reading ganesh

When I emigrated, together with my cat, my husband had bought us a little house in a town in South Texas. We lived there until May 2006.

About six months after I came to South Texas, I got a job in the local public library, as a children’s librarian. In the meantime I was struggling to get my Dutch library degree recognized, to no avail. After a few frustrating months at the public library I got a job as the librarian at the high school of one of the region’s smallest and poorest school districts. My absolutely jaw-dropping experiences there can be found under EDUCATION — HIGH SCHOOL. These posts really should be read in order, starting with the oldest. Some more stuff will follow later, as soon as I’ve found those letters.

After almost losing my mind there, I started on the last year of a Bachelor’s degree at the state university nearby. If you want to know why, and how that went and let your jaw drop some more,Β  go to EDUCATION — UNIVERSITY, and start with the oldest post.

My son was born in 1997, right before the beginning of my last semester as an “undergrad”. In the autumn of 1997 I began pursuing a master’s degree in English, which I finished in 2000, I believe, when my daughter was still a baby. You can read my observations as a graduate student under EDUCATION — UNIVERSITY as well, starting here.

We moved to Austin in the summer of 2006. I had been translating Dutch non-fiction into English on and off since 1986, and in 2001 I got officially approved to translate fiction as well, and here in Austin that’s what I focus on. Click here to go to my translating and proofreading website.

35 responses to “About

  1. Funny (or not): my degree (Licensed Midwife) was also declared worthless in the US. Even though my credits exceeded by far the requirements in the US and I had documented deliveries of more than 600 babies. I fought for a while and then gave up and made the best of it in a different career.
    (B.t.w., at some point we lived in the Austin area and I used to work in Austin, at The ARC of the Capital Area. I always found Austin to be one of the nicer places with a nearly European flair to it…well, with a good dose of goodwill and imagination!)


  2. I agree. Austin is almost European, not in looks, but in political views. It’s a little liberal island in an otherwise pretty conservative Texas. As far as degrees are concerned, if you want to have a laugh, read my experiences getting a different degree!


  3. Oh, dear!
    Reading this, I feel tears coming to my eyes. First I think they’re tears of laughter. Since this is MY story as well, just switch the scene to Upstate NY and the library degree to midwifery.
    But then I realize: they’re tears of grief and anger. How unjust this whole scharade.
    Thanks for putting your struggle into words in such a competent way.


  4. Thanks, Helga. Yeah, especially considering the fact that America always ranks at the bottom of the industrialized countries where education is concerned, you’d think they’d welcome people with European degrees with open arms. The thing is, by doing that they would be admitting that they waste students’ money here by not giving them a good high school education and then making them pay through the nose for a useless bachelor’s degree that tries–and doesn’t succeed, see my other posts about being a student here–to make up for the lack of earlier education before they can go on and get a profession.


  5. Marit van der Meulen-Izarin

    Well I do not have the experience of living in the US (I lived in the south of America) , but I have the experience of working with US colleauges since our management is based in the US. And funny our lives went different ways but I am working for a publishing company πŸ™‚
    Nice to read how your life went after (or way after) our friendship in Eemnes

    mvg Marit


  6. Marit van der Meulen-Izarin

    Goed heel goed
    Na mijn school werd ik uitgeloot voor de school van journalistiek en na allerlei andere opties ben ik leraren opleiding gaan doen, echter de vakken die ik moest geven ,was op scholen waar de leerlingen alleen hun tijd uitzaten, deprimerend en demotiverend. Dus maar gestopt moeder geworden en 5 jaar later begonnen met werken, de computers kwamen toen net in het bedrijfsleven en aangezien ik nogal kundig wat in systeem beheer en applicatie beheer, werd ik in verschillende bedrijven ingezet voor implementaties. Zo ook bij mijn voorlaatste werkgever Fujitsu-Siemens waar ik onderdeel was van de SAP implementatie. Daarna ben ik 2 1/2 jaar in Duitsland gaan werken voor ze,alwaar ik de leiding had over de SAP first line helpdesk. Ondertussen was ik gescheiden en een nieuw leven begonnen , ja op mijn 40ste(leven begint pas na je 40ste πŸ˜‰ ) Na outsourcing van mijn werk ben ik voor Wolterskluwer gaan werken alwaar ik nu de SAP Service Delivery manager ben en het enorm naar mijn zin heb. Ben alweer 12 jaar samen met mijn huidige man, woon in Alphen aan den Rijn en ons huishouden bestaat ook nog uit 2 honden en 2 katten.
    Dit was de verkorte(toch lange) versie van mijn leven de laatste 35 jaar πŸ™‚


  7. I love the line about your Dutch citizenship. I feel the same about my UK, but I think we’re European these days. I’m not so sure I feel the same way about being European!


  8. Hello there! Thanks so much for stopping by and following my blog! Now it has led me to your blog. It looks very interesting and I look forward to reading more. I am a former Austinite. I lived there from 2007 – 2011. I loved Austin, all the places to go; shops, cafe’s etc and beautiful scenery of the lakes and hills …but the traffic is just too much! Ugh! I now enjoy a much smaller, less populated area …still in Texas though and still hot! πŸ˜‰


  9. Hello! Thanks for stopping by my blog, “History Undusted”! You’ve made the opposite journey to me – I went from Kansas to Scotland to Switzerland. Love your observations about Ami culture…


  10. I had the pleasure of spending two months in Holland the summer after I graduated from high school. I lived in Enschede with the family of the exchange student who had been my lab partner in Physics. Wonderful country! I can see there is much here on your blog to explore. Thank you so much for visiting mine.


  11. How’d ya like Into Thin Air? I still recall fondly the thrill of inhaling that book in one long read, years ago.


    • I read it in a few sittings as well, and considering the horrifying subject, it was indeed a page-turner. What surprised me the most–what I had never realized before–was the terrible shape the climbers are in by the time they even start the final climb. It’s a miracle any of them survive at all. And many of them only survive thanks to the sherpas.


  12. Marian Brouwer

    Hallo Barbara, hoe gaat het met je. Al 20 jaar in den vreemde. Denk nog vaak aan Deventer (chez Leo) en de gezamelijke vakanties. Lees dat het niet allemaal even gemakkelijk was. Lijkt mij leuk iets van je horen. Marian


  13. Wat een mooi verhaal! Ik ga je volgen

    Liked by 1 person

  14. best of luck…great blog, great story of your life here…my ancestry is Dutch…


  15. I do not see anywhere where you leave your personal contact info to send a private email. You obviously know where to reach me if you would like to hear my comments about politcal issues so that do not have to appear on the public forum, for example my thoughts on Regents and Jury Nullification, which are connected to the issues of totalitarianism, and balances of power in society.


  16. Jackie Van Anda

    Hi Barbara, it’s always good to hear your thoughtful reflections and candid viewpoint. Thanks for speaking out.
    I’m also “stealing” some of your book recommendations. Looking for solid but entertaining reads. And I’m sure I’ll like your better than most booklists I’ve been searching. -Jackie


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