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Two days ago, I came across superplin's recollections of a particular summer (here), which had been triggered by one of those Google image memes. You know the kind: the kind that asks you to post the result(s) of certain predefined searches on the Internet. Curious, I followed the link and found the meme in question, and it was this:

Search for: Place you grew up. Place you live now. Your name. Your grandmother's name. Your favorite food. Your favorite drink. Your favorite song. Your favorite smell. Then post the first or your favorite result for each.

As I had nothing better to do at that particular moment, I tried it myself. And ran into trouble almost immediately. My name yielded a picture of a saluki. Very nice, but I'm not really a dog person. My grandmother's name came up with a 1,000+ hits for the town of Eunice, Louisiana, and an unclear picture of a stained glass window depicting St. Eunice. And the last 3 were totally uninteresting, IMO.

So I was left with Place you grew up and Place you live now. At first, I didn't think this would yield any results worth showing, especially since I have basically lived in the same town for all of my life. I may, on occasion, have left it for other, more exotic places temporarily, but I've always come back to it. It doesn't matter wherever else I've lived, whether it be Florence, or Istanbul, or Leicester; The Hague is home. Then, out of sheer idleness, I hit on the idea of googling for certain streets and neighbourhoods in this hometown of mine. And was amazed to find the following pictures:

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This is where I was born, in the erstwhile village of Loosduinen, which by the time of my birth had long since been annexed by The Hague. Older than the town by which it has been swallowed, it was an important religious centre for the region in the early Middle Ages, and especially devoted to the Holy Virgin, who was believed to have appeared there once. I was struck by how quintessentially Dutch this picture shows the place of my origin to be; but then, I've never really seen it from this angle. The main road passes in front of the church pictured in the background, and that was the street where I actually saw the light of day.

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The street I grew up in, some 10-15 kms from where I was born. 'Duinoord', as the neighbourhood is called, was a new development in which most of the houses were built between 1890 and 1910, in the then fashionable Jugendstil/Art Nouveau-style, with the odd neo-Renaissance facade thrown in. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a picture that shows my childhood home, but these few houses here are very typical of the houses in the rest of the street. Our house is/was about halfway down the street -- this row of houses stands at the beginning. The street is wide, an important thoroughfare; the neighbourhood is quietly genteel, leafy, and dotted with parks. If you should ever want to find it, the nearest landmark is the International Court of Justice, aka the Peace Palace. The Groothertoginnelaan lies just behind it.

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But this is the true find. This is where I live now, and if you look very carefully, you can actually see the flat I'm writing this entry in. To the right of this picture, you see the main road going through this neighbourhood, called the Bezuidenhout because it's located to the south ('zuid', 'zuiden') of the wood ('hout'). In the middle, you can see a school building. There is a street running behind it, intersecting with the main road. This is my street. Right behind the school, you see the back of the houses on the other side of this street. Facing the school, you can see the top of the apartment building I live in. Counting from the right, and starting at the tree, when you come to the seventh window on the top floor -- that's my flat. So it's just past the bit on the school building that has the picture of the tennis player on it. What do you think of that, then?



( 9 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
(Deleted comment)
May. 30th, 2005 06:14 am (UTC)
Isn't it just! I feel like I should be dressing myself like Frau Antje. ;-)
May. 29th, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
I am too lazy to copy any of the pictures into my journal!!

When I googled Ramsey - where I was brought up, the very first was a lovely picture of the harbour, although quite a few were of elderly gentlemen with big whiskers! When I did 'Onchan', where we live, the second picture was the chapel at the end of our road, and about the fifth or sixth was the library at the other side of the end of the road!!

Googling my name produced an odd result - my christian name is Voirrey, which is a local name, and only produced about 15 images - two of which were of my friend 'The other Voirrey'!!

My Grandmother's name brought up a picture of a box of cigars! And when I got to my favourite food, the pictures of chocolate were just too much - which is where I gave up! However this icon actually does show the town I was brought up in, in the background!
May. 30th, 2005 06:23 am (UTC)
my christian name is Voirrey, which is a local name

Wow! That's an unusual name -- I can honestly say I've never heard it before...and I've heard some uncommon ones in my life: I've met women who were called Urith, Levenez, and Frideswide; but never a Voirrey. Until now, that is...What does it mean (sorry, but names and their meanings are something of a hobby of mine)?

I googled my LJ-name, and as it's Arabic, I wasn't really surprised to find the saluki as its first result. When I google my real name, though, I get about a hundred hits for Harry Potter's owl, several references to the play Hedwig And The Angry Inch, and only then do I find a reference to St. Hedwig of Silesia, my patron saint.
May. 30th, 2005 09:32 am (UTC)
Manx as a language is written slightly more phonetically than most of the other gaelic languages. In Scotland you will find quite a few women called Mhairi - the roots or which are fairly obvious from the spelling - it is their equivalent to Mary - and is the name used in Scots Gaelic Bibles for all the Marys in the English version. 'Mh' is pronounced somewhere between 'V' and 'F' and so the correct pronounciation of Mhairi is not, as you often hear it Mary, but Vaarie, which you will hear in the north of Scotland. Can you see where I'm going!?

Voirrey is the equivalent written version in Manx - usually pronounced Vorry although if you are being totally correct it should be pronounced Vorra - but I'm not that correct!

The only place you occasionally find non-Manx Voirreys is around Liverpool, probably because a lot of Manx people moved there in the early - mid twentieth century and took the name with them. Here on the Island it is a fairly common name - I know three other ones.
May. 30th, 2005 09:50 am (UTC)
Re: Voirrey
So it's the Manx form of Mary? That is so cool -- thanks for that; I'll add it to the database in my head (it's full with trivia like that).
May. 29th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC)
Interesting. And yes, that first place couldn't be taken anywhere else, could it?
May. 30th, 2005 06:28 am (UTC)
Really not...but I must say, I kind of like its quaintness. There's something really comforting in that picture...maybe it's the mill. ;-)
May. 30th, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
wow that's very cool indeed! ... no chance of finding my house on the net.

you've lived in Florence and Istanbul too?

... I feel very boring.
May. 30th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC)
you've lived in Florence and Istanbul too?

Not really -- it was more like an extended stay; part of my 2nd and 3rd year in college. Felt like home though, while I was there...
( 9 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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