Ok, so where do I start? With how crazy the place became when Netherlands won the semi-final match against Uruguay? Or how there are separate cycling lanes in all the cities? Or how punctual the buses/trains are? Or how I saw a few guys cry when Netherlands lost the final to Spain? Dressed in all Orange, blowing the vuvuzela thing, drinking beer by the barrel, the people are, needless to say, crazy about soccer – it is almost the same in India with cricket. I can totally relate to the madness.
I have been darn lucky to be in a country during a gorgeous summer, when the country’s national team is in the finals (after 32 long years) of the most celebrated tournament around the world, working under a really cool manager! And to think I was going to come here in January (that was the original plan) when it would have been freezing cold and no world cup was going on. I just love the people here (yes, it also includes hot guys who don’t care to wear a shirt ;) because it is too hot here – come on, anything beyond 35 degrees is impossible for them – which is one of the reasons summers are soooo good.)
While at Holland, I also go to do what I like to call “exploring the wilder side of me” (like I wasn’t already wild enough) – I spent a few sleepless nights exploring Eindhoven, having a barbeque dinner at my manager’s home, playing in the beach with friends, tasting some fine wine, watching the FIFA world cup semi-finals and finals at the city centrum, having a crazy dancing night with a total stranger, partying until the wee hours of the morning, listening to a live band perform, taking a lot of photos – I did all of that! I know a lot of you are really jealous of me now (as I could gather from the FaceBook messages I got). I admire the style in which they enjoy their lives – they work for nothing more than 8 hours a day, go promptly on their vacations, concentrate completely on their work when they are at office, enjoy totally once they are outside office!
I think I had the best manager one could ask for (no, I am NOT saying this to be on his good books, but because that is the truth). He took us to downtown Eindhoven for the semi-finals match and along with his friends took us to a party later that night. Then he invited us to his home for a barbeque dinner, introduced his family – his wife and his really beautiful 15-month old daughter, served us some really good food – I needed vegetarian food and they had made some corn and mushrooms and potato salad (it felt absolutely great that we were being taken care of so well). Then again he took us out for the finals match and not once did he talk/ask about anything related to work when we were outside the office.
It was a great learning experience too – well, I am not referring to the KT sessions here; I want to leave work out of the entire post. I learnt that people like it when you are honest and are not faking your actions, I learnt that there is one person who is crazier than me in posing for photos (Believe me!!!), I learnt to be patient, I learnt that you can hit it off with a total stranger and end up having one of the best night outs ever, I learnt that I am going to make a great wife (well, how and why is beyond the scope of this blog), I learnt that I have more energy than I thought I did (although I lived on one meal per day)… All is well that ends well. It ended quite well J
And here I am, on my way back home to appreciate paani poori more than ever. And I will not complain about Bangalore food anymore. Talking about food, I am already hungry now. My flight is 7th in the line for take-off from Istanbul airport and I will post this in about 7 hours when I have reached Mumbai and had a couple of samosas/vada paav (I can imagine the faces of my friends in Holland turning red with jealousy). But come on, I deserve so much!