The Quiet Musings

Je bent doof of je bent slechthorend

- January 30th, 2014 -

Op mijn zesde toen ik aan de eerste klas van de basisschool
begon merkte mijn juffrouw dat ik niet goed luisterde. Nadat ik gehoortesten ondergaan heb werd officieel geconstateerd dat ik slecht hoorde en het advies was; zit altijd vooraan in de klas.

Gedurende mijn schoolcarrière zorgde ik altijd dat ik vooraan zat en deed enorm mijn best bij dictees, luistertekst en dergelijke. Later op de middelbare school kreeg ik hoorapparaten die ik soms wel en soms niet droeg. Pubers, hè? Mijn gehoor ging gestaagd achteruit. Ik beschouwde mezelf als een slechthorend persoon.

Op mijn 25ste kon ik niks meer horen in mijn rechteroor en op mijn 26ste
niks meer in mijn linkeroor. Ik was helemaal doof geworden. Hoorapparaten helpen niet meer. Communicatie gaat nu middels liplezen, schrijven of een schrijftolk. Ik beschouw mezelf als een doof persoon. Specifiek: laatdoof.

De afgelopen zes jaren sinds ik doof ben geworden begin ik me meer en meer te ergeren als slechthorend mensen doof worden genoemd of zichzelf als doof beschouwen en zichzelf doof noemen. De keren dat ik een artikel tegenkom waarvan de titel aangeeft dat het over een doof persoon gaat, ga ik meteen vol interesse lezen alleen maar om achter te komen dat de persoon niet doof is maar slechthorend. Om het nog pijnlijker te maken soms nog met een anekdote in de trant
van: “Ik geniet van muziek” of “Een op een kan ik zonder problemen normaal communiceren”.

Als doof persoon voel ik me dan een beetje verraden. Denk ik dat ik
eindelijk eens ga lezen hoe anderen het doof zijn ervaren, blijkt het niet zo te zijn. Iemand die slecht ziet en een bril draagt noemen we ook niet blind. Je hebt slechtziend of blind, waarom zou die zelfde onderscheid niet tellen voor slechthorend en doof?

Ik pleit ervoor om de correcte benoeming te gebruiken bij doofheid en
slechthorendheid. Als doof persoon die meer dan de helft van zijn leven
slechthorend was vind ik dat de twee dingen los van elkaar staan. Het valt niet met elkaar te vergelijken.

Toen ik nog slechthorend was kon ik mijn hoorapparaat aandoen, volume omhoog, muziek met hard volume en ten volle genieten van muziek. Als doof persoon kan ik helemaal niet meer genieten van muziek, wat ik over heb van muziek is wat in
mijn hersenen is blijven hangen van toen ik nog kon horen. Ik leef dagelijks in een oorverdovende stilte.

Dat is wat doof zijn is. Die alles overheersende stilte.

Expanding my horizon: Switching from iPhone to Android

- December 14th, 2013 -

I have been an Apple convert since January 2004 when I bought my first Apple product. A 12 inch white iBook. Then I bought an iPod Nano, an iPod Touch, a Mac Mini, an iPhone, another Mac Mini and another iPhone. Not to mention the countless of Apple keyboards I went through because I have a bad habit of spilling water on them.

For nine years Apple was my go to brand, no question asked. It still is. I can’t imagine going back to Windows full time. I have a work flow and list of applications that can’t be replicated on Windows. It just works for me.

But an iPhone is not a must have anymore. Maybe I’m getting old, maybe wiser, who knows. Where once I always got a new phone as soon as my contract was up for renewal, I now kept my iPhone 4 well past contract expiration date. Mobile data has become as expensive if not more than home internet. Renewing would mean higher monthly cost for less and paying more for an iPhone than three years ago.

Before the iPhone 5s was announced I got the idea to switch to Android. I’d seen commercials of the HTC One and after having the same interface layout on iPhone for 5 years, I was intrigued. I went to the phone shop to check out the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z. They are faster and have more options than the iPhone 4. But they are all huge. I’d need two hands to use the phone and that is just a no go for me.

The iPhone 5s is flawless on hardware but on software it no longer holds my interest. Apps for iOS are great design wise but I have grown tired to be so limited by iOS. I can’t justify anymore to pay the price of an iPhone just for a fancy fast phone with an OS I can’t bend. I decided on Android, I just had to do lots of research to buy the best phone for me.

A short intro into Android

When telling people about my quest for an Android phone I realized that no matter how tech savvy or not, not everyone knows the finer details.

When buying a phone brand you are getting their version of Android. Samsung, HTC and Sony amongst others have created their own ‘skin’ on top of Android which is developed by Google.

This means a couple of things:

  • Extra features(not always useful) not standard provided by Google.
  • Lots of applications you might not use and can’t uninstall taking up space.
  • When Google releases a new Android version it can take up to a year before phone companies have updated their own skins and release the Android update for their phones. Also, they mostly only give a phone two updates before stopping update support for certain models.

Android without any skins or modification is called stock or vanilla Android, which means it doesn’t contain any applications by external parties.

Key points of stock Android:

  • Fast updates.
  • Basic interface.
  • You can setup your phone the way you want it to look.

Phones containing stock Android:

  • Nexus, currently developed by LG for Google.
  • Motorola, Google owns Motorola since 2011. (Motorola phones only have about 4 apps by Motorola on the phone.)
  • Google Edition phones sold via Google Play Store(Not available yet in The Netherlands for devices).

Deciding on which phone to buy

First I must say, I’m not a power user. I use my phone to email, text, browse internet, Twitter, Instagram, check weather, train, bank, agenda, take notes, as alarm clock and read ebooks. But I do use these things often and all day long. I’m never without my phone.
Basically the iPhone 5s is overkill for these tasks, hardware wise. Unless you plan on using the phone for more than 2 years when newer iOS and app versions will make the phone slower over time.

My requirements for a new phone are now:

  • Faster than the iPhone 4(or current phone).
  • Screen smaller than 4.7 inch.
  • Stock Android.
  • Good camera.
  • Doesn’t break the bank with a one year data only contract.

My choices were Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Moto G. Nexus 4 is too expensive(here in The Netherlands) compared to the newer and better Nexus 5. I would go for a two year contract with the Nexus 5 if it wasn’t so big(5 inch), with my small hands it would be like a small tablet. That leaves the Moto G. The only huge downside is the Moto G camera, I really had to make a concession there. But otherwise Moto G meets all my needs.

Motorola Moto G
Motorola Moto G

Side note: My solution to the bad camera, especially when taking photos that I want to put online right away, is an Eye-Fi Memory Card for my Nikon D3100. This way I can snap a photo and it will automatically be uploaded. While I don’t always have the Nikon with me it is a good compromise.

Learning a new phone OS

It wasn’t hard at all to learn how to use Android. The most complicated part for me was getting the hang on how to customize the home screen. Popular tutorials don’t give you the “step by step for dummies” version. So I just spend half a day playing around with the phone until I got how it’s done. Take a look at all the possibilities with Android and the right apps.

Current home screen
Current home screen
Current home screen with Twilight on
Current home screen with Twilight on

As for apps, the only ones I miss from the iPhone are:

Scratch and Tweetbot, I haven’t come across comparable apps yet on Android. But for everything else there is an (good) app, some of the apps I’m using:
* SolCalendar
* Dolphin Broswer
* Eye in Sky Weather
* Twilight
* Nova Launcher Prime

The great thing about Android is that you have lots of options. Amongst other, you are not limited on what apps you can open a file or share a file with.
For example, if I open Dropbox and choose a PDF file I can share it with the following apps: Contacts, Messaging, Google Drive, Email app, Gmail, Google+, Hangouts, Twitter and WhatsApp. I can also just copy the link to that file. I can export the file to my phone, Kindle, Bluetooth Device, Google Drive, Email app and Gmail.

I’m happy with my new phone. It’s refreshing to be using something else than iOS, having more freedom on how to setup the interface and functionality, feeling good about not having spend a lot of money on it and yes also the fact that for now not everyone and their grandmother next to me has the same phone and never the same home screen.

Useful reads:
* An iPhone lover’s confession: I switched to the Nexus 4. Completely.
* Android is better
* Fix the iMessage Bug So You Can Still Get Messages If You Switch to Android from iPhone

Food for the Soul

- September 11th, 2013 -

Thirteen years since I moved from Aruba to Holland and I can safely say I will never get used to some things. I have come to love the seasons, and how the nature changes every time. While I love it’s (mostly) always beach weather on Aruba, as a kid I got bored reading the weather forecast in the newspaper. Which went like this everyday:

Thirty two degrees, sunny, partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Wind is 8 knots from North East.

Right. You must know the wind almost always comes from the North East on Aruba and only changes with bad weather. Even at 18 years old we would skip class if there was a storm coming so we could go to the beach and see how the usual calm sea would turn into huge waves eating up the beaches and flooding the hotel pools. That’s how unusual it used to be on Aruba to get different weather. I learned things have changed a lot due to climate change.

This week fall has made its entrance again, with strong winds, lots of rain and thunderstorms. I love this kind of weather, it’s the cozy stay at home, read a book and cook a nice dish, weather. But it also reminds me that winter isn’t far behind and that it will be months before I will feel the hot sun on my skin again. Thirteen years later and I’m still not used to cold below 15 degrees. This year when spring started and we had the first day of warm weather it was like finding that forgotten 5 euro bill in your pocket. I went straight to the ice cream parlor after work, got an ice cream and sat outside eating it while basking in the sun. It was 17 degrees.

creole fish
Creole Sauce with Cod Fish

So, fall. When fall comes around I get more in the mood for cooking again. Because I never got used to some things like Dutch cuisine or lack of good hot sauce, I still miss the island food. By island food I don’t mean the 4 Wendy’s, 2 Taco Bells, 2(or 3) Burger Kings, 2 Kentucky’s, I lost count Subway’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and uncountable Chinese restaurants on 74.52 sq miles of an island. Nope.

I miss Coco Plum in caya grandi where I can eat the best fresh red snapper in sauce crioyo with funchi. I miss being able to buy the best BBQ on Sunday, eat amazing lobster at Fishes and more or the simple pastechi tuna from Pastechi House. I could keep going; pumpkin soup at Suikertuin, pumpkin soup at Alice or a nice tenderloin grilled in the backyard. None of the above I can eat here authentically, I can only try to match it as best as I can.

After three days of fall weather I decided nothing would taste better than creole seafood to sooth the soul for the incoming cold. I dusted off my “Essential Caribbean Recipes” cookbook, went to Marqt(I never loved a grocery store like I do Marqt) for all organic ingredients, including the line caught cod fish. The result was delicious and soul soothing.

In my thirteen years living here I went from, doesn’t like eating, to a foodie who loves cooking and eating good food. I will probably never get used to winter or how distant people are here compared back on Aruba where friendships are formed easily, but I’ll always have good food and my cooking abilities to transcend borders.

Food Guide to The Hague

- August 9th, 2013 -
This post is more than 3 years old. Check the new and revised post published in 2016: The Hague Food Guide.

Over a year ago I wrote a Coffee and Sandwich Guide to The Hague. Since then the ratings and my taste have changed.
For this guide I’ll list places I frequent in The Hague and Rotterdam or that are on my list for when needed. Restaurants of several cuisines, sandwich shops and coffee bars.

First I must note, 13 months ago I discovered Jordy’s Bakery. Situated on Nieuwe Binnenweg in Rotterdam. A co-worker tipped me about the place that is on walking distance from work. Their bread are the best I have tasted so far and I have eaten a lots of different bread to date. Since then I get my lunch almost daily there, even though they discontinued the hummus sandwich which was their best one in my opinion, also the only vegan option.
I was never a huge meat eater so my first choice is mostly vegetarian or vegan sandwiches. If I’m planning on having a light dinner I’ll opt for a meat sandwich.

Since eating there I stopped going to Lebkov. Maybe my taste has changed, maybe I have higher expectation about the bread I eat, but the last two times I went there I couldn’t even finish the sandwich because it just tasted bland. Their pasta and soup are still good tho. This winter I went a couple of times when they had pea soup on the menu and it was good every time.
By not going to Lebkov my coffee intake has lowered also. Jordy’s Bakery does not have decaf coffee(nor my work place), so I only drink coffee on my day off when at Bagels and Beans or Hometown Coffee.

In my previous guide I also mentioned Milly’s. Sadly enough after the renovation they changed their name to ‘Boerenbroodjesland’ and made their sandwich menu like the hundreds other regular broodjeszaken(sandwichshops). I went there twice after they reopened; they don’t serve the sandwich made to order anymore. You get it pre-made in a takeaway box. I’m not a fan of cold bread. They switched from the nice smoked bacon to some cheap bacon you get at the grocery store chopped in small blocks. Too bad, I really liked the cozy small lunchroom and their small but good menu.

As a regular customer at different places I learned a couple of things; never change the whole menu at once. Make sure there are vegetarian and vegan options. Have weekly specials, if one of them are a huge success make it a regular option and remove one of the least liked menu items.

Humans are habit animals, they keep returning because they know the food and don’t have to think much about what to eat. I hate it when I go again to a place I’m used to and the menu has been completely revamped. Think about it, when in lunch rush or just want a place to meet people and have a bite. You rather go to a place you know than try out something new.

Lunch spots The Hague

‘t Hof van Eten *award winning sandwiches. Almost always full, make reservation.

Bocadillo Desperensero
Bocadillo Desperensero

Bagels and Beans

Bagel with banana, maple syrup and cinnamon
Bagel with banana, maple syrup and cinnamon

De Bakkerswinkel

bakkerswinkel
Grilled cheese, sundried tomatoes and courgette sandwich.

Baklust (breakfast, lunch and dinner) *vegetarian

pancakes
Apple and cinnamon pancakes with maple syrup

Lunch spots Rotterdam

Jordy’s Bakery

A photo posted by Darice (@darice) on

Hopper

A photo posted by Darice (@darice) on

Buiten *organic

A photo posted by Darice (@darice) on

Vlaamsch Broodhuys

Hummus and Bulgur Sandwich
Hummus and bulgur, artichokes, tomato and mozzarella

Coffee spots The Hague

Where I get dinner when eating out

I have more places on my list but I haven’t eaten there yet. I only mention places where I have eaten more than once and that have good food.

When not in the mood to cook or eat out/takeaway and I want to eat reasonable healthy I buy ready made meals at Marqt. Their Lasagna Bolognese and Melanzane Parmiggiano are my current favorites. Marqts ready made meals are from Uit de Keuken van Maass. Fresh made, organic without conservatives.

Another place where I only went once, they don’t have a website nor facebook page and I hope they are still open, is Limoncello on Bankastraat. It’s a very small Italian lunchroom. The one time I went there I had one of the best pasta dishes ever:

Ravioli al Tartufo
Ravioli al Tartufo

Rotterdam has way more places than The Hague but due that I work in Rotterdam I only eat out at lunch and close by work. Which leaves only Nieuwe Binnenweg. Buiten and Vlaamse Broodhuys are more expensive than Jordy’s Bakery, so getting a hummus sandwich there everyday would make me go broke in no time. I’m going to try after the vacation to start taking more lunch from home instead of buying every day.
We are also getting a new restaurant at work, so fingers crossed they have better lunch options than the previous one.

Tips for communicating with deaf/Deaf people

- May 9th, 2013 -

I am late deaf, my speech is fine, I can actually speak 4 languages. I communicate through lip-reading. Me becoming deaf later in life has not changed the person that I am, it just became one of the many aspects of my identity.

These tips were taken from Deaf-intely Different and edited to my situation.

Tips on what it means to interact with a Deaf/deaf person:

1) When someone says to you, “I’m Deaf,” they do NOT mean:

a. I have no interest in talking to you.
b. Please go away.
c. I do not have the mental capability to understand you.
d. Assume that you can only talk to us through an interpreter.

Photo of a man with a mute symbol tattooed behind his ear

It actually really hurts my feelings when people do that. I want to know what you’re saying. I want you to talk to me (in most cases). Me being Deaf does not mean that I have no interest in communicating with you, meeting you, or hearing what you have to say. I don’t go home and cry about it or anything, but it’s mildly disappointing to be brushed off, ignored, or overlooked like that.

Also, Deaf/deaf people communicate with hearing people on a daily basis without an interpreter. We know ways around it. Most of the time we get by without even having to write stuff down. Minimal amount of voice (or even just mouthing), gestures, pointing, facial expression and body language: It’s all a part of communication. Thinking you have to have an interpreter to communicate with me is silly. This is common sense! We don’t sit around all day long alone until someone comes along we can sign with or whatnot. We’re out in the world just as much as you are. 😉

Side note: When you do take the time to communicate with me (even if it’s about something I don’t care about or don’t want to hear particularly), it makes me happy. It gives me faith in people. I’m a person to, so talk to me!

2) Please, when we ask you to repeat something, don’t say, “Nevermind.”

This may be my number one pet peeve. You wanted to tell us something; we missed it. It should not take that much effort on your part to repeat a line or two of what you just said. Dismissing us like that is really annoying.

3) Look at us when we talk. Lip-reading is a pain sometimes, but it does help. Eye contact is a huge part of the Deaf culture. We know that you’re hearing and it’s a habit to be able to turn around and still talk. And if we remind you, don’t take it as us trying to nit-pick or call you out on something. It’s just a little reminder. We know you don’t mean to. 🙂

4) (and this is probably the biggest) Know that we appreciate when you take the time to communicate with us. We’re people too, and are not always treated as such. Most of my friends are hearing, it takes dedication to learn signs. No one around me signs, so I never took the full sign course. That’s okay. I don’t grumble about it. The fact that they accept me for who I am is one of the brightest parts of my life.

Best Sandwich and Coffee in The Hague

- June 3rd, 2012 -
This post is more than 4 years old. Check the new and revised post published in 2016: The Hague Food Guide.

One of the things that must be known about me is that I love sandwiches. That love started in April 2009. I never really liked bacon, I know, right?! Well that’s until I had a BLT sandwich from Lebkov. Since then I think I eat from there at least once a week. In the past three years since my love for sandwich blossomed, I tried several sandwiches from a handful of places in The Hague where I live. By no means is this an official guide, just the best of the best according to me.

Read more…

Field Notes Colors

- November 27th, 2009 -

I have been using Field Notes notebooks since early this year. I use a graph one daily to keep my temp and weight data. The lined one for ideas and website details and the blank one for on the go. The pen and pencil are put to good use also.

When they announced the colors version I was disappointed it was subscription only as I rather only buy colors I really like, and 129 dollars is a bit steep to spend at once on notebooks. So I was very happy when I found out that their latest color “Just Below Zero” is was available as a 3-pack also and ordered one right away.

Today I got it in the mail with the usual extras of pen, pencil, rubber band, sticker and a button.

Field Notes Package Field Notes goodies

The lettering on the covers are done in shiny silver and look pretty nice. If you depend on the info inside the back cover you’ll have a hard time reading it in the light blue colored one. But my 3-pack is nicely stored until I get a good use for one of them. They are limited editions after all.

Just Below Zero

Hopefully my notebook needs have been satisfied for a while!

Note: photos where taken with iPhone 3G and edited with Best Camera app.