It is December so it is the holiday season so it has been hectic. But I still have time to send out this blog. The word of the month is hebben or to have. It is pronounced heh-behn. This is a very common verb that is very useful. It is used to ask for things. Most people learn this verb very young or in cases of learning it things it is very early in the lessons.
For Example: Zij hebben eien. (They have eegs)
This verb is one of the irregular verbs. Only because it breaks some kind of rule I still don’t know about but I think it has to do with its hij/zij form.
Ik heb (I have…)
Jij hebt (You have…)
Hij/Zij heeft (He/She has…)
Wij hebben (We have…)
Jullie hebben (You have…)
Zij hebben (They have…)
This month was the month of Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas is like the USA’s Santa Claus but he comes on a weekend in November and stays till December 5th. He comes on a boat with his helpers Zwarte Peits. Sinterklaas wears a red cape and bishop hat, white clothes, and has a sheperd’s staff. He has a long white beard and rides on a white horse.Zwarte Peit,s his helpers wear old Renaissance clothes. They have black skin with red lipstick. The story behind them is that they where oringinally slaves that Sinterklaas pushes down the chimneys before him. But now they are his servants not his slaves.
So Sinterklaas comes on a boat from Spain to the Netherlands in early November. Zwarte Peit drives the boat. Then Sinterklass rides in town on his white horse. Sinterklaas has a list of who has been good and who hasn’t. For the kids who have been good he gives gifts and toys to them. The kids who have been bad he gives a spanking to them. Zwarte Peit gives chocolate and other goodies to the good kids. At the end if you are a bad enough kid you will be taken back to Spain by Zwarte Peit to work as a servant in Sinterklaas’s castle.
Normally kids sing songs to the fireplace for Sinterklaas to come. They also leave their shoes out for Zwarte Peit to fill. Kids often leave carrots for the horse to eat. Then they get gifts on the night of the 5th of December and have goodies to eat in the morning of the 6th. Such as gingersnap cookies, sugarbased flavoring treats kind of like taffy but not chewy, chocolate, chocolate covered gingersnap cookies, and much more. Or at least I think this is so as I have not actually done this since everyone in my house now knows that there is no such thing as Sinterklaas.
My Sinterklaas experience was a little different. My host family and I did something similar to Secret Santa. We all pulled a letter like B or C of someones first name out of a hat. Then we made list of what we wanted from Sinterklaas. After that we had to look at everyone else’s list to pick out gifts. These lists are set out on the table for all to take a look at but once you turn yours in you aren’t allowed to look at it again. These list hold the person’s wish list on it. Next we make sure not to pick something someone else had picked out for that person. Then we went shopping at the mall, cooking stores, book stores, town center shops, and so on. There really isn’t a place around here like Walmart and it makes shopping so hard as you also have to figure out what kind of stores the gifts you are looking for will be in. Usually you go shopping by yourself so others can’t tell what you are getting them or others so everyone is surprised on Sinterklaas day. But I got some help from my host family in finding what stores to go to buy my gifts. (. There were 3 minor gifts close to 5 euros. The major gift we each got for the person who’s first letter of their name that we picked out was for 20 euros. Also we had to write rhyming poems in Dutch. For the minor gifts, the rhyming poem had to be at least 5 lines and for the major gifts at least 10 lines. Also for the major gifts we had to make suprises (suh-prEE-sehs).
It was a great time. The shopping was hard. It was so hard trying to find the gifts or asking help in Dutch that it was a bit confusing. Also I could tell what gifts on the list were the 5 euro or the 20 euro gifts. Then came the wrapping of the gifts and making the suprises.You make a surprise by doing just about anything that makes it fun or intresting. I made mine with a shoe box, tape paper, marker, string and that is it. The present also has to go inside the surprise. Mine was a chef for Bert. The one I got was a stove from Bert. Inside was a backpack with a pair of wooden shoes. In total I got a stuffed rabbit, a scarf for biking, a backpack with wooden shoes, and 4 wooden shoes. I was so emberresed over my poems they made little sence and they sort of rymed. The poems were hard to make and they were hard to read out loud. Everyone read to poems on their own gifts out loud so all could hear. I sounded bad and they kept debating over what they said but it was a good time.