Life is a messy business

Published Categorized as english

Thousands of refugees are crossing the border at the other side of our Europe. The place where we are heading: The Croatian, Serbian border. It is all over the news. The Dutch news, the BBC. It seems so crazy to sit here in the Netherlands while my heart is partly here, partly at that border, far away. And still I am translating such a stupid thing as a blogpost from one into another language about such a thing as the mess of a birthdaycake. Life is a messy business.
But I decided to continue, just because of the title.
This blogpost is a free translation of “Het huishouden van Janneke Steen.” The title is untranslatable because it is a play with a proverb, so this post is also a bit about translation and the complexity of it sometimes.
It is September, school has started for a couple of weeks now and we should be in the routine of life, but we are not. And this is what happened quite a few mornings:
“”Get u-up! You’ll be late for schoo-ool!””
I hated it! And was thinking: This has to change! Such a negative way of starting the day.. I don’t like it! It could change and it did. But what happens now is that I am called out of my bed, with the same tune in my girls voice, as I used before to wake her up:
“”Get u-up, I want some breakfast!””
What did happen in between? Well, we were really, really late a few times, we missed a time-table-test and a few other things, what we really can’t miss out on. And because of that, I made this:
It worked.
We had a few more lists to regular our daily life. It is a kind of custom for our family with the month of September. The fridge is a patient receiver of our -things we have to do and the joyful art from the house hold of Jan Steen. (John Stone, literally)
(And it is here that I have to explain this: Jan Steen is an artist from 17th century who painted a wildly, lively, and joyful household and in the Netherlands it is a kind of mixed compliment if someone refers to you in combination with Jan Steen. Because the Dutch are more well-known for being organised, neat empty counters in the kitchen and some people even clean their windows more than once a month.
My Dutch blogpost is literally called: the household of Janneke Steen, and I use the female version of Jan Steen, with a wink to allow myself making a mess, whenever I like.
It is not easy to translate though. And it is kind of strange to put in this explanation, because the whole post looses its fluency. But anyway..If you ever think that putting a text in Google translate gives you a proper translation. Than you are wrong. I even heard people saying: Ah, that is easy for the work of Bible translation. Just put it in Google translate. What happens than is that you get words into the language you want it to be translated, but the meaning can be totally gone. And that is what I am experiencing now. Translating is so much more complicated and is a real craft. Handiwork, you need to go word by word, and create something new. ( It is here, that Jelle gets the fun though, because now we are talking about the implicit in a translation. The underlying meaning. If you ever wonder where Jelle is doing is PHD about. It is this. )

The merry house hold of Jan Steen

Okay, back to my little lists to organize our household.
I wrote a plan for the day and this is what I wrote at the bottom:

always open for the unexpected visitor or adventure.

I am not sure if that was wise, because this is what happened:
It was Judith’s birthday and we had a couple of girls who came to celebrate it. I baked -as a real good mom.- (that is what we think, right?) a homemade applecake and a cheesecake. A bit late, just before the girls came, but anyway. Life is a messy business sometimes.
Sadly though, the cheese cake didn’t end up at the big plate for cakes, but it landed on the floor. No, this is not the first time that something like this happened. The other time was also very bad…Just around the time that the coffee is dripping through, and you smell that -absolutely lovely smell from the oven, what makes you think: “Whatever is in there, I need that to get really filled up with it and I need it now!””
I cried, Judith looked back over her shoulder, doing the dishes and looking how I managed to do such a thing like this and how I responded. Jelle cleaned -as usual- my mess, without complaining.. (that is quite an art too…) dried my tears and kissed me till I was dizzy.
He gave a lecture about the unexpected discovery of penicillin and the story of Post-Its, both of them happened unexpectedly/ by accident.
But now I can announce the birth of something new: the monchou-adventure-cheesecake! Happy Birthday!
One of the girls said that evening: My mom makes this cake also sometimes, but it tastes different.
Yes, Judith replied:  My mom added something new to it. (literal translation issue again: grondstoffen, something from the floor.)
We ate it, and everybody is still safe and sound, walking happily around. Know that you always can be our unexpected visitor or part of our adventure. We will tell the story about your food afterwards, if that makes it easier. 😉
And by the way, if you ask.. My, this family is moving to Croatia in a couple of weeks? Where does she get the time to do write this? The answer is: I sometimes listen to my plan for the week and on this day it is: Writing day, energy plusday.
I think that followed after the lecture from John Harris about Healthy balanced lifestyle at the European Conference of International Teams.
My goodness, it is late, I am tired and this blogpost is definitely messy.
Thanks for you patience, thanks for reading, have a good day or night, where ever you are.


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