“Robert. Your girlfriend stresses me out..."

Trip Start Jan 31, 2010
Trip End Jul 21, 2010

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Where I stayed
Robert's House

Flag of Netherlands  , Utrecht,
Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday catches up with me, I sleep in and bum around for most of the day, skyping with someone wonderful and playing uke with Robert. He's committing a lot of time practicing for a concert he and his fellow Swinc. members have coming up. Rehearsal today was cancelled as one of them is in Germany for the weekend playing in other bands. This doesn’t stop Robert practicing, as he records everything they do onto tape with his stereo (freaking sweet!) and he then spends the next weeks playing along and soloing over his own violin parts. He believes he is yet to master the ability to improvise, so also plays along with whatever cd he puts on. The violin is never packed away, and never out of arm’s reach upstairs.

I realise I have a bit of left over material from dress making escapades, so decide this is the perfect time to make toys for people back home. I cut up the pattern pretty quick then head over to the Museum again. The process takes a little longer than expected, but it feels great that I’m doing something. The girl working in the studio asks if I’m the guy who made the dress, as they’re aren’t a lot of us down here. She wanted to put it in the fashion show the museum was having at the end of the exhibition. Too bad I’ve sent it home already, but submit photos of it to the competition instead. I have never seen so many easily scared seven-year-olds. Their parents explain it’s because I’m speaking to them in English, which they don’t really learn until later in their educational life. I didn’t think hello was that intimidating, apparently I was wrong.

I finish up as the museum closes, helping them pack up the machines as quick as we can. The other workers in the museum don’t always wait for them to pack up so there have been occasions where the alarms have gone off or they’ve been locked in, so we need to be at the doors by five.

I return to Robert’s with my half finished creatures under my arm. He notes that I’ll make a wonderful housewife one day, and wonders if I would like to come out and see his garden. I see the double standard, and would love to. All the houses along Robert’s side of the street, along with a few around, have all pitched in to keep a patch of land clear from developers for use as a communal garden. Every person in on it has their own patch to maintain and do with as they wish, while they are also able to call on the others for help with bigger projects. A meeting room/office/tool shed sits in the middle of the space, and Robert recounts several heated discussions with other members about the height of hedges, the governmental control and people stealing his plants. At present he and Marja share on section to maintain, but there is very little growing here at the moment due to the cold.

The canals feed here as well, the delta project criss-crossing under houses throughout the city. I see a recovered shopping trolley from the depths, all rusted steel and muck. In Melbourne they have bounty hunters for shopping trolleys, Robert says they stopped the need here by making it harder to get the trolleys out of the centre. You have to sign up for one and fill out so much paperwork people gave up on it.

Dinner is at Marja’s, this time we are also joined by Jan, which is a nice addition. There is a strange tension between Robert and Jan, perhaps involving Marja, but this goes unsaid for much of the night. I rush back to Robert’s to get a CD of tunes for Jan. I’m not sure if he will like all of them, but music is made for sharing.

Robert brings up the issue of my visa with Marja, who is against using Walter at all, as people will ask lots of questions and things will take time and government people cannot be trusted. For some hours we talk about this, seeming to move very little. Some things should not be talked about over food.

"Robert. Your girlfriend stresses me out…"

He smiles.
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