December 4, 2010

Bieber Fever, Chanukah Pants and the Sint

Well, it's that time of year again, of good cheer, plenty of snow (I believe I've mentioned that earlier), and the holiday season. Moreover, the end of the semester is in clear view - next week is the last study week before the test period. For me, as a lecturer, that means I can prepare one last lesson for each course, and almost breathe a sigh of relief - but then a week later I will have about a zillion tests to correct. And meetings, oh yes, many meetings.

But all that is jumping ahead, because I'd love to share what I've been up to today - may I mention Saturday - a day of rest? I was up at 8:40 a.m. Why? Well, because at exactly 9:00 a.m. the early bird sale of Justin Bieber concert tickets for Ahoy Rotterdam were going on sale. And sorry, but without these tickets my daughter (yes, of course, she's a big fan) and I might never again have a chance to attend a concert together - soon she'll be too old and won't want me there.... so, yes, I was willing to sacrifice my morning rest to get online and grab those tickets. Believe me, it was no easy feat. There was a long wait, with much suspense, many error messages, and 2 laptops working at the same time... but finally - the golden tickets were purchased!

Next, I jumped into my trusty little car and raced off to Amsterdam for some Intervision - which I attend every 2 months in order to share experiences with other counsellors/ coaches.

After a scary slippery drive back in what seemed to me a terrible blizzard, it was time to prepare the Sinterklaas surprises.
For those of you not familiar with this holiday - what can I say? It's not Xmas, so many Jewish families do celebrate, although the main character, who bears some resemblence to Santa, is called 'The Sint' ('The Saint' in English.)  The 'fun' part is preparing a ridiculously large arts and crafts project with a small inexpensive present inside (it's the thought that counts), along with a personalized poem for the person you pulled out of a hat. Usually each family puts their names into a hat and pulls out one name only - imagine if you had to create 4 or 5 of these handcrafted objects!

This year, Sinterklaas falls on the 5th night of Chanukah. Which means that Jewish kids all over Holland are asking their parents - "Should I put out my shoe (for the Sint) or my Chanukah pants?" Just kidding, there are no Chanukah pants, (or are there?... look at these pajamas!) ....but there are presents, and chocolate, and the miracle of the Chanukah candles...

So, between the great JB coming to Holland, the chocolate and gifts, the variety of holidays and the darkness of December -  it does seem a little hard to concentrate on the last week of teaching. I can imagine some of my students might feel the same.

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