yesterday i ventured to scott's office for the first time. it's only one exit past centraal, which is easy enough, but then you are required to transfer to a tram to take you the rest of the way. i was impressed with my memory, because i forgot my directions and had to make the trip based on what i remembered from what i wrote down and i made it without a hitch! scott's office is like the un! there are flags denoting the countries they, webex, sells too, and then the sales people make up for any country that's been missed. scott made all the introductions for me...i was thrilled at how normal and fun everyone seemed!
we all made plans to meet at a bar near centraal fro drinks. here is a run-down of the crew...
koll: scott's boss' boss. he is from the u.s and has promised to show me where i can get sour cream. it's nice to find someone who understands the importance of this matter.
angus: how could you not like angus?! he looks and sounds like a brit, but his mother is scottish and his father is german, and was raised in south africa, among others. needless to say, he knows a million languages, and is hysterically funny. did i mention classically good looking...
paul: paul is english and beautiful...and gay. he's soft spoken, but very smart. it is refreshing to see someone being treated with such respect and consideration, regardless of their orientation.
mohammad: his religion is muslim, his blood is algerian and tunisian, but he is french through and through. he drank wine while we all drank beer, he told one girl she had beautiful hair and another that she was very beautiful, and he has lots of opinions and he lets them be known. he oozes french "charm" with his very thick accent, but he is also very knowledgeable and has a facinatinly different perspective on things than i've ever know. one topic was his 18 month tour in the un military..."lots of big guns, and no authoriy to use them other than for practice..."
tarig: tarig's parents are academics from egypt. however, grew up in the heart of new york city. he looks and sounds like a true new yorker, complete with his new york nets jersey! tarig is also incredibly cultured and is one of webex's top sales people. he lives in utrecht with his dutch wife and 13 month old daughter.
robertson: he's from the states and he reminds me, in a good way, of scott's friends at home. he seems to love to have a good time.
i cannot say when i have had a better time! we drank beers and laughed our asses off! it was incredible to talk to people who has such different backgrounds and experiences than i do; they are all so educated and worldy. it was hysterical to listen to them riping on each other's nationalites and accents. all in good fun, of course!
jokes and laughs aside, we also talked some about politics and what is going on with the war in iraq. one thing that has been a constant is that everyone, and i mean everyone, here thinks george bush is the biggest quack of all time. they think he is an idiot and they are, for lack of a better word, pissed at what he's done. everyone is looking forward to obama being the next president of the u.s., although, they are accutly aware of how long it's going to take to un-do and/or fix what has already been done. mohammad said something that made both scott and me sick to our stomachs. he said "america was always the dream...everyone's dream was to be an american...to be apart of that. that is no longer the dream."
no matter what happens, no matter where i live, i will always be a patriot. i have military in my blood from both sides, that is who i am. i am proud to be an pacific northwestener, an oregonian, an american. so it makes me sad, and angry, when decisions that were made on all of our behalfs could change so many opinions for the negative. while i understand, and agree in most cases, it is still a sore subject with me. since i've been in amsterdam, i have been reading and researching everyday on the events of WWII, and the role the u.s. played here in europe. maybe it's a little dramatic of me, but i feel like bush has, single-handidly, tarnished an image that was untouchable and so hard fought for by heroic men in that WWII. the turmoil he has cause has made the "everyday" person here forget, while maybe only momentarily, what the u.s did for the world then. there is not much to say, other than it is a shame.
moving on, i loved talking one-on-one with everyone...to hear their stories and to tell them mine. it was nice to feel that my stories were equally as well-received as theirs where to me. at one point i was sitting with angus and mohammad and one of them asked me "why did you do this, why did you pick up and move to another country?" my answer was simple...i was bored. i love my family, and my friends, and my home, but i wanted more; to be more of everything...more interesting, more experienced, more grown-up, more educated. i told them that, and then asked, "when, at home, would i ever have had the opportunity to be sitting outside at a bar, in the middle of a lively square, on a friday evening with a muslim frenchman and a scottish/german south african. they seemed to understand and appreciate this. maybe i'm not as un-interesting as i thought...i'm certaily working at it!