My life

This is the story of my life, the story that made the person and character who I am nowadays. Enjoy it or skip it.

My first years

Snodenhoeksestraat 26, Elst. This was my home for the first 25 years.

I was born in the Elisabeth Gasthuis (former hospital in Arnhem, Netherlands) on August 31, 1973. Except for those first days, I lived my first 25 years near a village called Elst, about 10 km south of Arnhem. I grew up between small fruit growers. We had strawberries for some years, and a orchard with plum-trees. Growing was not my parent’s job, but it gained some extra money to fix the house. When they bought that house, it had only 2 power sockets!

My father was metal/synthetic turner at the KEMA, and mainly created parts and tools used for testing electrical equipment. My mother was at home, caring for me, doing the housekeeping and volunteering at different places.

Every Sunday we went to my sister Cecile, who didn’t live at home, because she was both mentally and physically disabled. She lived in an institute, first in Terborg, later in Nieuw-Wehl. She was about 3.5 years older than me. Being surrounded by disabled people gave me a somewhat different look at the world than most children got, it made me very social, always having an eye for the weaker persons in our society and help them seeing the positive side of life.

School

My years on elementary school (“St. Werenfridus” in Elst) were not so nice, since many children (mostly older than me) chaffed me about my red hair. But I had also some good friends, including Mark who was interested in electronics on a very young age. Together we bungled with batteries, light bulbs and small electric motors. Here I got my first interest in electronics.

From an oncle I got my first cassette player. This was the start of my interest for audio techniques. I simulated radio programs, recording my own voice with a simple microphone, and an old record player. I’m still interested in the way music is recorded. When I buy a CD, I often try to figure out what techniques were used.

At home we always had animals: fishes, turtle-doves, parakeets, dogs and gooses. I love to watch animals, see how they act, especially in the wild. I’m still interested in animals, I want to know what’s living around the house.

Difficult years

In 1990, January 10, Cecile died, after having many troubles with her health. A week before she just had her 21st aniversary. She was very sick for about a week, and finally died. She was cremated at “Moscowa” in Arnhem. The death of my sister was not nice at all, but on the other side it released us from all stress and issues, it gave us more rest and freedom.

But just when we got used to this, my father started having problems with his health. In November that same year, after some medical research, they discovered lung cancer. He got radiotherapy, which initially helped him. But 2.5 years later the cancer returned and there was nothing to stop it anymore. On October 20 1993 he died. Loosing my father was very hard for both me and my mother. Since that time I only had my mother left, who is still very healthy nowadays.

A few years before the death of my father, in the summer of 1990, I went to the technical faculty of the Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen to study electronics and telecommunications. With a teacher and some students we restarted activities at the educational radio station. While building up the station, I got more and more interested in amateur radio, and within a year I got my own radio licence.

Time for the real life

In 1996 I got my bachelors degree. I was sick of learning, so I tried to find a job. In november 1996 I got my first job as software test engineer at Vitatron Medical (nowadays part of Medtronic). This firm developed and produced pacemakers.

Because I wanted a job more directly related to electronics I left Vitatron and started as medical engineer at the “Instrumentele Dienst” at the University of Nijmegen. I developed both electronics and software for medical research at the medical faculty and the academic hospital. I worked there for over one year, but there were some small things that irritated me more and more, and finally on Januari 1st I left this job.

One month later I swapped my work and hobby, I started as unix system engineer at at Evident.

On my own

In May 3rd 2000 a wish came true: I moved to an own house, in the city of Utrecht, just a 20 minutes ride to get on my job. I really like the city, there’re lots of students here, and enough places to go out.

My first year in Utrecht I spent much of my time by playing snooker and learning how to play bass guitar. I took bass lessons on the music school here, and in May and June 2000 I played bass guitar in a pop-workshop. This was my first experience in a band. We ended the workshop on stage, in a local music cafe. During the summer season I went to Madagascar, what a great holiday was that! Later that year I did a introductional course in massage, and the last months I gave some computer lessons to young foreign people.

Together

In may 2001 I went to London, together with Wytske. I knew her for two years already, she was a collegue at Evident Internet for about a year. We still had a very good contact, and I thought she would like to join me during this short holiday. We had a very pleasant time, and from that moment we stayed together more and more. A few weeks after this holiday, we finally knew it: we were born for eachother!

After nearly 3 years I left my job at Evident. The people were great there, but I couldn’t get any courses, and there wasn’t much to do for me anymore. I found a new one, at Capgemini, as unix administrator. Although the atmosphere was complete different there, I found more opportunities to develop myself, it was very nice to work with other people with the same interests.

In May 2002 Wytske and I went to Java, Bali and Lombok. Wytske’s father was born on Java, and lived there during his youth and after his study in the Netherlands. For Wytske it was some kind of search for roots. For me it was another big cultural experience. Later that year we started a diving course, inspired by our snorkeling and diving adventures on Lombok and Bali. During Spring 2003 we got our first diving licence. Meanwhile I was getting more and more interested in photography. I like macro photography, with special interest for nature (insects, flowers, etc).

On October 31 I married Wytske in the famous Dom Tower of our hometown Utrecht. It was a memorable day. We went on honeymoon to the Turkish coast to relax and do some diving. I continued my diving course and in August 2004 I finished my last exam for NOB/CMAS 2**. Meanwhile the holidays where more and more focused on diving, including trips to Egypt (Red Sea), Estartit (near Barcelona, Spain) and Cornwall (Southwest UK).

Everdingen

On October 21st 2005 we moved into our new home: a small old house in the country, near the village of Everdingen. This is our little paradise, with nature all around. We now grow our own vegetables, and have some chickens for fun and eggs. For me it was a return to the country, for Wytske it was a change in her life since she has never lived in the country before. It was probably the best choice we ever made, the country gave us lots of peace, rest and nature. I picked up my radio hobby again, since this area is really suitable for that.

After two years the ground floor was completely flooded due to extreme rainfall. It took a month the get the house dried, then we started our building activities. This resulted in much more room to live, including an art studio for Wytske, a convenient bathroom, a large kitchen and a nice bedroom.

Shortly after Wytske started playing clarinet at a nearby concert band named Koninklijke Harmonie Pieter Aafjes, I decided to play music there too. I took lessons in snare drum and later I switched to timpani. Timpani is still my main instrument, although I more or less know how to play most instruments in the band’s “kitchen department”.

In 2013 I said goodbye to Capgemini and started a new job at the dutch Police. I learned lots about IT and digital forensics. After almost two years I switched jobs again, I currently work for SSC-Campus, which maintains IT for some governmental organisations including the dutch weather service.

So… what will happen next?