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Friday, February 27, 2009


Alaaf!!! Alaaf!!! Alaaf!!!

In the south of the Netherlands many people celebrate carnaval. Once it was the last couple of days of fun, food and drinks before the fasting starts (Lent before Easter). Nowadays, hardly anyone adheres to the fasting part but we so like to enjoy the pre-Lent party :-) Smart Dutchies!
On Saturday Jochem (a colleague) and I invited a couple of foreign colleague trainees to join us for the celebration of carnaval in Eindhoven. It was a good, but (for me) short day. The work of the week before and the rushing from one place to another (Amsterdam-Maastricht-Weert-Eindhoven) had its effect on me... Nevertheless we all enjoyed the Brabants carnaval!

On Sunday Shosh and I went for "frühstück" to my sister and her boyfriend. After a good meal (a nice layer for the coming beers...) we went to the city (Weert) to watch the parade.

After the parade it was time to hit the bars and have fun with all the other dressed-up people. As usual, this was a lot of fun! The good thing about starting so early in the day with celebrating is that you get tired relatively early and don't get back home in the middle of the night. Good thing, because I had to work the day after...

Shosh and I also booked a small vacation in the weekend of 14 March. My parents are in Egypt then and we can borrow their car. Reason for us to hit the road and go visit some of Germany's nicer places, in our case, the Mösel area near Trier and Bitburg.

More on that next time!


Sunday, February 08, 2009

(ING) Chances for Children

Work sometimes is more than just work...

The past 5 weeks I have been part of one of the Corporate Responsibility activities of ING. ING Chances for Children to be exact. The assignment was simple: join the "Native Speaker Program" and teach basic English to 11-13 year old students from a "hard-learning" school in Amsterdam. The school I am talking about is the infamous Calvijn met Junior College in Amsterdam West. It has been described in the book "Onzichtbare ouders - De buurt van Mohammed B." by Margalith Kleijwegt who is an editor at Vrij Nederland and tries to create an image of the lives of the children of this school and their homes.

The teaching actually is no more than sitting down with a group of 3-5 kids and try to have a very basic conversation with them in English. But since for some of them it is the first time the have English classes it is hard to talk with them. Nevertheless when you hit the right subject they will try to talk a lot... for the boys these subjects were computer games, brand clothing and cars. For girls you should just mention the words kids or marriage and they are happy as can be!

I can really recommend this experience to everyone because it will widen your horizon! That school has "nothing" in common with the schools I went to or taught at (in China). And you also do something good for society! Simply a win-win situation!