Don't like opera? A guide on where to start

You don't like opera. Could you please bear with me for a few minutes? I have wonderful news!

     It's not that you don't like it. Rather, one must develop a taste for it; and once you do, believe me, there is no turning back. 

What is so special about opera?
     It's a feast to the senses, a thrilling experience. You listen to an orchestra and superb singing, voices that have trained for decades; see the lighting, costumes, and stage production; and by combining it all with superb acting, you get to escape to another world and experience romance, drama and tragedy, even humor. 

Can you fall in love with it?
     If you choose to, totally yes!

As David B. Devan said, “Open ears and a warm heart is all you need.” Whatever your profession or background is, you can find something to relate to. It's a matter of will. It's up to you.The music is sublime. It can take you to places like the underworld (L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi), a bullfight in Seville, Spain (Car…

Bluetooth and Artificial Organs: Dutch Inventors!

It's 6:30 am. I'm merrily biking to the pool. Merrily, happily, sleepy and all. It's dark and chilly. I love dark and chilly and quiet, rustig. There's mist everywhere. It feels as if I were interrupting someone's spell. While at it, I'm listening to a Dutch podcast, Zeg Het in Het Nederlands. (We've talked about it before.) It's episode #11. It includes the story behind the Bluetooth, and I think to myself..."what a wonderful world..." Just kidding! I do think, "How interesting. Just now my earphones are connected via Bluetooth to my phone, and the app Schwung is using the same technology as well."

     Later, after having swum, taught, cleaned and cooked, I asked my sweetheart, "Did you know a Dutch guy invented the Bluetooth?" He said it didn't sound like it. He said maybe a Danish. At first, I hesitated since my Dutch is not so good (een beetje slecht) and many, many times I do get things wrong. But did I really…

Learning Dutch and the Difference Between White and Brown Eggs

To buy eggs,

or not to buy...

That's not the question!

     The question is: Why do people keep buying brown eggs even when they are more expensive than white ones? Maybe you already know, but I had no idea! Last Monday at Dutch school, my classmates and I finally learned the answer to this spooky question!
How did the teacher introduce the topic? By watching an educational show on SchooltvWat is het verschil tussen witte en bruine eieren?
Which eggs are more expensive? Brown eggs.
Which eggs are the most sold in the supermarkets? Brown eggs.
Where lies the secret of the egg's color? In the chicken's earlobe! In de kleur van de kip oorlelletje!
What?! Yes. If the earlobe is red, brown eggs. If it's white, white it is!
Is the quality different between the two? No. It's exactly the same. Identiek.
Why, then, are brown ones more popular? In the past, chickens were usually kept in battery cages,legbatterijenBecause of their grotesqueness, most Dutch people decided to switch to free…

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 …