3 Months


Yes, I just checked when I posted my first post on this blog and that has been exactly 3 months ago. well… and a day when we go by date, but I made that post late at night (as I usually do) so… 3 months.

In that month I made 144 published posts, 7 drafts. It brought me 1904 views with the USA leading at 868 followed by the Netherlands with 235, the UK (probably 90% Scotland though) with 163 and Canada with 141 with a total of 43 countries. Oh and let’s not forget 134 Blog followers and 1 email only follower……. So far the numbers.

What is way more important is that I have gained so much from these 3 months. I made friends, Joined a pack, joined a facebook group, became a moderator for that group, started a blog for that group, started a blog for my alterego Whizzy. Got a bunch of awards (some work left with acceptance post) Made a bunch of awards. Discovered I could kinda write, started to try and write a book. Got two autographed books from a new friend that writes amazing and that I wouldn’t have discovered were it not for this blog.

And so we are at this point. I consider the blog still a work in progress when it comes to the final direction it will take but seeing the above numbers I think I can take it that I do something write….uh…..right.

How can I not take a moment to thank you, the reader of this article, the follower of my blog and the commenter on the pages (regardless if you are just one or all of these). I thank you for your time and attention, I thank you for your kind words in the comments, I thank you for your reblogs, I thank you for your follows. Without you all this would just be ” another personal journal” but it has become more than that because of you.

Thank you my wolfpack for taking me in. I know we have some bumps in the road but we will prevail and come out stronger than ever. I love you all, we are one. Ed, Patty, Horty, Brian

I don’t know about ” blog songs” but I guess in music the rappers are the bloggers for me so I think this one is for you all enjoy

Utrecht, The letters of Utrecht (an eternal poem) and a brief history


The Letters of Utrecht

A poem for the future grows in the stones of the street in the center of the town of Utrecht, The Netherlands. One character per stone, one stone per week. Every Saturday a stone mason turns the next stone into the next Letter. In months words appear. With the years verses grow in the streets, extended by a different poet of Utrechts’ guild of poets every few years. Through the centuries the line of the poem will itself draw letters on the map of the changing city.

 

The poem continues for as long as someone is willing to contribute the next Letter as a gift to his town and its future citizens and link his or her name with a Letter by bearing the costs of its creation. The costs per Letter are expected to be around 100 Euro, including 10 Euro for a good cause. A consecutive number will help the sponsor find his/her letter, and count the weeks since the beginning of the year 2000. Contribute your Letter!

the letters of Utrecht

At the same time of the publication on the street the Letter appears on this website, with the name of the sponsor. The stone mason can engrave the name or initials of the sponsor in the side of the stone (invisible under the surface of the street).

The Letters of Utrecht were unveiled on June 2, 2012. The beginning of the poem of the Letters of Utrecht was predated to fictitiously start on New Year’s day of the year 2000. The first 648 characters were actually placed on May 30th and 31st, 2012. From June 2d, 2012 onwards the next character is hewn out of the next stone every Saturday.

Stichting Letters van Utrecht organizes the project, the fiscal authorities in the Netherlands mark it as a cultural organization for the general benefit (culturele ANBI). Gifts can be declared in a Dutch tax declaration.

The poem that the Letters of Utrecht spell out on the street is also published on this site (Dutch version, seeNederlands), up to the most recently hewn letter.

The parts not yet published in the street will remain secret. The poem will be extended by a different poet whenever required. It is never completed.

List of Letters, sponsors, dates and position.

The following is a rough translation of the poem:

Ruben van Gogh (Letters 1-124):
Je zult ergens moeten beginnen om het verleden een plaats te geven, het heden doet er steeds minder toe. Hoe verder je bent, hoe beter. Ga maar door nu,
You have to begin somewhere to give the past its place, the present matters ever less. The further you are, the better. Continue now,

Ingmar Heytze (Letters 125-240):
laat je sporen na. Vergeet de flits waarin je mag bestaan, de wereld is je stratenplan. Was er een tijd dat je een ander was: die ging voorbij.
leave your footprints. Forget the flash, in which you may exist, the world is your map. If there was a time when you where another: it went by.

Chrétien Breukers (Letters 241-374):
Je bent die ander al. Je bent, zoals je weet, van dit verhaal de spil. Dit is de eeuwigheid. Die duurt. Die heeft de tijd. Ga daarom op in je verhaal en zwelg. Vertel.
You are the other already. You are, as you know, the center of this story. This is eternity. It lasts. It has the time. Become one with your story and revel. Tell.

Alexis de Roode (Letters 375-532):
Vertel ons wie je bent met elke stap. In ons verhaal verdwijnen wij vanzelf, en enkel jij blijft over op den duur. Jij en deze letters, die uit steen gehouwen zijn. Zoals de letters op ons graf.
Tell us who you are with every step. In our story we vanish inevitably, only you remain in the long run. You and these letters hewn from stone. As the letters on our grave.

Ellen Deckwitz (Letters 533-682):
De barsten in de Dom. Naar de hemel opgestoken als een wijsvinger, om de schuldigen aan te duiden en meer tijd te eisen. Zodat we weer rechtop kunnen gaan, als mensen langs de gracht.
The cracks in the cathedral’s tower. Raised to heaven as an index finger, to identify the guilty and demand more time. So that we can walk straight again as humans along the canal.

Mark Boog (Letters 683-?)
Die naar hun voeten staren. …
Those staring at their feet. Look upwards! See Utrecht’s churches…

(roughly translated up to Letter 733

The History of Utrecht

Utrecht (/ˈjuːtrɛkt/Dutch pronunciation: [ˈytrɛxt] ( )) is the capital and most populous city in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 327,834 on 1 November 2013.

Utrecht’s ancient city centre features many buildings and structures from the Early Middle Ages. It has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the 8th century. Currently it is the see of the Archbishop of Utrecht, the most important Dutch Roman Catholic leader Utrecht is also the see of the archbishop of the Old Catholic church, titular head of the Union of Utrecht (Old Catholic), and the location of the offices of the main Protestant church. Until the Dutch Golden Age, Utrecht was the most important city of the Netherlands; then, Amsterdam became its cultural centre and most populous city.

Castle Vredenburg

Utrecht is host to Utrecht University, the largest university of the Netherlands, as well as several other institutes for higher education. Due to its central position within the country, it is an important transport hub for both rail and road transport. It has the second highest number of cultural events in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam.

800px-514264Academiegebouw

The academic building of the Utrecht University situated next to the Dom Church

Origins (until 650)

Many of the features in Blaeu‘s 1652 map of Utrecht can still be recognised in the city center

Although there is some evidence of earlier inhabitation in the region of Utrecht, dating back to the Stone Age (app. 2200 BCE) and settling in the Bronze Age (app. 1800–800 BCE),the founding date of the city is usually related to the construction of a Roman fortification (castellum), probably built in around 50 CE. These fortresses were designed to house a cohort of about 500 Roman soldiers. Near the fort a settlement would grow housing artisans, traders and soldiers’ wives and children. A line of such fortresses was built after the Roman emperor Claudius decided the empire should not expand further north. To consolidate the border the limes Germanicus defense line was constructed. This line was located at the borders of the main branch of the river Rhine, which at that time flowed through a more northern bed compared to today, along what is now the Kromme Rijn.

In Roman times, the name of the Utrecht fortress was simply Traiectum denoting its location at a possibility to cross the Rhine. Traiectum became Dutch Trecht. The U comes from Old Dutch “uut” meaning downriver. It was added to distinguish from the other Tricht, Maas-tricht. In 11th-century official documents it was then Latinized as Ultra Traiectum. Around the year 200, the wooden walls of the fortification were replaced by sturdier tuff stone walls, remnants of which are still to be found below the buildings around Dom Square.

From the middle of the 3rd century Germanic tribes regularly invaded the Roman territories. Around 275 the Romans could no longer maintain the northern border and Utrecht was abandoned. Little is known about the next period 270–650. Utrecht is first spoken of again centuries after the Romans left. Under the influence of the growing realms of the Franks a church was built in the 7th century within the walls of the Roman fortress during Dagobert I‘s reign. In ongoing border conflicts with the Frisians the church was however destroyed.

Centre of Christianity in the Netherlands (650–1579)

The Dom tower, with to the left behind it the remaining section of the Dom church. The two parts have not been connected since the collapse of the nave in 1674.

By the mid-7th century, English and Irish missionaries set out to convert the Frisians. The pope appointed their leader, Willibrordus, bishop of the Frisians; which is usually considered to be the beginning of the Bishopric of Utrecht. In 723, the Frankish leader Charles Martel bestowed the fortress in Utrecht and the surrounding lands as the base of bishops. From then on Utrecht became one of the most influential seats of power for the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands. The see of the archbishops of Utrecht was located at the uneasy northern border of the Carolingian Empire. Furthermore it had to compete with the nearby trading centre Dorestad, also founded near the location of a Roman fortress. After the downfall of Dorestad around 850, Utrecht became one of the most important cities in the Netherlands. The importance of Utrecht as a centre of Christianity is illustrated by the election of the Utrecht-born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens as pope in 1522 (the last non-Italian pope before John Paul II)Pope Adrian died one year later after his election and although he ordered to build the Paus Huize in Utrecht he never actually saw it.

Prince-Bishops

When the Frankish rulers established the system of feudalism, the Bishops of Utrecht came to exercise worldly power as prince-bishops. The territory of the bishopric not only included the modern province of Utrecht (Nedersticht, ‘lower Sticht‘), but also extended to the northeast. The feudal system led to conflict, and the prince-bishopric was at odds with the Counts of Holland and the Dukes of Guelders. The Veluwe region was soon seized by Guelders, but large areas in the modern province of Overijssel remained as the Oversticht.

Clerical buildings

Several churches and monasteries were built inside, or close to, the city of Utrecht. The most dominant of these was the Cathedral of Saint Martin, inside the old Roman fortress. The construction of the present Gothic building was begun in 1254 after an earlier romanesque construction had been badly damaged by fire. The choir and transept were finished from 1320 and were followed then by the ambitious Dom tower. The last part to be constructed was the central nave, from 1420. By that time, however, the age of the great cathedrals had come to an end and declining finances prevented the ambitious project from being finished, the construction of the central nave being suspended before the planned flying buttresses could be finished. Besides the cathedral there were four collegiate churches in Utrecht: St. Salvator’s Church (demolished in the 16th century), on the Dom square, dating back to the early 8th century. Saint John (Janskerk), originating in 1040; Saint Peter, building started in 1039 and Saint Mary‘s church building started around 1090 (demolished in the early 19th century, cloister survives). Besides these churches the city housed Saint Paul‘s Abbey. The 15th-century beguine monastery of Saint Nicholas, and a 14th-century chapter house of the Teutonic Knights.

Besides these buildings which were part of the official structures of the bishopric; an additional four parish churches were constructed in the city: the Jacobikerk (dedicated to Saint James), founded in the 11th century, with the current Gothic church dating back to the 14th century; the Buurkerk (Neighbourhood-church) of the 11th-century parish in the centre of the city; Nicolaichurch (dedicated to Saint Nicholas), from the 12th century and the 13th-century Geertekerk (dedicated to Saint Gertrude of Nivelles).

City of Utrecht

The location on the banks of the river Rhine allowed Utrecht to become an important trade centre in the Northern Netherlands. The growing town Utrecht was granted city rights by Henry V. in 1122. When the main flow of the Rhine moved south, the old bed, which still flowed through the heart of the town became evermore canalized; and a very rare wharf system was built as an inner city harbour system. On the wharfs storage facilities (werfkelders) were built, on top of which the main street, including houses was constructed. The wharfs and the cellars are accessible from a platform at water level with stairs descending from the street level to form a unique structure. The relations between the bishop, who controlled many lands outside of the city, and the citizens of Utrecht was not always easy. The bishop, for example dammed the Kromme Rijn at Wijk bij Duurstede to protect his estates from flooding. This threatened shipping for the city and led the city of Utrecht to commission a canal to ensure access to the town for shipping trade: the Vaartse Rijn, connecting Utrecht to the Hollandse IJssel at IJsselstein.

The end of independence

In 1528, the secular powers of the bishop over both Neder- and Oversticht – which included the city of Utrecht – were transferred to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who became the Lord of the Seventeen Provinces (the current Benelux and the northern parts of France). This transition was not an easy one and Charles V tried to exert his power over the citizens of the city, who had achieved a certain level of independence from the bishops and were not willing to cede this to their new lord. Charles decided to build a heavily fortified castle Vredenburg to house a large garrison whose chief task would be to maintain order in the city. The castle would last less than 50 years before it was demolished in an uprising in the early stages of the Dutch Revolt.

Republic of the Netherlands (1579–1815)

Prince Maurits in Utrecht, 31 July 1618

In 1579 the northern seven provinces signed the Union of Utrecht, in which they decided to join forces against Spanish rule. The Union of Utrecht is seen as the beginning of the Dutch Republic. In 1580 the new and predominantly Protestant state abolished the bishoprics, including the one in Utrecht, which had become an archbishopric in 1559. The stadtholders disapproved of the independent course of the Utrecht bourgeoisie and brought the city under much more direct control of the Holland dominated leadership of the republic. This was the start of a long period of stagnation of trade and development in Utrecht, an atypical city in the new state, still about 40% Catholic in the mid-17th century, and even more so among the elite groups, who included many rural nobility and gentry with town houses there.

The city, which was held against its will in the states of the Republic, failed to defend itself against the French invasion in 1672 (the Disaster Year).

The lack of structural integrity proved to be the undoing of the central section of the cathedral of St Martin church when Utrecht was struck by atornado in 1674.

The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 settled the War of the Spanish Succession.

Since 1723 (but especially after 1870) Utrecht became the centre of the non-Roman Old Catholic Churches in the world.

Modern history (1815–present)

In the early 19th century, the role of Utrecht as a fortified town had become obsolete. The fortifications of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie were moved east of Utrecht. The town walls could now be demolished to allow for expansion. The moats remained intact and formed an important feature of the Zocher plantsoen, an English style landscape park that remains largely intact today.

1960s style architecture at the Jaarbeursplein

Growth of the city increased when, in 1843, a railway connecting Utrecht to Amsterdam was opened. After that, Utrecht gradually became the main hub of theDutch railway network.

In 1853, the Dutch government allowed the bishopric of Utrecht to be reinstated by Rome, and Utrecht became the centre of Dutch Catholicism once more.

With the industrial revolution finally gathering speed in the Netherlands and the ramparts taken down, Utrecht began to grow far beyond the medieval center from the 1880s onward with the construction of neighbourhoods such as Oudwijk, Wittevrouwen, Vogelenbuurt to the East, and Lombok to the West. New middle class residential areas, such as Tuindorp and Oog in Al, were built in the 1920s and 1930s. During this period, several Jugendstil houses and office buildings were built, followed by Rietveld who built the Rietveld Schröder House (1924), and Dudok’s construction of the city theater (1941).

During World War II, Utrecht was held by the Germans until the general German surrender of the Netherlands on 5 May 1945. Canadian troops that surrounded the city entered it after that surrender, on 7 May 1945.

Since World War II, the city has grown considerably when new neighbourhoods such as OvervechtKanaleneilandHoograven and Lunetten were built. Additionally the area surrounding Utrecht Centraal railway station and the station itself have been developed following modernist ideas of the 1960s, in a brutaliststyle. This led to the construction of the shopping mall Hoog Catharijne, music centre Vredenburg (Hertzberger, 1979), and conversion of part of the ancient canal structure into a highway (Catherijnebaan). Protest against further modernisation of the city centre followed even before the last buildings were finalised. In the early 21st century the whole area is being redeveloped. An architectural unique music palace is being constructed, that will be run jointly by Vredenburg, Tivoli and the SJU Jazzpodium.

Currently the city is expanding once more with the development of the Leidsche Rijn housing area.

Grab you follow image here (courtesy of Just Patty)


As you all know, I am a member of an amazing group of bloggers united in the Wolfpack. I have joined this group a few weeks ago and they all have great “proud follower of…” images. They are made bu Patty, the author of http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/

She made me the following picture for you to take if you want to let others know you follow my blog

mavadelofoloow

So a big huge Thank you to Patty. She made all the images for our pack

Her own blog

Just Patty

and our other members

 

 

 

 

Thank you patty

The Wolfpack – an Introduction


A few weeks ago I was kindly accepted within the WordPress Wolfpack (or the Wolfpack on WP and the WP share your blog page) Here you will find an introduction of the members.

Do you want to visit the members then follow the following links

Shaun: http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/
Dr Rex: http://hrexach.wordpress.com/
Bishop Eddie: http://bishoptatro.wordpress.com/
Just Patty: http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/
Jade: http://jadereyner.com/
Mavadelo: https://mavadelo.wordpress.com but hey, you is already here right

The text in the black wolf/white wolf picture reads:
A native American Chief was teaching his grandson about life
He said “There are two wolves fighting in each and everyone of us”
One is pride, greed, anger, jealousy, hate and resentment while the other is Love, humbleness, faith, hope, happiness and courage”

The grandson asked “Which wolf will win?”
The Chief replied “The one you feed”

Which wolf will you feed?
Think about it and start making a difference

Always look on the bright side of life. My story


Always look on the bright side of life

I was born on Sunday August 18 1968 in Utrecht, a mid-sized city right in the heart of the Netherlands. I was the last of 8 children in a family where the father had left just 3 months before I was born. Needles to say I was one to many for my mother and thus my first 4 years where years of hunger and neglect until I got “rescued” by child protective services and placed in an orphanage / children’s home where I stayed for about 6 months until I got placed in a foster family.

I got lucky. My foster parents where kind and loving people who treated me as their own son. I got send to a good school, was a member of the boy scouts and a show band. Always enough to eat, toys to play with and after a few years even a little sister entered the picture. she was also from an orphanage although I was only in foster care while she got adopted. Not that my foster parents didn’t want to adopt me, it was just not possible at the time for several reasons.

Life was good for a while although at very young age I made some decisions I probably shouldn’t have made like starting to smoke the Mary Jane when I was 13 (and regular smoking about a year later) and starting to gamble at 15. For a long time I blamed the fact that I was a foster child for this behavior but in retrospect I can say that this was just a good excuse of course.

Then at age 15 I got the urge to find out where I came from, who my parents really where, what my sisters and brothers looked like…. well… I guess the normal questions a foster kid is asking him/herself at a certain point in life. I wish I never had done that. Yes I found my family and dang, was I in for a shocker.

Being raised in a decent Catholic family I was totally unprepared for what I met. An (in my eyes)  A-social family, uneducated, rough, a sister married to an ex-husband of my mother. Another sister married to a Muslim (not that I have anything against Muslims ), brothers that where borderline criminal (mind you, this was through the eyes of a “child” that had lived in a protective environment for the previous decade) and somehow I reacted to this in a way that was extreme.

I started to gamble even more, smoke harder stuff, I started to lie about almost everything, dropped out of school and started to wander the streets. My parents (foster.. but I always called them just parents) had no idea what to do with me and they decided that a special housing project where I could learn to handle my own affairs would be the best place for me to send and so they did.

Well… it wasn’t my time to learn to be a responsible independent person yet, all I wanted was to party, have fun and do whatever I dang well pleased and thus the project was a waste of time. Both for me and that project. So after about 6 months they showed me the door and I went homeless for real for the very first time in my life.

Being homeless was awful…..the first days…until I met some street-wise people who were willing to show me the ropes. I quickly learned where to go for food, shelter and money. How to get social benefits in several places at the same time, where to find the shops that had their produce out on the street before opening hours (you had that back then, shops that had fruit, veggies and bread behind the store out in the open for me to take) and so I got a “free pass” to live my life “however I dang well pleased” I really have been extremely lucky… I never got caught and because of that I have a blank slate till this day.

I traveled several years all through the country and Europe. I have seen the sunrise on Spanish beaches, picked grapes and oranges, worked for carnivals and the circus. I slept in fancy hotels when money allowed and in haystacks when it didn’t but in all my years “on the street” I maybe slept 4 weeks really on the streets. For the rest of the time there was always a place to lay my head, be it that haystack, an abandoned factory, a shelter or a shack. And above all… I always kept a positive outlook at the world.

I can tell you stories about going to bed in an old factory with a “junky” laying down next to me just to wake up with a dead person next to me, or about how several bosses kept denying me my pay for work done but that would make this article up to 4 times as long and is better kept for another occasion so let me just say that being on the streets was not all fun and games.

Fast forward to 1990, I went to Arnhem, a Dutch city near the border with Germany. A friend told me there was loads of work and in fact, he was right. I worked for a temp agency at a company that was in the business of making garbage dump sites “environmental friendly” Basically what they did was layering the ground with a sort of thick plastic that stopped the crap from sipping into the ground. Best job I ever had. We had to work from sun up to sun down but because it always was “on location” the company paid for a hotel and every day I got 25 guilders for meals. Since I did this together with that friend, we had 50 guilders and really only needed like 20 a day so in fact our boss paid for our marijuana as well. After 5 days of work we came back in Arnhem, went to our bank to collect the pay we earned the week before and then started to party until it was time to go to work again.

(yes they deserve a plug from me, You have a company in Holland in need of Technical Textile.. click the logo and check out their business)

Pink Floyd–Run Like Hell

Of course since this was a temp job it ended after a few months and since I am not a saver I ended up with nothing and on the streets again. Lucky for me I had gotten some connections in one of the coffee shops in Arnhem and they offered me a car that had no engine anymore to sleep in and after a few days they even got me a small room which I paid for by doing chores in the shop and around the house in the beginning and after I got social services I paid a small rent. Idiot that I am I fekked that up by being a bit….greedy… when it came to selling the greens (which was one of the things I had to do in the shop of course) and I had to flee (literally, don’t mess with drug dealers) Arnhem and went back to Utrecht

By now we have progressed to 1994 and we had a particular cold winter in the Netherlands and nowhere near enough sleeping places for the homeless. So me and a couple of friends decided to take things in our own hands and we squatted a place and turned it into a shelter. We did an excellent job I must say, we even made it on the mainstream news programs and since we where smart enough to do it in the Xmas season the city government didn’t dare to kick us out. It went very well, we had around 50 guests every night, we provided meals, had a sick bay and after a few weeks we made it into an official foundation with me as one of the founding members and member of “the board”. We even won two prices for volunteer organizations within our first year. I have worked there for a good 2 or 3 years until I met my current wife. I will address the shelter story more in-depth in following blog as well.

PO20090716_0001

The light in my eyes, love of my live and thorn in my side Open-mouthed smile my wife

When I met my wife, I had just returned from a well-earned vacation to Israel and had just started running night shifts in the shelter again. One evening a girl who was a guest with us got a “love letter” from somebody and I heard Lijda (yep.. that’s her name) sighing..”I never get love letters” . Since night shifts are kind of boring and I had nothing useful to do I figured, you know what I write you a “love letter”

In this letter I explained to her the reason I wrote it but at the end I added that although it was not my first intention.. I would not mind exploring the possibility of us getting together. Well, she didn’t mind that either and we decided to try to see. Little could I know that less than 3 months later I would go down on my knees and asked her to marry me and she would respond with yes.

Now, I stepped into the shelter project with the idea that it would bring me an easy way to have a bed and breakfast while at the same time helping some other homeless friends as well. Never it was my intention to use it as means to get of the streets indefinitely, heck..I liked that freedom and was fully planning to one day go back and re-start my traveling But you know? I follow the principle that a woman does not need to be on the streets if she is with me. The fact that I don’t mind doesn’t mean that she has to feel the same and so we decided that it was time to find a permanent solution.

Now you must understand that being homeless is like an addiction and in a way has it’s own “twelve step program”. It can be 6 or 14 steps as well but the same first step as with any addiction. “acknowledge you have a problem that you can not solve without proper help” which trails of course step 2 “seek professional help” There is nothing more difficult for an addict then to acknowledge his problem and to seek help. Most of us have a healthy distrust and dislike for “social workers”, especially those “hugger types” (in Dutch we call them goat wool sock types because they seem to wear them a lot), those people who went to social studies thinking they can change the world while they never actually met the people they going to help, think we are all piteous, can’t think for our own and are helpless in general. They often work according to “what they learned from the books” thinking they do good while actually not having a clue at all.

We found an organization that was willing to help us with our financial startup and with a little help from the N.O.I.Z (the night shelter) we where able to rent an apartment in one of the suburbs of Utrecht. This worked all very well and after 3 years of being engaged we decided to get married. Our wedding was great, we had a nice wedding dress for my wife (red) and I had a beautiful cream tuxedo (which was actually about 2 sizes to big and tightened with a safety-pin on the back side), a nice wedding cake, a great diner and a lot of guests both homeless and family. AND they mingled together very well I must say. I will never forget how my mother was dancing with “ome Kees” (Uncle Kees)  one of the most well-known among the homeless and street paper sellers in town. A woman of good upbringing dancing with a hobo…. it was awesome Open-mouthed smile Unfortunately I don’t have any wedding pictures left, you will learn why.

After a few years in our new home, the organization that helped us with our finances cut us loose, we had to do it ourselves. Something I had never done before and something they didn’t learn me either. Of course this went haywire… within a few months I had a debt for rent, electricity and water and to make matters worse Lijda started to get problems with walking. These health problems got worse by the day and although the doctors searched and looked, nothing could be found. However it still got worse and worse and after about 6 months Lijda ended up in a wheelchair because even a few steps became a huge problem for her.

It soon went downhill from there and after a little while we got shut off from water and electricity. Now luckily I got a little wiser then I was before and I asked for help from a neighborhood Centre and although it was not really what they normally did they went out of their way to make sure my wife got a place in a sick bay of the Salvation army (you can’t leave a disabled wife in a house without heat, water and electricity, that’s just plain wrong) meanwhile I stayed in the house…..until they kicked me out due to the rent not being paid in time and I was homeless again.

I stayed a while in one of the shelters in Utrecht (I couldn’t go to “my own” shelter, pride got in the way Winking smile ) meanwhile working with the Salvation Army to “fix” the problem. They where able to find a place for my wife with the promise that as soon as it was possible I would get a place there as well which happened about 2 months later.

While all of this was going on, my “brother from another mother” who was also a former homeless, had started “stichting straat advocaat Utrecht (Street lawyer foundation Utrecht) which had as purpose to help those homeless that had trouble with city and social services, where booted from shelters for something silly, help with income and more of those things that are completely normal for “housed” people. Since I was knowledgeable with computers I joined his organization to do some network and system admin duty’s soon followed by joining one of the projects of the foundation called “Amoras”

Amoras was bro’s initiative (actually, the N.O.I.Z was also his idea, unfortunately things happened which caused him not to be present in the founding period. The complete N.O.I.Z story and Amoras story probably will be told in another blog)

During a food festival cooking some lamb, that’s me seen on the back

Same festival, Bro showing his ribs Open-mouthed smile

Amoras was all about enabling the homeless and poor to have at least a few hot meals each week. We cooked 3 times a week for about 100 people, everybody regardless of where he/she came from was welcome and the costs for them where 0. Although it wasn’t “Gordon Ramsey” food we provided good nutritious and yummy food which was well received by our guests. Basically bro was the chef since he had been send to cooking school when he was in the army, I was his sous chef and then we had 2 or 3 friends that helped us chopping veggies and doing mise en place (for those not knowing this phrase, it’s french and has nothing to do with mise or places it means making things ready). Meanwhile in the “dining room” we had some friends handing out the food , coffee and tea. We have done this for about 3 years until the city council stopped the sponsoring in favor of a Christian group that promised to invest (but never did)

Meanwhile me and my wife where living at this organization where we had our own rooms, Lijda got help with her “new” disability and we got renewed help with getting out of the financial problems. We have lived there for a good 4 years while getting back on our feet. I must say I had some good times there but I was happy when after a few years they came to us telling they had an apartment for us where we could live indefinitely. It had an elevator specially for wheelchairs, a nice balcony and best of all, it was situated right on the border of one of the biggest canals in the country. right on the edge of town but still close to everything we could need like a shopping mall, hospital and public transport.

That high-rise right on the water front is where I live and following picture is the view I have when standing on my balcony

And so we are completing this “short” version of my life. My wife and I are nearing our 15th marriage anniversary, we have become debt free and basically enjoy live. We have kind of given up on finding out what is wrong with my wife (although a recent conversation with Shaun from http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/ has given us some new ideas to pursuit), we have a cat, friends and are slowly getting out of this homeless surroundings. Lesson learned I have still kept my financial aid person to help me make sure all bills  and we still have food when the month is nearing it’s end. But for the rest we are on our own and doing well.

Like I said, being homeless is like an addiction and the bad part of getting clean is the following: If you have been an addict for (say) 5 years, your road to recovery takes at least 10 years. If you have been homeless for 5 years the same is true…. me and my wife have been homeless for over 15 years so logic tells us our recovery could take up to 30 years, we are not in the safe zone just yet. However… to get back to the title of this blog… Always look on the bright side of life. We have gone through hell and back, we have grown and learned. We have become older, wiser, more responsible and above all more in touch with ourselves. In the end it all comes down to choices. How do you choose to live your life and how to make it better. Even when in deep doo doo you have the choice to do something about it but maybe you need to swallow some pride and ask for help. This counts for many situations, not only for those homeless and/or addicted. Together we stand strong and with a positive outlook on life the help will be found.

Some of the things mentioned in this blog will be elaborated more in future blogs, maybe I will even tell some of the things that didn’t make it to this blog. Some events and/or persons I have left out due to the fact that privacy is a good thing and me posting things others can recognize and fit on to certain persons is something I like to avoid.

I thank you for reading this and hope to see you again for another blog, lots of love also from my wife to all that read this

Mavadelo aka Martin

Mavadelo, an introduction


Hi

My name is Martin

I am born at 18-08-68 in Utrecht, the Netherlands as the last of 8 children in a house bearing number 8. Guess what my favorite number is ;)

I have had a live that some of you would call difficult, I am an adoptive child, I have been homeless for many years, have done drugs and am currently taking care of a dissabled wive (whom I met while homeless btw)

many of these I will probably discuss in this blog but if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Although using the nick Mavadelo here (which stands simply for MArtin VAn DEr LOuw) I am better known under the nicknames Whizzy (my öfficial” nick for over 30 years), a1Whizzy (youtube), daWhizzy (severla gaming sites) or Wh1zzy (twitter) so feel free to drop me a line if you encounter those nicks somewhere

 

you can view this info also on the about page