tips for your Spreken Inburgeringexamen

     Speaking in Dutch can be intimidating if it is something you don't regularly do.Fortunately, the list of online resources to get ready for the exam are quite many, seriously!

     Now, hold on a little. Before we go and open the treasure of goodies, I would like to talk about some tips a friend of mine was kind enough to share (she wishes to remain anonymous):

Trust yourself. You might hear others recording their answers. Don't pay attention to them. Focus on what you want to say and record it.Speak with confidence. Shyness is no good company during the recording process. Even if you think it is noisy, your voice should be clear, calm, and sound.Record more than once. If you don't like how the recorded answer sounds, do it again, always being aware of time.
     Nice! Many thanks for your patience. We're ready now. Are you sitting down to receive the treasure box of material to study from? Take a look at this beauty:

     As you can see, Virtuele Training offers many …

Learning Dutch by Reading Magazines: Happinez and Zenleraar Haemin Sunim

Has it happened to you that when you do something you enjoy, time flies? The task at hand seems easy and ideas flow, do you agree? Well, learning is one example. When you take pleasure in learning, nothing can stop you, just like the song!
   As a teacher and a lifelong learner, I follow my heart as to what sources to choose in order to improve my Dutch, get ready for my inburgering exams, and feed my curious mind. I tell this to my students all the time, choose what you like and go from there. As for today, I'd like to share with you some lessons from Zenleraar Haemin Sunim I've found in the latest Happinez magazine (nummer 4, 2019, pp. 22-27).

Who is Zenleraar Haemin Sunim?      He is a Zen Buddhist teacher and writer. He is also known as the "Twitter monk" since he has more than 1 million followers. 

Learning Dutch by Listening to Music: My Spotify Playlist

Generalizations are dangerous, like the following:

Women are stubborn. Men are selfish. Dutch music is terrible.
     Are you surprised? Probably. I told you. To generalize is a dangerous thing. A weapon out of control. Still, yes. I do want to stop and talk about the last one. Music. Dutch music. It is beautiful, important, fun. It grounds you, and it also nurtures. Let me tell you what I think. I'll give you 4 reasons. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will add some Dutch songs to your playlist. Luckily, you will also avoid generalizations. 

1. Places in the Netherlands: Song "Zoutelande"

     Some songs can take you to places you might have been to, or that you would like to explore. For example, Zoutelande. It's a real place! It's in Zeeland. Have you ever been there? You might like it! (Do take me with you, please. I haven't been there and dream of it!) Well, there is this song about it. Nice, right? I'm almost certain you have heard it. 

My favorit…

Learning Dutch: Podcast Zeg het in het Nederlands

Self-studyingis one key element for proficiency when learning a language. As a teacher, I continually encourage my students to listen to a variety of resources. As a learner myself and for the last two years, all I have listened to is music in Dutch and, recently, podcasts. Today, I'm excited to share with you my latest discovery, Zeg het in het Nederlands.
     Zeg het in het Nederlands is a Dutch-language podcast which offers 5 top advantages:

My Ten Must-Have doTERRA Oils - Part 2

Last week,we had the opportunity of exploring five of my ten favorite essential oils: Breathe, Citrus Bliss, Deep Blue Rub, Lavender, andLemon. Today, I will tell you about the other five that complete the list: Melaleuca, On Guard, Oregano, Peppermint, andSerenity.  

Melaleuca has more than 92 different compounds. As a result, its applications are unlimited! I use it on cuts or if there is some kind of skin irritation since it promotes quick recovery. When having an earache,
apply it around the ear and, voila! Oh, and between your toes it works miracles! One more tip: Just as lavender, I sometimes use it on my underwear. 

On Guard
On Guard is one of doTERRA's best-selling blends because of its immune support. It contains wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon leaf, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus leaf, and rosemary leaf/flower essential oils. I own two presentations: essential oil and toothpaste. I mostly use the oil in four different ways:

My Ten Must-Have doTERRA Oils - Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, Ayşenur (a Turkish blogger herself) and I were brainstorming ideas for our next posts. One thing led to another and before we realized it, I had taken out my Deep Blue Rub and she was applying it on her neck and shoulder. When I gave her a mini-sample to take home, she wondered, "Why not write about essential oils?" To which I replied, "What a superb idea!"

   Later, after she had left, I took out my doTERRA collection and began thinking about the oils I would like to include. After debating with myself for hours and hours and hours, maybe even a couple of days, I chose only 10. Only ten?! Yes! Believe me, you don't really want to know how many I have. Or, do you?

   Breathe is a respiratory blend. This is one of my most used oils during the winter. It helps me clear my airways and breathe better when having a cold. I add some drops to my diffuser, or rub it everywhere: feet, chest, back, neck, hands (to inhale), and the tip of my…