Monday, April 30, 2007
The Party in Holland (and local television)
So we arrived at the house-warming/wedding celebration of Diede and Francien over in Holland only to have Gert's phone ring. My daughter wanted to pass on a message that I was to phone a local television station back in Antwerpen as soon as possible ...
I called Katherine from the bathroom at Diede's place and they wondered if I was interested in taking part in a television programme on immigrants living in Antwerpen and how we cope with the language.
My rule, since flying into Istanbul has been that I'll say yes to most things that don't involve drugs or anything wicked simply because life is an adventure and let's see what it throws up.
Mmmm so, they want to film our little blended family and how we deal with communicating with each other ... It seems we will be filmed doing things like conversing while eating dinner and there will be a bit of an interview.
I'll know more on Wednesday ... when they arrive with their camera gear.
I hung up bemused and went back to the party wondering what I had gotten us into this time.
Why a party in Holland?
Well Diede is an old friend who achieved fame in the Di Hall of Friendship when he came over to New Zealand back in 2001 and stayed for a month, traveling all over the South Island with me, impressing my daughter to the point where she asked if he might consider becoming her stepfather ... to which he replied without missing a beat 'Sure I'll become your step father, so long as you get a new mummy'.
That's Diede ... the charming one. However New Zealanders love that kind of humour and we had a superb time, 11 days on the road, tenting our way around South Island New Zealand.
I decided that one of the cutest things about last night's party was the fact that so many people came on bicycles ... there were at least 70 bikes parked out front. The Dutch are so much better about cycling all over the place.
Then there were the guests... and they were absolutely lovely!
I had imagined I might be a little shy amongst this large group of strangers however it seems that exclusion of strangers isn't the Dutch way and I ended up talking with some truly remarkable people. I took over 300 photographs and most startingly, people would occasionally take my camera from my hands and photograph me ... sigh, that's not how it works but what could I do, I was a guest and they did make me laugh.
Wim and Ester had the wonderful story of marrying on a boat in Kaikoura, New Zealand and we spent a long time talking of 'home'. They loved NZ and I would sometimes tug at Gert's sleeve and say 'Did you hear that?', making everyone laugh simply because I am so shamelessly in love with my country of birth and love hearing people say good things about it.
They had been all over New Zealand during their 7 weeks in the country and had some lovely stories of Kiwi hospitality ...
Yesterday's party was a garden party because the tropical weather had continued and we were blessed with lots warmth and sunshine. The food and wines were lovely and the people ... I mentioned the people already, I know it ... it was a grand day out.
We decided to drive home and get back to our little family, perhaps that was our only mistake of the day. It was a 2 hour drive and we left at midnight. 5kms from home and Gert briefly fell asleep at the wheel as we were motorway driving at 110.
We were lucky and I was quite happy to wake and be greeted by little Miss Two and my daughter this morning ... reassured that we really had really made it home.