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Linda A. Janssen

Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Savouring Summer's Schedule

Posted by: Carole on Saturday August 25, 2012 (02:27:48)   (3653 Reads)
Linda A. Janssen
From as far back as I can remember, summer has always held a special allure. There was something about being freed from the confining strictures of the school year schedule just as the North American summer season was gearing up that combined to put me in a full swoon.

No more awakening early, bleary-eyed and cranky, to rush through the morning routine before the yellow school bus arrived. My mother let us sleep in later, welcoming the opportunity to leisurely sip her cup of coffee and read the newspaper in peace before the day's work began in earnest.

No more sitting inside a classroom during the rising heat and bright sunshine of late spring; no more stealing looks out the window and desperately wishing I were outside running barefoot in the thick grass.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

School's in Session

Posted by: Carole on Saturday July 28, 2012 (01:17:25)   (3324 Reads)
Linda A. Janssen
When you first learn you're moving overseas, so many thoughts run through your mind.

Where will we live? What are the weather and geography like? Will I need to learn a new language? How different will the culture be?

Yet for the parents among us, schooling options for our children ranks right at the top of the list.

The good news is that if your destination is the Netherlands, you're got plenty of options.

What will help you sift through the choices is your specific situation:
• the area where you'll be living
• the number and ages of your children
• your anticipated length of stay
• preferences for a specific type of education
• their personalities and learning styles
• any special needs    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

That Time Of Year

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday June 12, 2012 (01:48:29)   (11437 Reads)
Linda A. Janssen
The end of the school year ushers in its own social dynamics.
Teachers cram in last minute review sessions and cajole students to focus and study, study and focus. Occasionally an administrator will throw in a heartfelt reminder that grades aren't the most important measurement of a student's progress, but at this stage of the game, no one's buying it.

Teachers and staff alike look forward eagerly not only to well-deserved time off, but also to the blessed silence that greets them when they do enter the school building during the summertime.
Students want to be done with projects, homework, assessments and exams so that they can celebrate with their friends. Nothing says summer better than that rush of relief that the pressure's off followed by the thrill of a good party.

Parents just want it all over with, and the sooner the better. The thought of several months' freedom from the early morning scramble to get children of whatever age - it doesn't really seem to matter, it's all exhausting – up, dressed, fed and out the door beckons like a siren's call.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

The Global U-Bend Of Happiness

Posted by: Carole on Sunday May 13, 2012 (00:28:07)   (4044 Reads)
Linda A. Janssen
All these years I've believed that, underneath it all, people are the same. Now it seems there's some research to back me up.

Oh, I know. You're probably thinking that the human core - heart, mind, spirit - may be similar, but certainly the circumstances in which we are born, live and die serve to make us very, very different.

Especially when it comes to happiness. Surely there must be differences in personal contentedness across the First, Second and Third Worlds?

You need only turn on the television, open a newspaper, pick up a magazine or go online to find headlines of heartache, misery and discontent. Poverty, famine, disease, and natural disasters plague many, not to mention totalitarian regimes, gender bias, income inequality, lack of educational opportunities or suitable housing.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Wanderlust

Posted by: Carole on Thursday April 05, 2012 (12:47:37)   (3469 Reads)
Linda A. Janssen
I was seven years old when I first traveled to a foreign country, a short family trip to Canada to visit Niagara Falls. While the roaring falls on the US side were attractive enough, everyone knew the more impressive-looking Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side were better. The seed of knowledge that you had to go elsewhere to experience the unusual was duly planted.

Crossing the border was perfunctory back then, requiring little in the way of identification. I still remember the thrill of getting in the long line of vehicles inching slowly toward the toll plaza manned by Canadian border agents. My father had only to answer a few short questions before being waved through, but the whole concept of having to seek permission to enter another country was seared into my young brain. Imagine my dismay upon realizing that our surroundings looked roughly the same as the American countryside we'd just left!    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

The True Universal Language

Posted by: Carole on Monday March 05, 2012 (22:48:00)   (3428 Reads)
Linda A. Janssen
Is there a universal language?

For centuries, many would sigh dreamily and nod their head in agreement: of course there is, and it's love. Yet in today's highly globalized world, spurred on by technology and the advent of the internet, some would argue that English is fast approaching such a de facto designation.

You could argue the merits of either argument, but I beg to differ. I've seen the universal language, and it is written in the emotions reflected by our body language and facial expressions. Of course certain gestures will differ across cultures, but the emotions themselves remain the same.

I was reminded of this on a recent rainy afternoon as I shopped in my local Albert Heijn grocery store. Ever since moving to the Netherlands three years ago, I've been fascinated by the theatre that is acted out in the aisles and checkout lines there on a daily basis.    more ...