During the Easter holiday, blogger Nadya Karimasari spent her day at the second-hand book bazaar in Wageningen Centrum.
Looking back, it seems weird that I've been anticipating the boekenmarkt since the very first time I had heard about it. What did I expect? I knew most books would be in Dutch, a language in which I have no vocabulary other than ‘ik begrijpt u niet’. I also knew that I wouldn't be buying any, because the books would be most likely collectible antiques or English fiction paperback, which I would not read for the time being - I am staring at you, my beloved piles of research related books and articles.
It's just the incomprehensible impulse to meet and be surrounded by books, no matter how foreign the written words are.
I marked the date on my calendar, set my alarm very early in the morning, quickly ate a bowl of blueberry yoghurt and granola – which I wouldn't consider a proper breakfast on any normal occasion. I even skipped my regular ‘Skype Saturday’ morning with my husband in Indonesia so I wouldn't miss this rare event in Wageningen. I usually have to travel to far-off Amsterdam just to find English second-hand books!
On that cloudy day, I felt a moment of bliss from looking at rows of second-hand book stalls. Where have they all been before? To my surprise, the first stall that I visited was remarkably suitable for my studies – and my wallet. It was a very small collection of an ecology student at Wageningen University, but it comprised the must-have anthropology textbooks. Every single book had to go through a long and thorough examination by me, as I had a difficult time to decide which one not to buy.
With such a high degree of book compatibility between me and the seller, I wondered for a split second what it would be like to see each other more often and having endless conversation about ... books? Would it be like what people often said about the comfortable feeling of 'meeting an old friend' in a new person?
Like a snap, I was immediately brought back to reality by the sight of a beautiful sound story book that I eventually bought for my son.
Nadya is a PhD candidate at the chair group Sociology of Development and Change.