May 5th, Liberation Day

I can’t help but get emotional on this day, each year. Watching chancellor Angela Merkel give the traditional speech, and afterwards answering questions from students, was amazing. The topic is on freedom, and what it means, especially in a time where our freedom has been limited due to the consequences of the pandemic. One of the students explained how her grandfather was sent to a labour camp in Germany. She said that the blood of his imprisonment coursed through her veins; that the consequences of that could still be felt two generations later. I often feel the same way, when I consider how the war has influenced my parents, and in turn me.

This is why I have a hard time with people who lack empathy for underprivileged people. Generational poverty, racism, classism, sexism, other types of bigotry; it all leaves enormous scars. The Dutch government was culpable in the incredible persecution of Dutch Jews. Recently, the Dutch government apologised for their role in that atrocity. It frustrates me enormously to then also see how the Dutch government does not take the same step and acknowledge that there is (or at least has been) systemic bigotry against certain people which can still be felt today. Wouldn’t it be a good first step to accept the criticism of painful symbols of bigotry, like zwarte Piet?

So That Only Took Twenty Years

Did you ever faintly remember a song or film you encountered when you were very young, only to be reminded of it decades later, but didn’t remember the name of it? Every six to twelve months I tried googling this one roleplaying game that my cousin owned for the Commodore 64. I remember thinking it was fantastic and I remember it being incredibly sophistic for its time. I remember it came with a huge map but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was called.

Times of Lore, finally.

Now I just need to remember that strange, post-apocalyptic film that I once watched at my aunt’s home when I must have been about seven or eight years old. I remember it being kind of like Mad Max, but then with enormous, mutated insects.

Sibling Roles

I would like to think that my siblings and I are quite close. We talk every day, but still maintain a healthy separation and aren’t up in each other’s business (most of the time). We’re supportive and encouraging and we genuinely like each other. That is not to say that we don’t disappoint each other from time to time, or step on each other’s toes, of course. After all, the Meijer blood is strong.

What I like is that we have very different one-on-one relationships with each other; there is something that each combination of two of us share, that the third isn’t involved in. There are times where my siblings do stuff together that I am not that interested in, and likewise there are moments where I do something with one of them that the other isn’t involved in. There’s a fine line to walk that we don’t make one of us feel excluded, of course, but so far I think we’ve always been able to address it when it came up.

One of the things I was thinking of is that, when the three of us are together, we all have very different roles. I think those roles might be perceived differently depending on which one of us you ask, but from my perspective; my sister is our heart and soul, she embodies where we came from and represents our identity. My brother represents our untroubled nonchalance; everything is going to be okay, nothing is a problem and everything is possible.

I don’t quite know what my role is, necessarily. I’d like to believe that I’m our enabler!

WW2 Bomb

Yesterday they found a WW2 bomb on the other side of the river, near the University of Exeter. After just finishing our dinner our whole building shook and the windows rattled. Turned out they did a controlled detonation of the bomb.