Pieternel Bottema, nice to meet you! Everyone in the deaf culture has their own sign name. It is one gesture that refers to you as a person. That’s easier than spelling all individual letters. My sign name is the sign FLOWER (see figure) in the sign language of The Netherlands. You can recognize the sign of a flower in this. I used to be called Pimpernel by my mother, and for the lesser flower connoisseurs among you: that’s a flower.
Language and culture have always had my interest and I learned a complete new language and culture when I did the teacher degree Dutch Sign Language. A new world literally opened up for me with history, culture and a new way of communication. This way of communication seems to come more from the heart than from the head.
I like to spend my free time playing football (soccer), and every now and then I let myself be persuaded to take up a sports challenge. That is why I used to run through Utrecht, and recently I have been on the racing bicycle more often. During my time as a student I met a lot of nice people with whom I like to have a fresh beer or a cup of coffee in Utrecht, mijn stadsie (my city).
The coming five years I will go on an adventure. It’s quite daunting for me, and at the same time I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve always been looking for an adventure. As a child I roamed the woods in Putten and built huts. During my time as a student the adventure was mainly hitchhiking through Europe, and now as an adult the adventure calls me again. This time I’m going out into the world on behalf of Wycliffe. The Bible says in Romans 12:11: “Don’t let your enthusiasm cool down, but let yourself be driven by the Spirit and serve the Lord.” This feels like an encouragement and an assignment.