Eye in the sky.
- Division in math. Discovering for the first time what division was. In 2nd grade, I had this really nice teacher whose name was Miss Bell. She motivated me greatly and was a fine coach for a curious boy. I had enthusiastically skipped through the math workbook and came to the final chapter. There I came in contact with a new and bizarre symbol, which looked like this: (÷). Yikes, what could that possibly be?! Miss Bell just smiled and explained that it was the division symbol. It could be used to chop up numbers into an equal amount of other smaller numbers. Hmmm, fascinating.
- Metaphor. In high school we had to read the book "The Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. Boring for most people, but of course I was a real geek and found it a challenge discovering new literature. We had this really strict teacher whose name was Mrs. Lukavich. She got angry alot, but she taught quite effectively. I will never forget the day she asked us all if anyone knew what a "metaphor" was. Of course, no one had the slightest idea, not even I. Then she explained it: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another; making an implicit comparison, as in "All the world’s a stage" by Shakespeare; one thing conceived as representing another; a symbol. I became engrossed with such a concept, how the human mind could be so creative in processing thoughts in such an abstract and wonderful way. That is when I got hooked on reading books. From that day onward I I have remained an avid reader of books, all kinds of books, piles and piles of books.
- President Kennedy has been shot. For those of you alive at the time, who can ever forget where they were when they first heard about this awful news. I was six years old on the day sitting in the classroom. It was a gloomy day. All of a sudden, the principal came on the PR-system and said, "Our president has been shot." We were all excused from school and everything seemed dark and sad. The black-and-white scenes on the television set of the burial procession with the US flag draped over a wooden casket with wheels pulled by a horse are about the clearest memories of my youth.
- Meeting Thea. Seeing this attractive blond-haired Dutch gal for the first time in Balestrand, Norway. What can I say, except that this random rendezvous changed my life forever. Starting all over again in Holland, building up my life from scratch all over again. And all for the sake of love. Despite the many impossible obstacles, it has turned out to be a relationship that has lasted. I hope it stays that way. Dearest Thea, thank you so very much for having entered my life. Was it a coincidence, a quirk of fate, or something deeper? For more details, please click here.
- First man on the moon. Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon's surface as the first man on the moon. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. I was sitting in the back seat with my sisters, my parents driving back home from a visit at Jeanine's I think. We were at the fly-overs right before San Jose when this was announced on the radio. I felt like mankind had pulled off a miraculous achievement, and when I grew up I would like to be a part of it. Wow. Now every evening I could gaze up at the moon and think that someone had actually been there.
- Accepted into Stanford. Getting into Stanford University, hurrah! The rest of my life was taken care of, or at least that is what I thought. Boy, was I ecstatic at the time, with the whole wide world open to me. I would become a future-famous brain surgeon some day. So much to learn, so much to experience within those four short years. I still often dream about this time in my life, which goes to show you how much this phase has influenced me, subconsciously. For more details, please click here.
- Reality an illusion? Does reality really exist or is it all an illusion? In reality there is no way to prove or disprove this. The mind might be creating reality or just dreaming or observing a bunch of mechanical robots. That tree over there? This person I am talking to about whether or not reality is an illusion, a book. Actually, it was my mother who brought up this tantalizing concept one evening. Probably a casual sentence to trigger me into thinking. It worked. I am still thinking about it. Hopefully in a couple years I will come up with the answer.
- Lennart born. The birth of my first child, listening to Mahler's 2nd Symphony in the car on the way to register his birth at the town hall in Amsterdam with tears in my eyes. I had become a father for the first time in my life. Time to become responsible.
Note: since this entry was written, a new page has been added to my homepage at Life changers.