After postponing it year after year I finally succombed to the pressure of the Sinterklaas organisation at Toverlei: I’ve been a Zwarte Piet last night! Together with Lorien and Joop (as Sinterklaas) we visited three families. The first family had two children, a 5-year-old boy and his 10-year-old sister (who was a little shy but played her guitar for Sinterklaas), and a dog that kept eating all the candy. We had to make jokes and dance around the room a little to get the party going but that’s what Zwarte Piet is for after all. They sang for us as we left and Lorien threw them another hand of candy which was probably all eaten by the dog.

The second family we visited had 5 boys, their mothers and fathers, and their grandparents all stacked together in a small living room. It amazes me that the presents were so ridiculously expensive (like a digital camera and a portable game computer) and the kids were only marginally thankful. At least they weren’t shy except for the oldest boy who frantically denied having anything to do with girls at school. The kids were restless so Lorien and I didn’t have to perform any gags to get the party going. Their grandparents made tons of pictures (but mainly of Lorien as Zwarte Piet) and since one of them is a journalist we may end up in a newspaper somewhere.

The last family were also 5 children and included another host of adults as well. We arrived a little late but since it was the last visit that wasn’t too much of a problem. The youngest, a 4-year-old boy grew very quiet when he sat on Sinterklaas’ lap, and so did his 5-year-old sister. The other kids weren’t as shy as that and approached Sinterklaas without fear, and all got a simple but appreciated present. And Lorien and I danced with the two youngest before we left, so we put a smile on their faces too.

Next year I’ll volunteer for this job! It’s very rewarding, even though it takes a few days to remove all of the make-up and I look like this all evening: