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.


Manic said...

I've got a great idea how to get Gert to New Zealand, I stole it from the A-team. You book the tickets behind his back and when the day comes you have to depart, you make him stay up real late and maybe use a little sleeping pill in his food(mashed potatoes are most advisable) and from then onwards it's easy to sneak him on board of Kiwi Airlines (or however that airline is called).

V-Grrrl said...

Being filmed again? You're quite the celebrity!

I think you all sit around the dinner table with dictionaries and pronunciation guides and white board to write on and speak to one another VERY LOUDLY because, you know, you didn't grow up speaking the same language and this is the ONLY way to compensate.

P.S. Since this is for Antwerpen, be sure to mention several times that you're a photographer for hire and they can visit the Web page!!!!

Kelly said...

What an interesting story...and if I read that right, you're family is going to be filmed? I imagine it will only be on the air over'll have to keep us updated.

Til next time....XoXo, kel

woman wandering said...

Manic ... I just realised, you and Diede would surely be friends should you meet.

Otherwise, thanks for the idea ... it's more about the price of the airfare though ;) Useful technique though, I'll note it. My sister is giving me trouble, I want her over here ... let's see what I can slip into her mashed potatoes.

Hi Kelly, you read it right. Things happen when you go wandering, this is the latest in the series of adventures :)

The local television channel only screens in a 1/3 to a 1/2 of the province of Flanders. Even v-grrrl will have to miss out.

wandering-woman said...

How cool! The TV thing!

Oh, i like this idea....

woman wandering said...

Sage advice v-grrl, thank you. There's enough to try to remember already ... I'm hoping to avoid the word 'sneeuw' (snow) as my Dutch pronunciation has Gert and his children in hysterics.

Actually, I think my PR woman should come to dinner and 'mention several times that you're a photographer for hire and they can visit the Web page'.

woman wandering said...

Lol, do you just, Ms Wandering-Woman ... it's an adventure, I'm not sure what to think of it yet. I'm sure I made some kind of vow never to do the tv thing ...

Peter said...

Di, can you let us know the name of the show you will be starring in - and the date it airs?

Antwerp's only local TV station is - in addition to the online news they air "insight" ("inzicht"), "under cover" ("onder cover") and "exit" on the internet:

I'm currently not in Antwerp (and I might not be when the show is being aired), but like all your friends and acquaintances I'm more than curious ;)

woman wandering said...

Email me and remind me after Wednesday, Peter :)

I'll know which show and when then. I don't even know that I'll watch it ... I'm a 'curvy' woman and I know what television does to the 'curvy' ... dramatic sigh.

paris parfait said...

The wedding sounds like lots of fun. And now you're going to be a television star! Make sure during the interview you whip our your camera and start taking pictures of the film crew - maybe you'll be beseiged with offers for photography work! xo

Manic said...

I told you you where going to get your own docu-soap. :P Tape it and when people drop by you can show them your glamour lifestyle. :P Be sure not to let Miss Two clean the windows before and during -however that this would be very cute and adorable and propel her directly towards Tinseltown- the filming of said docu-soap. If you are looking for a name of the show, just give me ring, I'll find something, something like Nouveau, Nouveau, Nouveau Zealandia, or something, but I'll have to make sure you can pronounce it correctly with your language disabbilities and all.:D

ML said...

Oh I am so excited that you got to see Diedre and Carly and the people I feel I know.. I will be seeing one other of our travel room friends in Canada next week while traveling with Al.. But looking forward to seeing them and YOU and everyone there when I go in Sept. The tv is soo exciting@@ Can you beam it to America/??? will trade for the pres??? hmm..

woman wandering said...

Lol, no, I can't beam it to America ... I'm not even sure I want to see 'me' on tv, Mary Lou.

Meanwhile, for anyone reading this and wondering ... ML, Diede, Carly and I 'met' in a chatroom called Travel back at the end of the 90s.

We were lucky and I found myself developing friendships with some rather remarkable real life people. ML has flown over to NZ twice to visit with me, then into Istanbul and will arrive for her second visit to Belgium in September.

Diede also flew into NZ and Istanbul and then came to my wedding here in Belgium

Carly I finally met last weekend.
She was a lovely online friend that I had lost contact with once we moved out of the chatroom.

We were a little blessed with our chatroom back then, the people were fabulous. I've seen Rome from the back of another Travel chat friend's scooter and had dinner with him and his family and so the list of experiences goes.

This blog sometimes feels like an evolution of those chatroom days, especially when I get to develop friendships with people like Veronica, Erin, Alison, Manic and others who have wandered into my life via this medium.

diede said...

the party was great, and it seemed you enjoyed yourself just as good as I did. thinking back I think I hardly had any good talk with any of the visitors, the time flew. it's a pitty you two didn't stay over, sleeping in Deventer is much better than behind the wheel. and the worst thing is i forgot to show you the Kowhai in the garden. it would have made you feel like you were back in NZ. it was great to have Gert and you over again. next time we'll finish complete bottles of red wine. i'll tell Marijn his yellow bike is on internet. and at ML, next time you're in europe you'll have to visit Deventer.

woman wandering said...

Thanks Diede, we'll be back ... your 'stepdaughter' and her daughter want to catch up with you too and yes, the Kowhai and the red wine surely need some attention from this Kiwi :)

The party was great and I'm really pleased with some of the photographs I took. I was respectful and didn't post any without your permission ... well except for that yellow bike of Marijn.

Gert was quite mortified about falling asleep, I had done it once a long time ago - it's a lesson to learn ... never forgotten.

We'll be back as soon as we can organise it and after we've checked it's convenient with you guys.

Thanks for the loveliest time :