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6 september 2003

Reeds Gezein.

...of, ik was een Nederlander in het vroeger leven.

Ik ben Jeff, de God van Koekjes.

I love the Dutch. I love everything about them, about their country, about their history.

As the (perhaps poorly-translated) abstract above says, “I was a Dutchman in a past life.” I am completely convinced of this.

On my fateful trip to the Netherlands with a fateless (faithless?) boyfriend back in August, 1999, I discovered that I knew things about places we went, very very specific things. Especially in the village called Enkhuizen. I knew what things would look like around the next corner, before we even got there. My sense of deja vu (or 'reeds gezein', literally, though I am probably wrong idiomatically) was never stronger.

When I was in junior highschool, I inexplicably chose German as my foreign language (French and Spanish were the other choices). I found myself drawn to the culture even more than the language, up to a point. I favored North German culture to the lederhosen-wearing, warm-beer drinking Oktoberfesters of Bayern, and had a fixation on the Rhine River—its history and the events around it. All those things as close to the Netherlands as a boy in northeastern PA might get, educationally.

Taken from a certain point of view, one might say that my moves over the years have brought me closer and closer to larger and larger bodies of water. Growing up we had Toby's Creek, then in Pittsburgh, PA, there were the three rivers (Monongahela, Allegheny, Ohio). In Chicago, there was Lake Michigan. And now, in San Francisco, the Miiiiighty Pacific Ocean. For the Dutch, it's all about water. It's everywhere. And in the past, it was in more everywheres. Thanks to polders, the Dutch have more land, stolen back from the Sea.

I'm sure I'll be writing more about the Dutch in the future. The big surprise is that I haven't written about them (us?) more by now.

They're (we're :) tremendous.

Posted by jeff at 6 september 2003 16:49

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