Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The King: No Opinion



Living at the other side of the planet from where I was born and raised will always keep my heart in two places. As much as I love Honduras, as long as I’ve been here and as adapted as I have become, I’ll always be “from Amsterdam”.
It is doable, but hard when I can’t be with family or friends when tragedy strikes or when there is something to celebrate.

Today Willem Alexander is crowned as the new king of the Netherlands. And I am not there. And I can’t decide whether I care or not.

For those who do not know, the 30th of April is Queens Day in Holland and by far the best celebrated holiday of the year. Not because the Dutch are overly fond of the royal family (I think the soccer team throws higher marks), but it is a great celebration nonetheless, starting in the wee hours of the night before. Children set up the stalls to sell whatever they have been hoarding for months. People sell pies, sandwiches, hotdogs, drinks, all preferably orange. Bars set up outside their properties with dance parties until the wee hours of the morning after. The Vondel Park is dedicated to children and is probably one of the best places to be. You can have your face painted, throw eggs, walk on a rope or whatever crazy creative act or game people come up with each year. Queens Day is not organized by the government or municipality, but by the people themselves. You can expect the unexpected, everything goes.

But today is extra special, because it is Queens Day no longer. For the first time in over a hundred years we now have a king. And from what I read in the online newspaper and see on CNN, it has been quite an event.

This is the second crowning I miss. The last one, when Willem’s mother Beatrix took over the crown, was on April 30th, 1980. I was ten and excited about Queens Day (couldn’t care too much about the change of royal power) but was extremely disappointed and resentful when my parents decided that my mother, brother and me were going to spend the day at my grandparents on the country side. The reason was that riots were expected and my dad was for his work involved in the security preparations. There were riots indeed, but hardly anything that would have stopped a stubborn ten-year old from celebrating her Queens Day.

Thirty-three years later I’m missing the crowning again, and as I said, I’m not sure what to think about that. Now that I think about it, I don’t even know whether I’m happy or not about having a new king. I know there’re pros and cons, but I simply can’t come up with something sensible to say.
Oh my God! I have NO opinion!

That is weird, because I’m Dutch and the Dutch always have an opinion about everything. Annoyingly so! The Hondurans however are usually much less opinionated. Up to a point that when you want to know someone’s thought, you’ll just get a shrug of the shoulders.

What do you think about World Peace?
Shrug.
What do you think of President Pepe Lobo?
Shrug.
Do you like your food?
Shrug.

Carin, what do you think of Holland’s new king?
Shrug.

Oh my… I’ve become Honduran after all…


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