my first visitor!

It was great to have a flying visit from our rowing friend Rebecca – she’s the first visitor I’ve had in this apartment and the first I’ve had at all since Ted’s parents visited over Christmas of 2008, so that was exciting. She was at a conference in Copenhagen and just came down here for a couple of days at the end. I was really excited for this visit, because I knew there were so many things she’d love here, especially all the bikes and the infrastructure that makes it so easy to live here without a car. I regret that the two days she was able to come were Sunday and Monday – I’d have loved to take her to the Woensel Markt (Saturday) or knitting group (Wednesday), because she’d have enjoyed those. But we did get to go rowing in a coxed quad on Sunday afternoon!

Her train came in at 9:20 AM, so we had plenty of time to hang out before rowing – we walked around town, went to the art museum cafe for tea aand tarts because the bagel place didn’t open until noon (they’re not entirely clear on the concept of bagels as breakfast food here). Then we went back for bagels, then over to the Philips Electric Light in Art museum where they were having an exhibit by a Chinese artist, Ji Liu. He had three pieces on display: a bed lit from above by hundreds of red lasers that looked like silk threads when shown off by puffs of smoke; a ‘cage’ made of green lasers that entirely made us feel like characters from The Matrix, walking through something that seemed so solid; and a blue-lit plexiglass model with holes in its many layers that looked like an encased skeleton from a few feet away.

After that we vegetated for an hour or so, then went rowing, so now Rebecca’s gotten to try “rowing in a Dutch ditch”, as our cox said. (Much of it is a very pretty ditch.) We got rained on the entire time, but since she grew up and learned to row in Seattle I think it made her feel at home. Fortunately it wasn’t too cold out, though we were chilled enough to appreciate hot showers by the time we got back to the apartment. Once showered and changed we went out for Italian food – I guess I could have cooked for her, but I was enjoying having someone to eat out and share wine with.

On Monday morning after breakfast, I worked from home while she took my bike and rode to Helmond, about 36 km. (No doubt my bike was shocked – it’s never gone more than 10 km or so at a time.) This time she only got a bit of drizzle, just enough to feel like echte Nederlands weer (real Dutch weather) And I got to take advantage of being home, and of the cool weather, by starting a pot of chili. When she got back, I fed her stroopwafels, showed her our photos from South Africa, and then it was time to go to the train station. It was too short a visit and I think she spent nearly as much time on the train as here, but it was really good to get to hang out with an old friend and talk rowing, knitting, ants (her field of study), Arizona, travel, and mutual friends. I’m a bit hoarse now 🙂

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