Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Alex's Visit - Canadians invade Holland Part Deux

So Monday after the Friday that Sabrina left, Alex came for a visit. I have known Alexandra since we worked at the same location years ago, and just kept in touch ever since. She happened to come just when I went back to work after a 3 week vacation, and I only had one day free while she was here. She was also suffering a bit with the flu, so took an extra day to rest up.

We really didn't have much time together, a couple of nice long chats over a pot of tea and one short dinner while I ate before heading off to work. I really enjoyed her visit because she is so different than I am. She is curious about people like I am, but goes about learning about them in a different way. She tends to talk far less, but of course when she does say something it is usually quite insightful and often aimed at being helpful. She doesn't need much, she's very independent, and I really enjoyed her visit!

She's been travelling around Europe hitchhiking for almost a year, and was able to get dropped off at my door on Monday evening. J had made a nice supper, so we sat down to that almost immediately. After dinner we spent some time catching up, and then called it a night. I had to work the next day, and she wasn't feeling 100%, so all we did was invite Mickey over for dinner and let him take us out for pannenkoek and (drool) ice cream dessert!!! Then she and Mickey talked about different travels and places they'd been and would like to go. We called it a night and the next day I took it easy and Alex went to check out Amsterdam! She came home around dinnertime, but I was already at work. She took Thursday easy again, and I saw her briefly in the morning before I went to French class, and again while I had dinner before work Thursday evening. Then Friday morning J dropped her off at a good location to hitch a ride, and she was on her merry way again!

Now that I write it out I see how quick of a visit it was, especially given the hours I was working (Tuesday 8am-3pm, Wednesday and Thursday 6pm-midnight). And actually, the kind of person she is I find extremely intriguing. J said that she reminded him of himself several years ago - that he also was just interested in meeting new people and seeing how they live. For me, I would want something else besides just getting my curiosity satisfied, I'd also be looking to develop relationships. Actually, I suppose my main goal would be to develop relationships.

And really, I see that Alex's way is the interesting way. She chooses to hitchhike vs taking the bus not to save money (although that is a bonus) but because she meets interesting people that way. Not to say that interesting people don't take the bus, after all you'll find me on a bus from time to time, but just that the people willing to pick up hitchhikers tend to be the kind interested in chatting with random strangers more so that the average bus passenger!

I do tend to play it safe. Nothing wrong with that, I'm more comfortable that way. But every now and then I realize how lucky I am to have made friends with a wide variety of people. I love getting the opportunity to re-examine what I'm comfortable with to see if it still fits! For example, Alex complimented me on being fluent in Dutch after only two years, and my first response was to say, "Meh, after two years I can see that my officially-fluent Dutch is woefully inadequate!" Then a day or so later, I told her, "You know what, you're right! I am fluent in Dutch and have no trouble making a life for myself in Dutch, so thank you for the compliment!!"

I'd taken the opportunity to look at myself again, and see myself as she sees me - and that image fits me better than my old, not-g00d- at-speaking-Dutch image! So I am grateful for her visit for the challenge and the interesting ideas she brought with her!! And plus I really enjoyed her company - it's too bad that I was a bit tired and so busy with work while she was here!!! But... I'll get to see her when I head back to Canada for a visit this summer!!

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