Sunday, March 30, 2008

Meeting Expats

I first thought of combining the whole Easter weekend in one post, but then I thought a) it will be too long, and b) it might get confusing. So get ready to read a few posts in the coming days.

We left around 6:30am for Amsterdam on Thursday morning. The weather was a bit grimy, but the drive was pretty good after all. We arrived at Brenda & Harry’s at 12:30, dropped off a few deep frozen goods that we had carefully packed into a cool box for them. Since we were to meet Ginnie downtown Amsterdam and still had a bit of time, we unloaded the rest of the car and enjoyed a cup of coffee with Bren. Then, OX’s mobile phone rang and all he could see was “unknown number”, so he didn’t pick up. He thought it might be work related and he decided he was on holidays. “If it’s important, they’ll leave a message.” And right he was, but it was Ginnie, announcing that she was leaving the apartment and giving us her mobile number. I called back and told her that we were on our way.

I was so excited, an in all the excitement, I forgot the camera. Of course, Ginnie had hers, so she gets the credit for the pict. We’ve been waiting for this meet-up for almost 3 years, and now, it was about to happen. We met in front of the Heineken Hoek on the Leidseplein and, after a huge hug, we went in the cafĂ© because the weather was really cold and windy. We started talking and ordered some lunch, and chatted some more. After an hour and a half, Ginnie invited us to her apartment for a beer, which we gladly accepted. It’s only about a 5 minutes walk from there, but by then, it was raining/snowing, windy and cold. We had some really interesting conversations and I just wish we had had more time. She’s has such a bubbly personality, her interests seem to have no boundaries and she’s very soulful: An incredible woman. And you know what? We even got to meet her niece, Lesley and her boyfriend, Chris, who were over for a one week vacation. Now we only have to meet Donica, too, and I have a feeling it won’t take as long as the first meet-up with Ginnie. It was truly a fabulous experience. Thank you so much, Ginnie! You are absolutely AWSOME.

Let's fast-forward a bit to Monday morning, shall we? (you can read about the weekend in A'dam in the next post). We had travelled back to Basel the day before to avoid the Easter Holiday traffic and to prepare for Expatraveler’s (a.k.a. ET) arrival the next day. Since I still had gotten no news from her by 10am on the Monday, I got a bit worried, but she finally called short before 11 to tell us that she had just missed a train, but would take the next one and arrive around 1pm in Basel. Perfect. Enough time to shop at the train station for breakfast the next day. We had just returned from Holland the day before and our fridge needed some basic filling-up.

We were just in time. Just as ET was boarding the escalator to go down, we were getting to the top in the opposite direction. Again a big “greeting Hug” and we made our way to the car. We drove home and we had to keep her there for a while. Why?... Because we had a little surprise for her. TBFs were coming over to say hello, but we didn’t really have a time set, so we had to keep her busy until they popped up. Finally, I thought they might be held up and decided to open a bottle of champagne for the occasion before their arrival. And you know what? I was just filling up glass number 3, when the doorbell rang. Hmm. I’m getting the feeling that TBF’s can smell champagne a mile away. Anyway, since Mrs. TBF had to work for most of the weekend and Mr. TBF has a “man cold”, they stayed only for an hour, or so.

After TBFs left, we decided to go for a Tex-Mex dinner with ET at Papa Joe's and relaxed a bit, chatting until about 11:30 pm. I still had to work the next day, so I did need the sleep. The next morning, OX drove me to the dentist and brought our coffee machine to get fixed (that’s another story). Then he drove home to meet ET for breakfast. Unfortunately, we had locked her (and Dale) in, so the poor girl couldn't even get out. I guess we expected her to sleep-in a bit longer. OX and ET had breakfast and chatted a bit before meeting me for lunch at the Market place in Basel. I had to return to the office after lunch, so I said my goodbyes and left them both to discover Basel a bit. It was great to meet with you again, ET, but this time, we knew who we were meeting.

It was really great to meet two Expats in one weekend, albeit a bit stressful, mixed together with visiting family/friends in Amsterdam. But what the hell… It was worth every second.

8 comments:

traveler one said...

Oh what fun! All of you are on my "Must Meet One Day" list!

Jay said...

I just love your life - you fill it with such wonderful, interesting people. I hope one day to be counted among them.

CanadianSwiss said...

T1: We had a wonderful time with both Bloggers and it would be a lot of fun to meet up. Maybe in Vienna?

Jay: If we're in the GTA, you can bet on it :)

The Big Finn said...

I hope I didn't spread my man-cold to you, OX, or ET.

Mrs. TBF is now the proud owner of a WO-man-cold!

CanadianSwiss said...

TBF: Nope.... No sign of it in the CS household :)

Ginnie said...

You know I was in heaven those too-few hours we had together, CS and OX! I can hardly wait for Donica to meet you now because she and OX will talk shop like nobody's business. :) Three years was a long time to wait but definitely worth it.

Expat Traveler said...

CS - that was such a great write up and a fairly nice pic of the both of us...

I did have a lovely time and no I didn't mind being locked in for something like 2 mins... lol

OX showed me around it was a lot of fun!

I'll have to post your link to the write up on my end since I'll be busy doing my taxes...

And no cold from the trip either for me... Just a bad headache from lack of great coffee.

CanadianSwiss said...

Ginnie: Well, then get ready for a few more hours of heaven... All four of us :)

ET: Happy to hear you didn't get the cold either :) I'm glad you had a fun trip and we enjoyed it too.