I don’t remember the exact date, but I do recall arriving at the bus station in Melbourne in search of my hostel that I had previously booked online. I came across this bubbly girl from the Netherlands, who starting talking to me about this new place in town that just opened 4 months ago. I forego my reservation and followed her to the Greenhouse Backpackers : http://www.greenhousebackpacker.com.au
This decision was made on the fly. I didn’t even know if the other hostel would charge me for the night, as I didn’t even bother cancelling the reservation. Nonetheless, I followed this girl as she was very convincing and I didn’t know anyone else in Melbourne. I think these last minute decisions are always the best. Do I regret it? No, I spend approx 1 month in Melbourne, just hanging around the hostel full of Dutch people. I helped Rozie as she was selling Peanuts in the city center. She would scream Pea and I would reply Nut. We were a great pair. Two Gemini’s taking Melbourne by storm. We had so much in common, both travelers and talkers, because boy did we ever talked. We then continued traveling Australia, each going in different directions, but still managed to catch each other at the train station in Brisbane. Something about stations 😉 – We had a few hours to spend with each other. Still don’t remember what we did, but I am sure, we had lots to talk about.
That was the start of a 12 years friendship. Over the years, she has come to visit me in Montreal, as she was close by in New Hampshire. Mind you, closeness is relative and we soon realized that what’s close for us Canadian is definitively not close for Dutch people. I have visited her in Middelburg, her hometown and then Amsterdam where she now lives.
I recall one time where we had gone to a coffee shop as one does in AMS, a 420 city friendly, we left and starting walking in circles. I was following her and she was following me apparently. Laughing our ass off as we realized we were both too out of it to know where we were going. I figured I was the foreigner so it was up to her to lead the way. I don’t know what she figured, but it took a while before we found her place. As for my mom, she remembers the hundred stairs leading to her flat as we spend a few nights at her place in 2005. Good times!
We’ve kept in touch through email and phone calls. The year her mother passed were difficult times and that’s when you wish you were living closer to each other. I was also one of the lucky one to be invited to her wedding in 2010 to Crispijn in Amsterdam. Happy Days! And now, 2 years later, once again our paths cross. I am living nearby for Canadian standard that is J. I have met her daughter Cato, beautiful little girl. Too early to say, if she will be as bubbly as her mother, but rest assure she will be in good hands. Crossing my fingers that Rozemarijn will pass her driving test tomorrow and we can meet one last time in Maastricht before I leave for India.
This is what travelling is all about. Crossing paths with amazing people and as travelers meeting each other in different parts of the world. Also, getting to know one’s culture is important to opening our eyes to the world that surrounds us.
I am going to spend this coming weekend at Mineke’s house (she’s the one standing in the picture – Rozemarijn is sitting down) – in Goes, Netherlands. I met her at the greenhouse backpacker’s hostel. I also attended her wedding in 2005. Many similarities, but I will write another blog about it.
Happy travels everyone!