I spent yesterday strolling around Delft with Mary Poppins and her two charges, Jane and Michael. Being that Mary and I had briefly dated, and considering Jane and Michael are aged 10 and 5 thereby making it quite plausible for them to be our children, it was a little bit like being a dad for a day.
One of the more interesting aspects for me, besides walking around in a town that I could walk around in just about every day and never get bored, was the children's language abilities. Their mother is Croatian, and their father is French. In addition they attend an international school here in The Hague that's taught primarily in English, though partly in Dutch as well. Which means that they are both perfectly quadrilingual. Mary is Serbian, so when the three of them are talking they typically use Serbo-Croatian. Among themselves, the two children alternate between English and French, and when we were passing through an antique market, they were speaking perfect Dutch with the vendors.
Not of particular interest to most, since the majority of people in the world are bilingual, but these sorts of things are endlessly fascinating to monolingual English-speaking North Americans, especially Americans.
Incidentally, I was able to successfully argue in Dutch at the train station over a ridiculous aspect of ticket pricing for children. While I'm sure the guy spoke English 50 times better than my Dutch, he apparently felt it was not necessary to switch to English with me. Pat the bunny on the back for that.
When I got home, my housemate Claire and I decided to go out to our friendly neighbourhood coffeeshop, Cremers, for a puff of hash and a couple of beers. Claire worked for a radio station for nearly a decade and has a host of interesting stories from that time. One of the ones I had never heard was about her interview of Jason Pierce, the yummy lead singer of Spiritualized.
Before the show she had been told that there would be no interviews so, since it was her birthday and her boss had presented her with a gram of magic mushrooms, she decided to eat them. It was an apparently excellent show, as almost all shows are while one is on mushrooms. Following the show, though, somebody from the band's entourage asked if she wanted to do an interview with Jason. The interview began with her crawling along the floor trying to find a socket for her tape recorder, which apparently had the already drunk Jason in stitches. Apparently they babbled on for the better part of half an hour. Half an hour that had to be edited down to just a few broadcastable minutes.
O, Hedonism. How I miss you.
Just looked at the clock. Must get to church.