Wednesday, September 01, 2004


I thought today was going to be my last day at Slotervaart, a nursing home I have been volunteering at. But some guy is in the hospital and I will probably stay on for another few weeks. It's really very low demand. It's stand behind a bar and set up glasses of orange juice, apple juice and chocolate milk and this stuff called Advocat, which is a thick, orange liquid with a fair amount of alcohol in it. Advocat looks sweet, but I've heard it's not. I've thought about having a taste, but I'm always sort of not in the mood.

When the residents come in, the floor volunteers take orders on a little sheet and hand those to us. We fill the orders. There's also coke and diet coke and other kinds of soda available. There's beer and wine and this "young gin," which is a very Dutch-specific thing. We fill the trays while the musician of the day is performing. And at the intermission, the floor volunteers get the drinks and some snacks that appear via a kitchen person and they serve the residents. It's actually a nice nursing home. People are happy and they are entertained and taken care of.

The musicians are a wild and widely varied mix. Last week was a clarinet quartet. We had a woman with an old music box. We usually have singers with old Dutch songs. It's wacky. I don't know if they are paid or if they are volunteers. They are always presented with a bouquet of flowers by one of the residents who is usually led up by one of the floor volunteers.

It's a nice slice of Dutch life. It's very real. Everyone is real, the volunteers and the residents. It's lots and lots of Dutch. But it's completely no challenge. I'm protected by the bar. I don't have to deal with the residents or anything challenging. I feel like it's a waste of my time. I would much rather do something else. I am usually with a nice Indonesian-Dutch mix woman. She totally looks like a transvestite, but I think she's just aging and is trying to keep a youthful look. She wears a long dark wig. She looks good and her age is a mystery, so I guess it's doing the job. I'll see her next week.

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