Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Tussen de Liefde en de Leegte"

If you don't understand Dutch then I guess these words won't mean anything to you. I was trying to translate it to English and although it is easy to understand "liefde" (love), I could not find the best description for "leegte". "Emptyness" maybe? In the context of this I would rather say "what I cannot find". Well, before I try and figure out what the best word for "leegte" is, let me tell you where this comes from.

Many years ago a Belgium singer called Stef Bos discovered South Africa. At the same time many South Africans discovered Stef Bos. One of his early songs was called "Tussen de Liefde en die Leegte". We all became Stef Bos fans because for once there was a singer that could put more feeling and meaning into a song than most of the upcoming Afrikaans artists at that time. I mean, what the hell can "My Rooirokbokkie" (My chick with the red dress) possibly say other than that we have some of the most common and shallow singers in the world? At first I didn't pay much attention to the words, but one day my wife told me that this is probably one of the best songs ever to describe my/our situation. Only then did I realize that I have a "problem" and that other people around me feel it too. I never saw it as a "problem" before but I guess for some it might be. I know it used to be a problem for my mother. She thought that there was something wrong with me because I could never sit still for one minute. She called it "rooimiere" (red ants). If you are ever in South Africa and get red ants in your pants you will know what it means. Anyway, I was always on my way somewhere, looking for something exciting to do, something new to discover, never knowing what I am hoping to find. If I had to sit and wait for 10 minutes it would freak me out. "Impatient" my mom would often call me but "a waste of precious time" I would think.

After 42 years I still have not found out what the real reason behind my "search for something" is. After getting a bike 4 years ago I was so scared that it might be a mid-life crisis thing. When I read books about guys quitting their jobs and buying bikes, it seemed that they were all at the age where I am now. Fortunately for me I have a history of "quiting my job" and "buying bikes" and for me it started when I was still in my teens. I am 42 now and I am still "quitting jobs" and "hitting roads". Why? I have no answer. What am I searching for? No idea either. What I do know is that I might have struggled with a "mid-life crisis" ever since I've been a teenager and that this is just a continuation of my journey to that "leegte" (emptyness) where I hope to find rest at last. Or maybe I am just enjoying life (at the cost of my loved ones of course). I think this is why this song is so relevant. I always have this fight in me. I want to be home with my family (de liefde), but I cannot wait to get out and discover new things and places (de leegte).

My wife has given me permission yesterday to take the bike and explore some new roads despite the fact that I have been to Scotland not so long ago and already busy planning my next trip into Africa. But I need to get out, because I am driving her insane and I am going insane. I think by now she knows that I will always come back so she is letting me go knowing that after a couple of days I will be missing them too much and return. Until the next time of course. But keep watching, I will write about my trip as soon as I have a chance.

I have translated the words of the song hoping I could explain the essence of it without losing the meaning it has for me. Hope it makes sense...

Ik blijf mijn hele leven reizen
(I keep my whole life traveling)
Ik volg de wegen van de twijfel
( I follow the roads of doubt)
Ik zoek naar wat ik nooit zal vind
(I'm searching for what I'll never find)
Want ik wil dwars door de dood heen zingen
('Cause I want to sing across the end of life)
Ik wil proberen iets te maken
(I want to try and do/make something)
Ik wil niet breken, ik wil niet haten
(I don't want to break down anything or hate anyone)
Maar op zoek naar mooie woorden
(But while searching for better words)
Heb ik de liefde vaak verloren
(I have lost love so many times)
Ik ben altijd onderweg
(I've been always on my way)
Ik leef onrustig en onzeker
(I live restless and uncertain)
Tussen de liefde en de leegte
(Between what I love and what I'm searching for)
Dit is geen leven om te delen
(It is not life if you have to share)
En toch is heel mijn hart by jou
(But still my whole heart belongs to you)
Maar laat me niet teveel beloven
(But let me not promise too much)
Want ik blijf m'n dromen trouw
(because I only stay true to my dreams)
En ik wil nog zoveel woorden zingen
(I still want to sing so many songs)
Het is een passionele drang
(It is a passionate urge)
Ik wil alleen En alleen bij jou zijn
(I just want to be with you)
Maar ik vind nooit de balans
(But I can never find the balance)
Dus ik blijf altijd onderweg
(Therfore I am always on my way)
Ik reis onrustig en onzeker
(I travel restless and with uncertainty)
Tussen de liefde en de leegte
(Between what I love and what I'm looking for)

Aan my vrou...
Dankie dat jy verstaan en my laat gaan. Ek kom weer terug...

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