Archive for the ‘peace and love’ Category

If you have children, there will come a time when they will want a puppy. Choosing to add a dog to your family is a fantastic idea, particularly for children, because it teaches them a lot about caring for others and loyalty, and it allows them to build lasting friendships. However, you shouldn’t just pick any dog you come across, particularly if your children are still very young or otherwise not used to dogs. There are a number of steps you should take into consideration before you pick your new four-legged friend.

family-friendly-dogsYour Family Dynamics

First of all, you need to do some soul searching. What sort of house do you live? How does your family operate? Will your children help to look after the dog? What kind of behaviour does the breed that you are considering generally exhibit and is that appropriate for your family? How much energy is in your own lifestyle and can you exercise your dog? How much living space is available for the new addition to the family? These are all very important considerations to make.

Pedigree or Not?

Next, you need to start considering the breed in earnest. Do you want a full pedigree, a mixed breed or a mongrel? There are pros and cons to each of these options. For instance, with a full pedigree, you know the dog’s complete history. However, they are more expensive and often have complicated health problems. Mixed breed dogs, on the other hand, are each completely unique, although that also means that it may be more difficult to determine its personality. Different dogs have different temperaments and you need to consider this.

The Breeds and Temperaments

It is now time to really start looking into the different breeds. Take the time to look at the characteristics and temperament of different dogs, but also at what sort of grooming and exercise they need. Don’t simply look at pictures and pick the dog that you think looks the cutest. Dalmatians, for instance, look adorable and are everybody’s favourite dog since The 101 Dalmatians, but they are largely unsuitable for families with small children. You need to find a dog that is friendly for families, which means you need a dog that can be trained, that is affectionate and that, above all, wants to please its owners. Sporting breeds such as gun dogs and hunting dogs are generally the best for this. Do remember, however, the owner of the dog plays a big part in how the dog behaves, and that means even the sweetest dog can become vicious if mal-treated.

Getting Your Puppy

Finally, you are ready to actually go and find your puppy. There is something to be said for going to an animal shelter, as this means you will rescue a dog that would otherwise not get a home, and possibly would get put down. However, the problem with shelter dogs is that you don’t know how they have been treated in the past and how they will respond to your family, even if their breed would class them as “friendly”. Additionally, it is likely that your child will much prefer a puppy.

You must, at all times, make sure you only work with recommended and properly registered kennels if you are to purchase a puppy. This will guarantee that you will purchase a puppy that is healthy and that has been raised properly, meaning it immediately had lots of exposure to other people. Do also make sure you visit your puppy more than once and that the whole family gets to know him or her a little bit before you bring the puppy home. Above all, remember that you have just added someone to your family, and this is an addition for life.

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I struggled for a long time in deciding whether or not I was going to write this particular blog.  See, the following story isn’t controversial.  It isn’t political.  It doesn’t attack the system or open your eyes to injustices in the world.  However, it is a story about positive energy, and that is also a recurring theme in this blog.  What I struggle with, however, is that this is my own story.  This is what happened to me.  I wasn’t sure whether I was ready or not to share it.  I wasn’t sure whether or not I was ready to have people know exactly what has been going on inside me for the past few years.  But then I thought, I have learned from the two seriously horrible experiences that I have gone through.  It has given me a positive outlook on life.  It has changed the way I am profoundly and for that, I thank these horrible experiences.  So, I think I am ready to tell what has happened, not in the least because it will make me feel better – I hope.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, I fell pregnant for the first time.  I was over the moon.  It was planned, it was the next logical step in our relationship, it was right.  Everything went well, until, at 22 weeks pregnancy, I went for a scan and something seemed wrong.  I had what is known as Intra Uterine Growth Retardation, which meant my baby wasn’t growing.  I spent four weeks on bed rest and had to deliver at 26 weeks.  My baby had only grown a little bit since that 22 week scan, meaning she was just 1lb and half an ounce in weight.  I ruined my body in delivering her, forfeiting my chance of ever delivering naturally again.  Small price to pay, to be honest.  Piper was born and she fought like mad.  She fought for six weeks, until she finally had to give up.  See, I am hugely pro-choice.  I don’t care what your reasons are for abortion, if you need one, it is your decision.  However, I beg of people, please don’t leave the abortion limit at 24 weeks.  That is a living, viable child that doctors will deliver and leave to die.  24 weeks is too late.  This was one of the positive lessons I learned from this horrible experience.  Abortion is ok, but only to a point.  What I mainly learned, however, is what it means to be a parent, to be willing to give your life up for someone else without having to think about it.  What I learned is what true love means and that is the lasting legacy of the very short life of my gorgeous little girl and for that, I thank her every day.  Losing her was the worst day of my life, but at least I had the pleasure and honour of knowing her for six weeks.

Three Months Ago

Since Piper was born and died, I’ve had two miscarriages before finally giving birth to a gorgeous little boy, who is my absolute life.  However, a few months ago, we felt the time was right to try one more time.  I was about to give up when the magical second blue line appeared.  I was pregnant.  Once again over the moon, I went to a festival with some friends and was dancing to some beautiful music when I felt a pang.  Worried that I was miscarriaging, I checked for blood but there was none.  Suddenly feeling very faint, I grabbed on to the nearest first aider, who took me to the Red Cross post that was at the festival.  My blood pressure kept dropping and eventually they decided to rush me to hospital.  From here on end, things went from bad to worse.  The pain I have experienced is still fresh in my mind and I don’t think it will ever go away.  I was delirious, decided to get up and fainted.  At 6 foot tall, that is quite a drop, and I suffered a significant concussion from my fall.  Eventually, a scan revealed what the surgeon feared: I was having an ectopic pregnancy and it had ruptured.  I was, basically, bleeding to death.

Rushed to the surgery room, in my delirious state, I thought the surgeon was trying to murder me when they were putting a mask on me to put me under anaesthetic.  I fought like made, getting the mask off some three or four times before finally going under.

When I woke up, I had once again been sliced open.  The doctor rushed to my side and explained it had been a really close call.  I had lost almost four litres of blood and ended up having seven bags of blood, which still left me anaemic.

My world was shattered.  Strangely, not because of losing a child.  The baby was never a baby to me, since it wasn’t viable anyway.  What worried me was that I had come so close to losing my life.  Really dying.  Right after I was dancing in a field to some beautiful music.  What was that about?  I now have post-traumatic stress disorder as well.  That stupid anaesthetic cap won’t leave me alone and keeps coming back to me.  I struggled with the whole dying thing.  I was so bloody easy.  There was no white light, there was no outer body experience, no nothing.  I was just gone.  And worst of all, the world didn’t stop with me.  That was a really weird experience and it made me feel quite insignificant.  And to top it all of, I can’t have kids anymore now because of the three sections your out rule and because it’s too risk…

Now, I promised you something positive, but I had to get the horrible bits of my chest.  In fact, I wrote this quite a few days ago now, toying with whether or not to post it.  It’s such a personal story and still so raw.  But I need to get it off my chest.  I went to see my therapist yesterday who said there is nothing else he can do for me.  I guess I have reached a new level of crazy…  What he really meant was that I need more specialised treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, which I will be getting soon, but it still felt pretty weird being told that.

Now for the positive note, however.  I have learned something hugely important.  You know when people say you could cross the street and get hit by a bus?  They mean it.  You really can have the best day of your life and find yourself dead a few hours later.  I have learned that you don’t have a minute, not even a second, to waste in this lifetime.  It will, one day, be over.  Just like that.  Your day may be today, it may be tomorrow, or it may be in 100 years, but your day will come.  I have learned that I will therefore not spend a single moment of my day doing something I genuinely don’t want to do (I would love to give up my job, but there’s no chance of that lol).  I won’t spend another second of my life being bored.  I will seize the day, every day, all day long.  I will tell people how I feel, that I love them and that they matter to me.  I will make them know that they make life worth living.  I want to tell everybody that you shouldn’t be complacent.  Don’t live your life doing things because you have to, do them because you want to.  Wake up every morning with a smile on your face and remember it is another day in which you have a chance to be happy and change the world.  I’ve gone through hell and back and through absolute shit, but I am grateful for that, because it has made me who I am and I, personally, really like myself.

As humans, we are a species.  We are mammals, and as such we have certain things, on a biological level, that we have to adhere to.  We have to eat and drink, we have to breathe etc…  However, we have a great amount of choice and we have free will.  We can choose not to drink any alcohol, we can choose not to eat meat.  These are all biological factors.  What I am far more interested in, is how we should behave towards each other.  How we should co-exist.

We Are Driven to Be Selfish

One thing that I notice again and again and again is that we seem to be driven more and more to only think about ourselves.  Some of these messages are subtle.  For instance, we know we need a roof over our heads to live comfortably, but have you ever thought why we need to have one house per family, rather than living in a commune together?  This is one of the many subtle messages that we are being exposed to, but there are also some far less subtle ones.

Take the culture of suing others for instance.  Say you have a car accident, a pretty minor one that just happened.  How quick will you be to run to the doctors, claim whiplash and claim some compensation on the insurance of the other party?  We are being told in popular culture and by the media over and over again that we should do this.  It is our right to sue someone, it is our right to amass money.  In fact, we need money, otherwise we are nobody.  But by suing someone, you are suing another human being, a human being that also has a life and feelings.  If this was just an accident, and accidents happen, how can we be so mean and cruel to our fellow humans?  Because we are desensitised to the plight of other human beings, that’s why.

A good example was given to me a while ago: if you walk past a dead body, you will probably be shocked.  But how many dead bodies along the way will it take for you to no longer be shocked?  That is desensitisation and that is what is happening around us all the time.  And it’s scary.  It’s scary because it means we have gotten so used to hardship in others that we don’t even see it anymore.

Another good example for me is authority.  We always have people in authority, but why is that?  For me, it’s an element of trust.  People in authority don’t trust others to make the right decisions.  People who need a figure of authority don’t trust themselves to make the right decisions.  Because of this, like sheep, we look towards a leader who tells us what to do.  And if this leader tells us that we need to think about number one first, and no one else, we do it.

What Should it Be Like?

I personally believe in co=existing.  We are here together, we share this planet, we have lines that link us all together.  Why not nurture those lines?  Why not be there for each other?  If I have something you don’t, why can’t I just share that with you?  No doubt a time will come that you have something I need and you can share it with me.  Why don’t we live together, help each other take care of one another?  Why aren’t we co-existing as humans?

This isn’t about privacy.  Everybody is entitled to privacy.  Everybody is entitled to have a space for themselves, some time to just be with their self.  We are, after all, individuals.  But is there any need for us to be so individualistic?  I personally believe in community.  I believe in helping people who need my help.  And I don’t give this help because I may need help back at some point.  I hope beyond hope that I will never need help.  But I also believe that if the time were to come that I do need help, someone will be there for me too, because that is how a community works.  That is how we should all co-exist.  Instead of focusing on our differences and using them to elevate one belief or behaviour above another, why not celebrate differences and use these differences to learn more?

It is a scary thought that in this day and age, child labour and slave labour is still being used.  As terrifying as that is, we sort of know and understand that it still happens in “less developed” parts of the world.  However, if we were to know that an item that we use was made by children or through slave labour, we wouldn’t buy it right?  Wrong.  The range of companies on the big markets that use child and slave labour is absolutely frightening.  Of course, they also say they “don’t know” or that “there’s nothing they can do”.  Yeah, whatever.  So, let’s take a look at the brands you should avoid as much as possible.  Oh and one other problem is that one company often manufactures multiple products under different names, so you may not even be aware that you are still shopping from this company.  For instance, Proctor & Gamble (they don’t use child labour, they just test on animals in horrifying ways…) produce Andrex and Febreze.  So, I’ll also add a number of the products you should avoid.

Philip Morris

Philip Morris has actually admitted that 72 children work on the tobacco forms from which Philip Morris buys its plants.  The youngest of these was just 10 years old.  The problem is that they only admitted this when they were forced to by the Human Rights Watch.  Philip Morris only took a very small part of the blame as well.  The details on these 72 children (be aware that evidence has been found for just 72 children, that doesn’t mean there aren’t actually more) are horrifying.  They have neck and stomach rashes, their passports were confiscated, essentially enslaving them, and they were force to work overtime without receiving additional pay.  Philip Morris is yet to live up to their promise of changing these situations.

Philip Morris also makes Basic, Marlboro, Cambridge, Benson & Hedges, Commander, Chesterfield, English Ovals, Dave’s, L&M, Lark, Parliament, Merit, Saratoga, Players and Virginia Slims.  Don’t light any of those up in other words!

Victoria’s Secret

Ah, the one place all of us women run to when we want to seduce our significant others or new mates.  Well don’t, basically.  Yeah, they say that they only use “fair trade cotton”, but that is like saying a meal is “gourmet”, it actually means jack shit.  Victoria’s Secret uses cotton grown in Burkina Faso.  Here, it has been a known fact that there is not enough labour available to run the farms, so they turn to children instead.  So yeah, it’s fair trade because it comes from Africa, but it actually means that you are buying fabrics that are made from cotton picked by a little 13 year old girl who sleeps under a piece of plastic, getting shouted at to get up and go to work.  Oh and who gets beaten with sticks if she’s not quick enough.  This is no something that is a debate, it is a known fact.  Burkina Faso quite readily admits these practices go on.  And Victoria’s Secret readily admits they get their cotton from Burkina Faso.  But when asked about his, the shrug and change the subject.  Because Victoria’s Secret was eventually forced to make a statement, they said they would investigate it.  The result?  The “fair trade” label has been removed.

Chinese Factories and KYE

Remember I said above that we sort of know that child labour happens in under developed countries?  So it probably won’t surprise you when I say there are lots of Chinese factories that use slave and child labour.  After all, the Chinese are not particularly big on human rights.  What will surprise you, perhaps, is the amount of well-known brands that use KYE and other Chinese factories to create their branded products.  In these factories, employees are housed in dorms, 14 to a room.  Instead of a shower, they are issued a plastic bucket and a sponge.  They work 15 hour shifts with no weekend breaks at all.  There is no air conditioning in boiling hot environments.  They are not allowed to speak to each other.  They have to take part in military drills and women are subjected to sexual harassment.   And in return, they receive $0.65 per hour.  So, who uses these factories?

Some of the main branded products that use KYE and other Chinese factories include Microsoft and Apple (we will look at them in more detail later on).  Nokia is another guilty party.

Toys ‘R’ Us, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Aeropostale

Each of these say they have stringent contracts in place to ensure that the cotton they receive uses “legally qualified workers”.  They are lying.  They buy their cotton from Uzbekistan, where the government removes children from school and sends them to work.  So yeah, they are “legally qualified”, but not by any humane standards.  Nothing at all is being done about this, besides a statement that “they would look into it”.  Profit before people, clearly.

Hershey’s Chocolate

Hershey has been using child labour in their cocoa farms for ever.  It is only since the Rainforest Alliance told them they would air a video that showed the child labour and the conditions in which they have to work that they made a real change to produce ethically sourced chocolate.  However, there are still thousands upon thousands of children that harvest cocoa beans for Hershey’s in West Africa today.  The only product you can buy from Hershey’s chocolate that doesn’t use child labour, in fact, is Bliss Chocolates.  But why not just boycott the lot?

Apple

Apple has recently admitted that they use child labour.  They couldn’t do anything else by admit it when eleven 15 year old kids were working in the factories that Apple uses.  These are some of the KYE factories described earlier.  However, the same practices go on in the other factories that supply Apple with products.  Apple has promises that they have looked into this and that these practices really aren’t happening anymore.  Well, don’t believe them since only last week 62 employees at an Apple and Nokia factory were poisoned by n-hexane.  Naturally, Apple is yet to comment on this one.

Primark

This one really breaks my heart because I freaking love Primark.  But yeah, I should’ve known that offering products as cheaply as this can only come from unethical practices.  In fact, a documentary from the BBC has proven that 11 year old children sew the products that are sold in the Secret Possessions Range of Primark.  Primark places huge pressures on their suppliers to provide items quickly and cheaply and this has led to absolutely shameful abuse of children and slave labourers.  Naturally, Primark has said they have now stopped using the Indian suppliers that use slave labour.  However, as we have seen above, it remains to be seen whether this is actually true, or whether they have just moved the problem elsewhere.

Nike

Nike has been using child labour for years and years.  In fact, when I was just 18 (and that is some time ago…) I went on a demonstration against Nike.  It seems nothing has changed since then.  They now use factories where human rights are broken on an almost daily basis.  People are kicked and slapped and verbally abused.  This is particularly true for the Converse factories in Indonesia, which really pains me because I freaking love Converse shoes…  Women and children at the factories in Pou Chen make only $0.50 per hour.  Nike has some stringent standards, but at least 75% of the suppliers they use don’t meet these standards, as admitted by Nike.  Why have standards at all then?  12 of the factories they use don’t even allow Nike inspectors access to the plant.  97 factories are said to be “improving”, but only in as such that they now pay minimum wage.  And six factories haven’t even been inspected by Nike.  Yeah, fantastic standards there…  Here are some interesting statistics for you.  Producing a pair of top end Nike’s (or Converse) costs between $0.88 and $3.  Add to this the shipping and tax payments, and it will basically cost between $4 and $6.  And these are the shoes that you will pay between $40 and $185 for!

So there you go, some of the biggest companies in the world use child labour and slave labour.  They don’t care about the way staff are treated and the profits they make through these practices are ginormous.  Will you continue to play a part in this?

Meditation, to me, is the ultimate form of relaxation.  I strongly believe that I have much of my good health (touch wood!) to thank to meditation.  It allows me to make a conscious decision to just leave behind the stresses of the day and think of nothing but my own spirit and its place in the universe.  That sounds really big, doesn’t it?  But that’s exactly what I like about meditation, it allows me to become aware of the fact that I am so tiny in the grand scheme of things, but that I am no less important than any other molecule or particle in the universe.  And that this is true for each and every individual cell in the galaxy.  Ok, I haven’t been able to make this sound more graspable, have I?  That doesn’t matter.  The point is that by meditating, you will feel calmness, a sense of belonging and a great awareness of yourself and the world around you, eventually expanding to outside of the world around you as well.

Learning How to Meditate

Now, I am sure someone somewhere has written a book about exactly how to meditate.  I’m sure, as well, that this book will cost quite a bit of money.  You won’t learn how to meditate by reading a book.  You learn how to meditate by doing what feels good about you.  I have been on numerous meditation classes (free ones!) and have picked little bits of each to get to the point that I am now.  What I have come up with is my own method, and it works for me.  That doesn’t mean to say it also works for you of course.  Experiment.  Find some guided meditations on YouTube, look for hints and tips on the internet and just try it out.

I personally love meditating myself to sleep as well.  Some people think this is very wrong, that it is normal to fall asleep when you are learning to meditate, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you shouldn’t fall asleep anymore.  I don’t know, maybe they think you miss something important when you’re asleep or something?  For my own part, I love it.  I have the most vivid dreams, in which I can really let go of all the stresses of the day and I wake up refreshed and invigorated.  In fact, for personal reasons, I haven’t been able to meditate lately, and I have had nightmares every single night.  Hopefully I will be able to start again soon, because I seriously miss it…

It’s All about Awareness

In all the classes I have followed, all the articles I have read and all the guided meditations I have done, one thing that comes back again and again is that you have to start by becoming aware of your body and its place.  For me, this means opening my chakras and becoming aware of anything that my skin touches (the fabrics of my clothes, the seat of the chair, the air around me, the weight of my blanket and so on).  What it means for you is up to you, but with me, I find this is what helps me to stop my mind’s natural overdrive because I am focusing on just one thing.  After that, it is about enjoying the feeling, enjoying the silence and just, for once, not thinking about anything.  No answering questions, no planning ahead, no stressing about money, school runs or other problems.  Just being.  Being still and relaxing.

That’s it for me, hope it helps you as well.

I firmly believe that all humans are born good.  I know the nurture versus nature debate has been going on for ages, but I really do believe that the nurture element plays a much bigger part in whether or not someone stays “good” or becomes “evil” than birth.  I have had this same debate with people over and over again.  People who say that there are some people who are born evil.  Psychopaths, serial killers and paedophiles for instance.   Then, there are those that say it is all to do with the way you were raised, putting the blame squarely on the parents.  So is that it?  Let’s take a look at some of these issues.

Paedophiles, Psychopaths and Serial Killers

The people above, and some others, have a malfunction in their brain that makes it possible for them to do the horrific acts they commit.  That still, to me, doesn’t mean they are born evil.  What makes them evil is the fact that they act on these feelings.   We all have the capacity to kill and do unspeakable things.  This stems from the lower part of our brain, where we still have primeval feelings.  It is from here that our impulses come, but the rest of our brain stops us from acting out those impulses.  Imagine yourself in traffic and someone cuts you off.  The lower part of your  brain fuels your anger, making you want to get out of your car and smash the other person’s face in.  But you don’t do that.  Some of us have such well-functioning brains that we don’t even notice that impulse anymore.  What goes wrong in the people above is that their impulse control is not working.  They get these feelings and actually act on them.  And here’s where the nature versus nurture debate comes in.  Why do they act on feelings?  Because that is what they have been taught.

Blaming the Parents

It sounds so easy to blame the parents, doesn’t it?  Maybe the way you should look at it, however, is not as a question of blame.  It is a question of responsibility.  Parents have the responsibility to teach their children the right values and norms, to teach them how to behave, to teach them what is and isn’t acceptable.  Unfortunately, many of us go wrong in this.  There are a lot of things that ultimately boil down to personal choice.  Do you raise your child religiously, politically, freely?  There amount of parenting styles are all documented and well known and although there will always be parts in there that you don’t agree with, the basis of these theories is about giving children the best values in life.

With the paedophiles, the psychopaths and the serial killers, it is very rare to find one that has been raised in a loving, stable home.  I don’t mean to say that a single parent is unable of raising a child.  I don’t mean to say that someone who moves from one place to another is unable to raise a child.  The stability is in the love.  A child that knows they are loved and respected, a child that is guided to make their own decisions, that is the child that will turn out well balanced.

So Is It all Down to Parenting?

No, I don’t think so.  There are a lot of factors at play, which brings it back to nature versus nurture.  There are known factors, such as brain injuries, that can play a big role in how children grow up and whether they end up being “evil”.  You can’t dismiss this out of hand.  However, do brain injuries fit in with “nature” or with “nurture”?  I personally believe they are external factors, hence most certainly not nature.

There is also the fact that people from the exact same household, with the exact same parents, can turn out to be completely different.   I think, here, intelligence has a big part to play in it as well.  It is about being able to recognise when you have a choice to make and having the tools to make that choice and to choose the right decision.

So is anybody ever born evil?  I don’t think so.  Does that mean that anybody that had the exact same life as, say, John Wayne Gayce would end up being John Wayne Gayce?  No, it doesn’t either.  It is a culmination of lots of different factors and it is bringing all these factors together that determines whether someone chooses to be good or evil.

Interestingly, I believe, looking at it from that perspective could suggest that someone who is “evil” could also once again become “good”…

The Dutch are great right?  It’s like a paradise country.  It’s flat, there’s plenty of water, it’s one of the cleanest countries in the world.  Us Dutchies lie on beds of tulips in the shade of our windmills, eating nothing but cheese when we get the munchies of the readily available weed.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Except that’s not the case.  At all.  So stop booking your trips to Amsterdam (not in the least because there’s a heck of a lot more to Holland than Amsterdam) and look around you a bit first.

The Dutch Government

We, as Dutch people, are known for our tolerance right?  We have this super multicultural society where everybody is welcome whenever they want right?  Other countries look at us and how we do things, because we have almost no racism.  That’s right, isn’t it?  No it’s not.  Not at all, in fact.  You wouldn’t believe how many people voted for Wilders in the last election, Wilders being a right winged idiot who will give the leaders of the BNP and the EDL put together a huge run for their money.  He wasn’t actually elected, but the idiot had so many votes that he became some sort of advisor to the cabinet.  And when he didn’t agree with something crucial, the cabinet had to be dissolved.  Elections have only just been held again, I’m scared to look at the results.

This all started about a decade or so ago, when Pim Fortuyn suddenly reared his ugly head.  Interestingly, I once had a seminar by Pim Fortuyn, a seminar on Marxist Sociology.  Imagine my surprise when his main message was, in very simple terms (and that’s how he put them): All foreigners OUT.  Pim Fortuyn was murdered by an animal extremist, but his party continued to grow in popularity.

So no, Holland is not tolerant.

Pass the Dutchie

The other great thing about the Dutch is the free access to drugs right?  Wrong.  You now have to apply for a “weed pass”.  You can only apply for these from the council in which you live.  With your pass, you can only buy weed in the town for which you got the pass.  So me, a Dutch person, cannot buy weed in my own country anymore because I don’t live there.  I am now, when I visit my own country, a drugs tourist.  Back to the tolerance again, I guess…

My Own Little Gripe

Some years ago, I moved to the UK because my husband is from here.  When my passport ran out, I found out that I have to go through a hugely complicated process just to reapply for a Dutch passport.  Not a problem, I thought.  Since I am married to a Brit, I’ll just apply for dual nationality.  I contacted the British government and they said that wouldn’t be a problem at all and that I should contact the Dutch authorities to set the ball in motion.  Surprise, surprise, the Dutch don’t allow it.  Once you’re Dutch, you’re Dutch for life.  So, the only way I can get an English passport is if I officially denounce the Dutch nationality and apply for full British nationality.  That entire process would cost me somewhere near £3,000.  And my son, who is half Dutch, half English, will be allowed dual nationality until he is 18.  On his 18th birthday, he will have to choose.  The British would be happy for him to have two passports, but not the Dutch.  He either chooses fully for his half cultural heritage, or he doesn’t get it at all.  Again with the tolerance.

So next time you praise the Dutch for all their wonderfulness, think again.