Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer comes to Holland!

Yes, I think I can take credit, at least Thelma thinks so....Summer was late in arriving this year, but as soon as I got to Holland, the weather turned. We had beautifully sunny days, some cool, but mostly fairly warm. We went everywhere we wanted and had only a couple of showers wandering in. Loved it!

I have carried a Dutch passport since the 1970s when I got married. It has been a nice relationship and I want to keep it that way. The Netherlands is a country of open-minded people that, yes, can be a little too liberal sometimes, but is fair and caring in many ways. Not everyone sees it that way, but experience has taught me that you can trust the Dutch, most of the time, to do the right thing. That is not to say I don't despair sometimes because I cannot see their point. Some can be downright stubborn, tight with money, judgemental and rude. On the other hand, I have met people like that everywhere. So, despite my ethnic and cultural background, I am very proud to be Dutch. Intent to be for the rest of my life...if possible!

Back to my recent trip. I had planned this reunion with Thelma for years. She was in Curaçao when I arrived in the early 1980s, left a few months later, came back twice and finally left 15 years ago. We have kept in touch all through those years: from the Salomon Islands to Jakarta, from Malaysia to The Netherlands. She always found a way to contact me...even in the middle of the night with 14 hours difference in time! So, I just knew we had to meet again.

Tried a couple of years ago, but the winter storms that hit Europe kept me in the UK where I was spending Christmas with Camille. Trips to Panama to see my mother were priority, so it got postponed again and again. Until this year: I was going...period! What a great decision it was.

I know Holland, visited several times, so this was not a touristy trip. Most important was to see Thelma, spend time together, reminisce. The weather had been awful she kept telling me, we might have to spend all our time inside. Who cares, I said.....but I brought Summer! It's great to think that, believe me. It sort of a boost to your ego....Mercedes brought the good weather!

Lunch with friends in a sunny garden or a Chinese restaurant, tapas under the bright night sky and delicious dinners at home (Thelma is a fabulous cook) added to the pleasure of my visit. We took walks in small, quaint cities steep in history, visited Amsterdam and the Hague, with side trips to look into the Summer sales for Thelma's retail therapy.

A week past so quickly. We talked ourselves hoarse and still haven't caught up with our lives. Another visit is needed soon. Hopefully, Thelma will come to Miami or we'll meet in Curacao. That would be the best. In the meantime, emails, Skype and...finally....Facebook. I spent an afternoon getting that set-up. It was about time, you don't spill your life on your Facebook wall, but it's a great way to keep up with things. Her daughters approved.

When the day came, I got ready, had breakfast, then Thelma insisted on a light lunch. We took the bus to the train station and I boarded the train for Schiphol. Thelma stayed there at the station waving good bye. Felt sad, but concentrated on the next days with Camille. Enjoy what you have, move forward, it's best. Hard to do, but best......

At the airport, I had a conversation with an attendant at the KLM counter. My Dutch passport always brings on a puzzled look, rapid Dutch questions and a surprised look when they see I can understand and answer their queries. This time, I could say, truthfully, that I am learning to speak the language and will be able to speak it next time....I hope!!! Schiphol was busy and interesting, had a couple of hours to browse about and have a drink. As soon as my plane took off, the skies opened, apparently, and it's still raining. Summer left with me!


Pratishtha Durga said...

Oh Merc, the summer lady. I hope the Dutch lessons go well. I am sure you would be able to speak fluently the next time around.

Glad you and your friend had a great, sunny reunion. Maybe you should come down to Mumbai. We could do with a bit of sunshine.

Sunset Goddess said...

Thanks, Piara! It was such a nice time, made memories to last for a while.
Mumbai is in my plans, just don't know when this can happen.....I'll bring sunshine!!!