Dude, We Are Parents ?!?

The good thing about being an expatriate brat is that you get to have friends all over the world.

The bad thing about being an expatriate brat is that you get to have friends all over the world.

Huh?

If you go to high school  and then settled down roots in the same city, it’s a fair bet that most of your classmates also settled there. With friends that are in within your physical area, you get invited to their wedding, visit them in the hospital, buy them birthday present before going to the party, and have the event posted on Path to show the world, “Hey look, I’m here!”

If  you go to highschool elsewhere far far away from your hometown, more than few hours plane ride, well, once you finished school, unless you set up roots in the Western Hemisphere chances are you’re not going to end up growing old(er) with your classmates. If, like me, you’re from the Eastern part of the meridian – the rather poorer parts as well – then good luck finding your secondary schoolmates in your hometown. As much as you would like to, it is not always practical to go to a friend’s birthday party when it’ll took a day or three flying commercial to get there. Although strangely enough, I did found 2 of my high-school teachers here but that’s another story.

Now, as we all know, the internet supposedly brings us closer. In a sense that’s true. If we lived back, say in the 80’s, we’d have to rely on postcards and letters to bring us up to date. With social media, it is much easier to find out what they’re up to. Well, provided they like to post regular updates about themselves as well. Obviously not all of your class mates are social media fans, but a good chunk of them do regularly updates the world about their general wellbeing and sometimes post some pics as well.  So I  get to find out who’s married, who’s not, who have kids, who have babies, etc.

The thing is, even if you see pictures of their wedding and whatnot, because you were never there, even though you know those photos are not hoaxes, sometimes it still didn’t really register in your head that the dude who used to wear grunge fashion all the time is now actually someone’s husband. So when at some point later they have kids, you got nearly choked on your morning coffee upon seeing their beaming face while holding their newborn baby as you checked your fb updates. Especially this year it seems that a bunch of them decided to have another kids, some are still in the oven, some already popped out. Interesting. Never let it be said that the class of 94 are nothing if not productive 😉

Strangely enough, these coffee-choking moments only occurred upon seeing the male members of my high school classmates. Somehow when it’s my girl friends’ babies there’s not a doubt in your mind that they are now mommies. It’s an,”Aww… how cute!” moment rather than, “Say whaaat??? Who thinks it’s a good idea for him to have kids?” Ok double standard I know! Totally guilty. Off to the dungeon!

According to Ishat, it’s because I still see them as those grungy, long-haired dudes waxing poetics about the latest from the Seattle sound or Headbangers Balls. In reality we’re all racing towards the big 4-0, already completed our education, and is now a model middle-class citizens of the world complete with dogs and cats just to make our already rambunctious household even more so. How is it possible that we are now moms and dads? However, as Hollywood tv writers would like you to believe, we never really left high-school.

So yeah, I do know that Em has a son, or that Mel and her sister are both Mrs, and that Mike, Nori, and Nadav are now family man. But somehow in your mind you still see Em as that girl with the big smile and the first person who told you what olliebollen is. You still think of Mel this zany, quirky person who’s allergic to chocolate yet ate it all the time. And the boys? Well, they’re still in that grungy, long-haired, checked flannel shirts period, except for Nori – he had short hair back then. We were a crazy bunch, living in a wild town, in a funky era.

Then again, what are high school if not the crazy time of our life? Now that some distance has passed, I have nothing but chuckles at the memory. We may be old(er) in real life, but we’re forever young in our hearts.

Ah class, I heart ye all.

kusjes!

yep, that’s one of the choices of where we’d go at night 😉

 

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Hash, High School, Het Museum

Flag of Amsterdam. The official city motto is ...

Flag of Amsterdam Image via Wikipedia

When people find out that I finished my high school in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, they usually thought it’s cool. Some though get all glazzy eyed and thought OMG, did you smoke like, pot, like everyday? Err… Well, while one of my classmate did give an impromptu lesson on how to roll a joint tobacco filled ciggarette paper in the school lounge, I never actually try them. The glazzy eyed crew were not impressed. So, what did I do in high school?

Not getting high every weekend that’s for sure.  I was so naïve or idiotic -probably the latter- I didn’t even realise what weeds smells like until Jou pointed it out to me during one of our many excursion to the Dam. There we were, Luci, me and Jou, my hs crew,  pondering whether we should get a tattoo, where and what when he suddenly sniffed the air and remarked ever so casually,

“Dang, it smells so strong today!”

then Luci concurs “Yeah it does doesn’t it?”

“Smells what? It always smells like this,” said the resident idiot

“Doh! Its the red light district. Coffee shops, space brownie?” asked Jou

“You mean hash?”

“Ding ding ding! Hello! Where have you been? You do live here don’t you?”

“Well… I just didn’t realise what it was. I just thought this area smells funny…”

“What do you think it is?”

“The dirty canal?”

I think Luci just laughed and Jou gave me the biggest eye roll ever known to mankind. And this all happened in broad daylight I might add. So no we weren’t under any kind of influence, except maybe all those tertier hand weed smoke/space brownie baking smoke inhaling. Hmm.. come to think of it, that’s probably why I’m slightly kookie.

So yeah, it is safe to say I also didn’t partake in any drunken debauchery in high school. What I did do is exploring the museum and music. Suffice to say that the Dutch has their share of great arts. Rijksmuseum is truly an amazing museum. The Doll House by far is my favourite part. So back in the 18th century, the hot item of the day is to own a Doll House which was a replica of their house and it would show you’re rich enough to spend money on ‘frivolous’ things. One such lady (or her family) donated her doll house to the Rijksmuseum.  I just love to stand there imagining the woman – it was a woman’s thing, not a little girl- who used to owned that doll house. Would she let the daughters play with it? Or did she, when no one is looking, play like a little girl that she once was? Then, as it is an accurate copy of what a house looks like at that time, I started imagining what would it feel like living in a house like that? Would I like it? How does it feel to have two doors? One for the servant and one for you? Must be interesting.

I would go to the museums with Sarah. She’s just so smart it was interesting to see her take on things we see. We’d have lunch afterwards, a slice of pizza with a glass of cool soda in Leidseplein. But Sarah wasn’t just my museum buddy, she’s also my music buddy. Well, not together because we played different instrument, she plays(ed?) flute and I do vocals. But we’d perform on the same events. One that I still remember is when our school entered a music festival/competition that was held in the International School in the Hague. There were a bunch of us, we actually go on a bus to get there, there were kids who played the piano, flute, and some other instruments. I was in the choir, I think we performed the little fawn song and one other I can’t remember. For a brief moment we felt like musician traveling from city to city to perform a show. We were supposed to watch other people’s performance and learn from them but since we were the only ones there from our school we ended up just going to each other performances for support. We both got blue ribbons! Happy!

This was also where I truly understand the meaning of a stage persona. How, when one steps onto a stage you can transform into whatever character that you’re inhabiting for that moment and if you’re good, you shines. See, they invite some the jury deems the best to perform at the end of the day. There’s this one boy who got to sing. What he sang I don’t remember, but I do remember watching him sing on that stage wearing just normal clothes but he looks totally amazing. He belted his heart out and he just has this aura – I can’t take my eyes off him. Then, a very funny thing happened. Whole thing over, speech etc presented, we filed out the hall trying to locate friends and the right bus. And I saw him. And he looks? Just normal. Just your average high school boy leaning towards geek chic. I was so surprised. Was this the same guy that was on stage just moments ago? Pretty much crushed my hopes of ever marrying an actor someday. They just look dashing on-screen (which was confirmed as I worked on television later on and met actors but I digress)

And that’s what I did in high school. Choir, vocal lessons, making up songs with Mel and her guitar, getting Haagen-Dazs with Mel, watching loads of movies with Kath, Luci and Jou, checking out the American bookstore with Kath, tramsurfing (have you ever done it? Highly recommended), and of course, dancing the night away. You can not really life in Amsterdam as a youngster and not check out the nightlife. The tourist club, the interesting places, places only locals know… out when the sun still shining and home when the sun is back again and not because the sun never drops 😉 Just where did I have the energy? Ah youth!

A thought just suddenly pops into my head. Would Mel ever take me on her bike through A’dam little straaten again? Most probably not, since the last time we did we almost went into the canal. Ah no, that wasn’t with Mel, that was with Helene. Ah well. I prefer walking instead of biking around there anyway.