Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Ik Ben Jarig!
Today is my birthday, and I am working. "Ik ben jarig" is Dutch for "It's my birthday." There are a couple of strange things these Dutch do on birthdays. Okay, not strange, just "particular to the culture." (re: strange)
The first thing is that if you're working somewhere, you are supposed to bring in little cakes or goodies for the other people. Interesting that that's the direct opposite of what Americans (and probably many other cultures) do. I went to the grocery store and picked up a couple of packages of little cakes (there are lots of good little cakes here) to put out during the break between classes.
I also picked up a box of chocolates for my one class today. They were absolute animals. It's the end of the year and all of my others (except my ESL students) are gone from school awaiting graduation. This was the next to last lesson, tomorrow being the last. I can't wait for it to be over. They liked the chocolates. They sang me the Dutch version of Happy Birthday, which I preferred (in this context) to the American version. They like it because at the end they get to yell Hip Hip Hooray three times really loud - although I'm sure they would disagree with my spelling. Here's the song, as I understand it (although feel free to correct me.)
Lang zal je leven,
Lang zal je leven,
Lang zal je leven in de gloria.
In de gloria, in de gloria.
Hip hip hoeree!
It's basically, Long shall you live in glory. Interesting, eh?
The second thing they do is that everyone comes up and says, "Gefeliciteerd!" That means "Congratulations!" The smart people will say, "Happy Birthday!" The dorks say, "Congratulations!" I gave the kids a little talk about that today, a little cultural lesson. Fred and I had a talk about it last night. I said, "It's not a direct translation. I know what they mean, but it just doesn't click in the native English speaking brain." Oh well, that's a battle I will be fighting for the rest of my life, isn't it? (Give in, Andy.)
The men just shake hands. The women give the three kisses, which I like, but which is a tiny bit strange since I hardly know most of them. Kiss kiss kiss.
In Andy's World, everyone gets their birthday off. However, I'm not there right now. I'm in the Hague and I'm working. That will always be a strange thing to me - working on your birthday. In my mother's company they get their birthday off. They can either take it on the day or add it to the few vacation days that they get each year.
I got up this morning and knit a couple of rounds on Fred's sweater. I would like to have just stayed there the whole day. The sweater is going well. It's just straight knitting. I'm knitting Continental and my speed is picking up. I'm already onto the second ball of yarn.