We’re in the portion of the year that is known as “komkommertijd” or literally “cucumber time”. This phrase is a catchall for nothing is really happening, that everyone is on vacation and you can’t really expect any action until September. It’s also the time of year that everything that comes on TV or in the movies tends to be pretty escapism oriented. Doing our part to participate in the komkommertijd, we went to the American style cinema to see the new Minions movie. 😉

It’s not all lazy days around here. This morning we started actively learning Spanish. In November, we will be going to Spain for a month. I’ve signed up for a project in a remote area of Spain that is focused on bringing economic independence to the women of the village (1000 inhabitants). We will bring Henry and George as I do not want to miss a single day of their old age. GG will pack up her laptop and we will buy a portable WIFI router and head to Andalusia. I am excited because it will be an adventure for sure. The logistics still need to be worked out because we will drive and that’s about 1400 miles. Not far perhaps by US standards. For here, it means we will pass through Belgium, France, Andorra and Spain. I’ve never been to Andorra and I am excited to see the Pyrenees up close!

In our search to find a place to rent, I sent a picture of Henry and George yesterday to the local coordinator. This is to convince someone in the village to rent their house to us for the time that we are there. The dog thing was a little bit of an adjustment for them, that people travel with their pets. I also wanted them to see that H&G are quite small in comparison to what they might be thinking – farm or working size dogs. Nothing like a small dog charm offensive for opening doors. 😉 I think that by the time we leave, the boys will have a new fanclub.

Last week, a business partner of mine from Argentina came through the Netherlands for a few days and she stayed with us. It was very intense as she works from 7-7 and eats only salads and dresses like a fashion model. I learned so much from our conversations because her perspectives on many things are so new to me. She’s above all an artist and that’s a different way of looking at things like design, emotion, people. I was really glad that I spent the time with her and breaking through my mental block. If you are exposed too long to the same things, you can’t see the other possibilities anymore. I have been experiencing a lot of that – banging my head against so many walls of the status quo has been leaving me with a headache and drains my optimism. This is why you need people around you that recharge you, lend you their belief in the impossible so that you can renew yours.

The experience with Sol highlighted for me even more why going to Spain is going to be such a good thing. It will be regenerative and focused on doing things differently than what the status quo says. Most importantly, it will be a collective “we” immersion. One of the things that I have been having difficulty with lately is the individualistic nature of the Dutch culture. Here almost everything is an “I” instead of a “We”. Mostly because there is a very big need to categorize everything. Put people and things in boxes to easily form judgments, policies and interactions. My brain doesn’t work that way, I look for patterns and connections and then apply logic to build something from that information. My heart doesn’t work that way either.

Perhaps long term I will find my way to a more “We” culture. Knowing what you are seeking is halfway to finding it or as to quote the G.I. Joe cartoon motto from my brothers’ childhood “Knowing is half the battle.” Heh.

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