Friday, May 20, 2011

Phil's Family Reunion

Author: Phil

Preface: I left the group after we took I(am)Amsterdam sign pictures and departed for the WESC store to get some sweet headphones since my DJ headphones had seen the last of their days. I then headed to the train station to board the train to Almere Buiten from Amsterdam Central. The train took less than 40 minutes and was a beautiful sightseeing ride through Holland. Upon arriving in Almere Buiten I picked up some Tulips (which Holland is famous for) from a flower shop at the train station and then get picked up by my (2nd?) female cousin Iris. She is a lot taller than I thought she would be and is very pretty. We take one of their very small cars to their home about 5 minutes away. They live in an architect project neighborhood - as most (what we call "suburban") neighborhood areas like their home in Almere is on a row of houses and is very modern. I meet my (2nd?) Uncle Dirk Jans (pronounced Derek Young ((I think))) and he wants to know all about my trip with the rest of the family (which I had to repeat about 8 times to all the family members and friends of theirs that I met) male cousin Robin and his mom Leah. They cooked tacos just like we would have state-side except they also had this "glue" like jelly/curry/sauce that was tasty on the tacos. We ate and talked about politics, travel, life, and I explain to them the great flood of 2011 and what's going on with my life in MS. We then head to Iris and Robins handball practice. Handball is a sport played on a basketball(ish) sized court with a ~half soccer sized goal and ball and with contact like basketball and scoring like soccer. It was really cool to see my cousins play this sport that they both are very good at. Robin's team is the best in their league and will move up to the next "level" next year as the #1 team in the "division" will move up. After handball we headed out to the club which is located next to their mall area in downtown Almere. The clubs in Almere were AMAZING! such good music, and everyone was dancing. The bar was the size of Bin612 or Sushi Martini but everyone inside was dancing and they had LED can lights and moving heads and fog machines and a DJ (also the bartender some nights) on some CDJ-1000s (CD players & Mixer) who was IMO pretty darn good. He had really good song selection, mediocre mixes, but played a nice Moombahton set that made me happy.
~~~cue Will Smith's miami.

Everyone in the club was shaking their ass and it was really fun having Robin's friends interested in my life and America. I showed them how SEC frat stars can party and they showed me a good time. We even shared some real Champagne as it was a friend of theirs birthdays that night and we celebrated that occasion.

The next day (after sleeping till noon!) we took a tour of Almere by car and guided by my tour guides Dirk Jans and Robin. The city was actually built 30 years ago by damming the sea and it actually sits 8m below the sea level. We drove past lots of cool city, beautiful countryside and along the levee to a park to see where the land meets the sea. They have great big pumping stations that pump water out of the land and into the sea (take note Memphisians). Dirk Jans told me that their houses foundation is poured after they bury 1m diameter concrete colums 5m into the ground to assure that the ground doesn't move and ruin their house. Then Robin and myself go shopping and I buy some clothes at H&M. I wanted to buy every single piece of clothing in that store, and I HATE shopping! Europeans definitely have a sexy, fun, attractive style that's very similar to mine. That evening they cook me some Crocket which is a fried cheese-stick looking food that they wouldn't tell me what it was made from :/ We then head to my Uncles sister Margaret's house for her birthday where I meet 10 members of my family including my Grandmother's sister who speaks no English but understood that I loved her very much and was very happy to meet her and her husband. We spent the evening together with coffee, cake and bier and good conversations. After a sad goodbye I decide to call it an early night to rest up for my travels the next day and after a good meal the next afternoon I meet back up with the guys in Brussels that evening. I loved meeting my family that I may never have the opportunity to meet again and spending time with them. Thanks to the Rijks (sp?) hospitality and care! I loved spending time getting to know yall and can't wait to meet again in the future.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:North Holland

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