Friday, July 15, 2011

Op de Fiets!

I will share a little secret with you. My daugher is almost seven years old now (six and three quarters as she likes to say) and she can not yet ride a bicycle... What's the big deal, you may ask?

Well, it is a BIG deal for a Dutch girl where children learn to ride a bike when they're three, or four. Everywhere you see mothers with boys and girls much younger than Soleine riding to and from school. Embarrassing really. So why hasn't she learned it? We never have had proper roads where you could learn to ride a bike safely. In Belize we lived on a dirt road, in Madagascar roads are too narrow and dangerous.

When I went to Ireland last week to see my friend Catherine and her daughter Zoe the conditions were perfect. A large enough yard with a concrete path around the house, and a purple bicycle just her size. It took her two and half days to learn how to ride. She was ready for it.

Soleine op de fiets and Tuurtje buurtje

Back in Holland at my brother's house now. The 8-years old neighbor boy Tuurtje het Buurtje kindly lent his bike to this girl who lives in Madagascar, speaks three languages, and who has learned to ride a bike in Ireland. Strange but true!


  1. Hahaha ik zit zowaar hardop te lachen in het internet cafe in Vietnam. Zo veel herkenning. Hoop jullie nog te zien in Nederland!

  2. Congrats, Soleine! And great that you got to meet up with Zoe in Ireland!

    We're leaving Mada this Saturday. We'll have to make sure our paths cross sometime soon. Skiing at Christmas? Amsterdam next spring? Let me know! Bises.