11 November – day of the crazy, St Maarten or just an ordinary NZ day when good things can happen

On the 11th of November in NZ Armistice Day is celebrated, the end of WW1, a great contrast to what the day means in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, in the area where I grew up, the 11th of November was day of the crazy. The official start of the Carnival season at 11 minutes past 11. The number 11 always played a big role as the crazy number. Carnival being a very big party, with lots of dressing up, comedy, and total craziness. It was also St Maarten, a Saint that cut his cloak in half to share with a poor homeless person. What a hero!

On St Maarten we also had a tradition that was very similar to another Dutch tradition Sinterklaas on 6 December. In the evening st Maarten would come around and throw handfuls of candy into our house. I remember as a kid being terrified by the arm that showed around the door that threw delicious pepernoten (gingernuts) and schuimpjes (a type of very sweet and coloured meringue type) into our living room.

My inspiring coach Frances from find my forte challenged me today on starting another little project. To commit to writing one thing everyday that I have done that has contributed to the good. No matter how small, every little bit counts. In St Maarten’s great spirit, and as Carnival this season ends on 17 February, 98 days from now, it is almost too perfect to not take up this challenge!

I’ll post my daily updates on my twitter account with #somethinggood. Will you join me finding the good things you already do?

Real Kiwi in an orange Jacket

Bruce mason centre in Takapuna is buzzing. Lots of people: old, young, families, couples, all sorts. 450 of them. All very excited. As am I! And no this is not for a concert, or a comedy night. We are all here because we want to be and will be NZ citizens after tonight’s ceremony.
I am going to be a real kiwi!! After living here for 9 years and feeling more and more passionate about this beautiful country, I thought it was time to show my true allegiance.

So the final stage tonight is standing up, reading the allegiance together with all those others from so many different parts of the world. And we all want to live in NZ.

And singing the National Anthem for the first time as citizens. Wow, I really wasn’t expecting the emotion. Almost every second sentence I just had to stop. To stop the trembling. And to understand what the words really meant. ‘ At thy feet’ .. ?

Very special. I am looking forward to my kiwi future, to contributing to the future of NZ.

Not without my orange jacket though…

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Of course Orange

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Ok so i really love orange. Yes i know its stereotypical, but i don’t care. I don’t wear orange to support the Dutch. I like it because orange is a great happy sunny colour, especially in a sea of black. It puts a smile on my face.

NZ is a black wearing country. Obviously there are the All Blacks, the national rugby team and pride of all kiwis. So all supporters gear and everything else that needs some sort of linking to NZ is black. Black is also practical I suppose in a country with such a small market for clothes. Everybody can wear black, for any situation, so it’s a safe bet for a shop to sell black. And I think it might also have something to do with not wanting not stand out from the crowd. The tall poppy syndrome does play its part in NZ culture.

Things are changing though. The influence of many cultures have brought a taste for more colourful gear. There is also easy access to clothes from all over the world through online shopping and there is a great support for some amazing NZ design work.

I was told the other day by somebody that orange is not my colour. They were so wrong! Of course orange is my colour