ON SPEAKING PAPIAMENTU - on finding back my native tongue while crossing borders

an essay I wrote in 2007 that is very much in the spirit of liminal space

It starts at Schiphol, the Amsterdam airport. Before that, I am still immersed in my life in Jerusalem, concerned with my family and the escalating violence in this region, while working until the very last minute to finish grant proposals that are due when I am away. I do not have time to connect to my trip, which still feels more like a yearly obligation to visit my elderly mother in my native Curaçao, rather than spending my precious vacation time trekking in Turkey or Nepal.  

I usually have a few hours to kill, not enough to take the train into the city and visit friends, which is what I do on my return trip when I have almost twelve hours between planes. And so I silently wander around the airport, feeling a little like a spy, as I do in Jerusalem when I hear Dutch tourists speaking on the street, not suspecting that I, who looks like a native of this city, would understand. Not yet identifying myself as a speaker of Dutch, I take in the talk, smiling to myself, my little secret.

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WATSU in a Beit Zayit Pool

I float on my back held up by a Watsu practitioner who moves me gently through the water, making sure my head stays above the surface so that I do not get water up my nose.  Watsu, or water shiatsu,  can be a means of water therapy,  but I have been going to Watsu sessions at the Beit Zayit pool to celebrate special occasions, like my birthdays, to enter into a dream state, to sink to the depths of my subconscious and to emerge anew, 

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December 31 - IN LIMINAL TIME

Zalig Uiteinde is what the Dutch wish one another on December 31. Uiteinde is a word that does not exist in English, yet its constituents are similar to out and end – an ending-out? - I would translate the blessing as “a blissful ushering out of the end”. It gives space to that time between the old and the new. It gives duration to the end.

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