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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Living in Exile

May 1952 Opa and Oma travelled from the Netherlands to Australia not knowing that they wouldn't return. Well a couple of quick trips 'home' don't really count. L and K are excited to be travelling 'back' to their birthplace to spend some time with R-V family.
Some places we are also hoping to visit are:
the Rijksmuseum, Annefrankhuis, Delft, Leiden, Voorburg, Den Haag...
K is obsessed with decorative vegetable gardens and is dreaming of visiting Castle Villandry in France. L is interested in Oxford and some other Harry Potter inspired places in the four days in England.

A friend and I (K) were talking recently about how language forms so much of our identity. I know that in speaking Japanese there are things I can say more powerfully than in English. Occasionally I am stuck for words in English because there is a better idiom or phrase capturing how I feel in Japanese. Dad spoke Dutch to his parents all their lives - I wonder how much I didn't know them because of the loss in translation! I am looking forward to learning a little more of them in the journey.

This week I have been reading the story of Daniel and what it was like to be a person whose identity was constantly challenged in an exilic setting. Nebuchadnezzar tried to seduce Daniel to assimilate and to forget home with fine wine and a royal diet. But Daniel still knew who he was. I don't think Oma and Opa experienced royal life in Australia, in fact I think Oma in particular lived in culture shock for much of her life, but they did maintain a strong sense of Dutch identity with their food, living arrangements (yes, persian rugs on every table) and language.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Our trip 2008

This is the first post for japaneurope!! K and L have booked flights for going to England and Holland. They are very excited and are doing lots of planning for the big trip. They'll be leaving on the 1st of July and staying overseas for 3 weeks. At this stage, K and L will land in London initially, where they plan to visit the M'ton's in the north for a few days, followed perhaps by a weekend in London. After this, they will make their way to the Netherlands, to stay with family there.

Gw has booked to go to Japan on the 30th June, and will return on the 20th July and he'll take Ge with him as well. If they go, Ge would like to see the hospital he was born in. We are hugely excited about this trip, although we do just wish that we could do both altogether! This is going to be our virtual trip to Europe and Japan together - if you'd like to follow us along on this trip, then check up this blog from time to time, especially at the time. As this is partially business, Gw will visit some schools whilst he is in Japan, one of which should be Waseda Uni High School in Tokyo. He would also like to visit Nagasaki to do some research for his study this year. The other exciting thing is that Ki is also going to Japan at the same time. We will meet up with her, although she initially flies in to Osaka, thanks to Jetstar! We may also visit that American 'culture', Disney...