Sunday, June 18, 2006 Utrecht, The Netherlands – Rienk’s home

Last year’s travel-blog ~


(Thursday 15th June, sometime in the afternoon) I think we would say that our trip began with our flight out of Albany; though this is really a continuation of our around-the-world trip begun in Adelaide last September. This is a journey within a journey within a journey; with the overall journey being our life and each subset broken down to ‘this-moment’s-trip’. Nano-moments producing macro-memories.


After nearly killing ourselves with moving our large home’s belongings into a ten-by-ten, foot ‘it-will-never-fit’ storage space – using every centimeter of the place with a few centimeters merged – we managed to pull the roller door down and watched our belongings disappear (with a slight crunching sound of merged belongings) and then we headed on down the road.


Whether we will be able to open the doors when we return in a few months and collect everything to move to Brooklyn is an easy to forget momentary lapse – at least for a few months.


We had to be up Friday at 5 am so that we could leave our mid-town hotel and be in Brooklyn to meet with the board of our new apartment at 7. Leaving at 6 we managed front up at the right door at the right time to say the right things to get the right apartment for us. We now will go from our large Victorian home in Round Lake to a small one-bedroom apartment. So that was that min-journey.


I had an appointment at 9.30 for a job interview on 3rd Avenue between 87 and 88th street. That first interview led me to a second meeting in Queens; I had 40 minutes to make a 45-minute trip and somehow I did not get lost whilst changing trains and was at the door of my next interviewer at 11.30. From there I was sent to the Village for the third interview portion for the job and by the time Narda and I were on the way to JFK we were exhausted.


The line at the Lufthansa gate was very long with soccer fans headed for Germany. They looked like soccer fans. Of course it could have just been my interpretation of a large number of people on our Frankfurt flight during World Cup soccer week all looking young and sporty. Perhaps I was just feeling particularly old and un-sportsmen-like waiting in line.


We left on time at 9ish and after impatiently gobbling down something they called supper folded my legs to fit into the cramped section we were given. I, as always got the Asian vegetarian ‘meal’ though I wondered if the Lufthansa caterers had any idea that Asians – especially vegetarians – require more than a chopstick pinch of food. It was not long before I was eyeing Narda’s meaty serve and my coveting eye was rewarded with her salad and half of her desert.


I think I fell to sleep not long after the final swallow. I had my earplugs in and my eye-patch blocking out the evening ambience of airline lighting. Somewhere over the Atlantic in the deep of sleep I was shaken awake by Narda, who told me she was dying. This was a most alarming way to be woken and was very disturbing news at the beginning of our trip! Once I was able to get fully awake and we found a large plastic bag for Narda to deposit the portion of supper I had not eaten we began to make headway. She was feeling really terrible and she did believe she was dying. She said everything was going dark and her head was spinning and she had lots of pain. I thought maybe she had food poisoning but I think we hit some very bad weather turbulence. We managed to get Narda to the toilet and she gradually began to feel alive again. We both managed to get a bit of sleep and by the time we landed in Frankfurt we were very tired and feeling better; or at least Narda was feeling better. I felt worse because I never got to feeling as bad as Narda did whilst over the Atlantic and I could only progress from feeling as tired as I was at the beginning of the trip.


We somehow maneuvered our tired bodies through the airport and customs and on to the next flight, which by now was in the middle of the day, European time, and about three in the morning in our body clock time. We got to Amsterdam, worse for wear for sure, and on to a bus to Utrecht and into a taxi to Rienk’s house. Somehow we had enough strength to go bike riding into the center of old Utrecht. This was our fourth year in a row here and I was feeling a bit like I knew my way around. This is the second time we were here when Holland was doing well in football or soccer. Two years ago they were winning something and this year they progressed past the first round of the World Cup and the day we go to Hamburg this week, Wednesday, they will be playing the powerful Argentinian team (I only know this because there is little else in the news). As before, there were orange flags everywhere with ‘hup Holland’. Narda had on her orange jumper so we are quite the local folks. We got back to Rienk’s after 11 and slept well.


Now, Sunday, Father’s Day here, we are headed back to the center of town to find an Internet café then we will peddle off to one of Narda’s many family member’s home.


This has been the craziest time so far. This morning at Oom Rienk’s place I slept in until 11.00 which was wonderful. Terrell is making up for some lost sleep in one of his power naps, which means I get to use the computer!  So in the last weeks we have left our jobs, moved out of our workplace, rented out our own house, and finished the final bits of renovation, packed up all our belongings, sorted them, packed, sold and stored them, applied for new positions with interviews, rented a new apartment in NY and planned our summer trips. Blimey. We are now both stark raving mad….or at least more so!

But  we are here. Yesterday our start to Holland was my favorite thing, pedaling into Old Utrecht. It was a warm evening, and so relaxing. I’m starting to unwind…trading a sore back for saddle soreness! Now I get to read my book.

We will be OK. One job between us is enough, but I’m sure we’ll find another one before the summer is over.