Monday, September 14, 2009

Chilling Out Before Part III of the Trip

Growing up where I did, in a relatively busy suburb of Tel-Aviv, was quite a noisy experience. The house I grew up in – and the only one I lived in until flying 10,000km west and settled there – was located right where the street bends ninety degrees. It was a two-way street, and on the main route of two major bus lines.

The end result: imagine a bus driving 40km/h approaching the bend (= my house). It slows down, which is a noisy process; takes the turn; and then accelerates again – an even noisier process.

Now imagine this four times every fifteen minutes, from 6:00am to 11:00pm (four times because it’s a two-way street, two bus lines, each goes both ways), every day.

That said, after 25 years these kind of things hardens you and “noisy” becomes your standard.

When I moved to Canada, I moved into the relatively small city of Waterloo, about 100km (~60 miles) west of Toronto. My first two weeks were spent in a hotel (paid for by the company who hired me, as part of a relocation package), then moved into a huge house with eight bedrooms (out of which, of course, I only occupied one).

And I can vividly recall how the sudden quietness around me almost drove me insane. It’s as if someone touched the volume knob of my life and turned it all the way counter-clockwise without really allowing me to adjust. At times, it was painful. It was so quiet that I didn’t really know what to do with myself.

I was surprised, though, with how quickly I adjusted to this quiet environment.

Since then, life’s unexpected turns made me live in big cities – Toronto for eight months and Vancouver for four months. In all occasions (except one; Robin, if you’re reading this, this is you), I picked the most quiet place possible for living, and even that was too noisy for me at times.

While city life has its advantages, I always found the constant city noise to be, how to say it, tiring. Often I go on a day trip to, say, Toronto and came back home earlier than expected and crash into bed, falling asleep within minutes.

You’re probably wondering why on earth am I telling you all these seemingly-unimportant nonsense. Well, I did that in order to explain how come, once arrived back at Delft, my tiredness has miraculously disappeared so I decided to take another walk through Delft’s pretty downtown area.

It was sunny yet cloudy, so I took a few pictures:


The second picture shows the cafe I decided to settle in for some late afternoon tea.

While sitting there, I felt the urge to write. Of course, that was possible as I always walk around armed with my brand-new netbook (inside a small backpack). So as I took the netbook out, I noticed those two nice-looking girls looking at my netbook as if it was a baby alien. Then they started talking, evidently about this laptop, with this weird Dutch language I can’t make anything of.

So I decided to be nice… as always. I grabbed the netbook, got up and approached the couple.

- “I guess you were wondering about this?”

I was expecting some sort of a puzzled look on their faces. It took about a second or so to appear, but it did, eventually. And so I was sitting there, again developing conversation with two human beings I had never met before.

We laughed a lot, as they were trying to teach me Dutch and I failed miserably (although I did have some good runs there). We talked about Canada, Canadians, The Netherlands, the Dutch… about an hour passed before I knew it. It was lovely so I decided to make Anouk (exhibit A) and Annemiek (exhibit B) famous:


We then went our separate ways.

Upon returning to Jeroen’s place, I learned that my best friend, Ran Liebermann, is in London for business purposes So I started thinking about changing my trip’s schedule so we can get together. Meeting with him is the highlight of every visit I pay back home, and it’s going to be next to impossible to convince me to not leverage on the opportunity that we’re so geographically close.


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