Reality

Schools are out! The beaches of Humewood and Summerstrand are flooded with partying and braaiende people celebrating their holidays. This will continue to the coming month. Holiday allowance has been paid and disappears into the drink and food bag. My work at Maranatha has stopped. The children, youngsters and also a number of adults are at home with their families. The temperature in PE already rises above 30 degrees. With a natural fan which is running almost every day. A strong cool south-east wind. January 2020 and summer holiday has arrived in South Africa.

I will be in the Netherlands during my summer holiday. I guess I don’t really understand the concept of summer holidays? I am going to meet embrace the warmth that is not subject to climatic changes. Family, family and friends. Looking for as many hugs and kisses as possible. Because as many beautiful people as I meet in PE, warm affection I find especially in the Netherlands.

My home location is Rotterdam. At my brothers place, Hum. Will be challenging sleeping in one bed 🙂 We both need to overcome each other’s snoring and farting. I am taken into the daily life of my brother which is very valuable to me. During my stay I am exposed to temptation. Lots of temptations! My addictiveness I suppressed for so long, has returned instantly. An abundance of food, Portugese wine (port!), Snacks, all just for the taking. And I am very easy to seduce. It will become apparent that I am going back to PE with some overweight.

After an intimate and pleasant New Year’s Eve in Rhenen (dining, dancing and walking), a weekend of family life was on the agenda at Hoenderloo. What a warmth it is being with my children. And not only because of the sauna and fireplace. I felt proud. With the 6 of us (with Scott) a weekend being chill, having a sauna, food, drinks, snacks, walking and games. For the insiders, no spacepernoten (spacecake biscuits) this year! The sense of reality struck again during shopping. Shopping in the Netherlands costs money. Quite a bit of money. Starring at a full shopping cart, finding that the amount of “healthy” food came out a little short.

I really looked forward to this weekend. Andrea and Wouter have taken 2 “stowaways” with them. In July they expect twins and the two girls, yes girls !!! are very well tucked away. They have already experienced how things are in the Hofman family. I will gladly accept that I lose my title as best dad. Wouter will be a great successor as a dad.

Whether I will change my life course, my master plan, my travels due to this expected fact? I do not know yet. For now I would think that it is a beautiful dream that my grandchildren visit me on a Christmas day at my fantasy Island.

I also went to Roswinkel at Hein and José. I had a nice day at the beautiful farm house. Family matters were discussed and also Cambodia and SCCO. I’m thinking of “looking around” at SCCO and offer my time to lend a hand. José’s question whether events in the Netherlands concern me, I answered no.

In PE I live in my little bubble, just local challenges, work, meet, wonder and sadness and joy. That is my reality. Of course I do listen to what my children, family and friendships experience in the Netherlands. I want to be there for them as much as possible. No matter how big the distance may be. I try to make it as small as possible.

Hein took me to the station on a scooter. Maybe to let me experience the possible transport in Cambodia 😉

During my stay in NL I did became more and more aware of the reality NL. National and world politics, attacks, prosecution, sanctions, military intervention, nuclear powers, refugee discussions. All kinds of things that I am trying to run away from when leaving the Netherlands, became visible again. I watch the news again at NOS.nl and daily I am browsing youtube. The most remarkable sentence I heard in 20 would be “we got the oil”. Hearing this I want to shift my interests and attention as quickly as possible.

I don’t want to think big anymore. There is no holistic approach in my vocabular, simply because my brain is too underdeveloped.

Meeting sister Marilyn and my nieces is a happy reunion. Warmth to spend. It has been a long time since we saw each other. But always close in our hearts. In the middle of a renovation with a dixie in front of the door, it is clear that we cannot stay very comfortably in her house, so on our way to Kiki. We enjoyed a good cup of coffee and then traveled to Weert for sushi.

Of course, the “Hof mannen dag” will not be missed! Location Rotterdam. Shooting pool, pitch and putt, memory lane, drink, eat drumsticks, spareribs and talked about what men talk about and can’t have. Women 😉 The essence of a Hof mannen dag as we know it.

None of it all this time. Today we went into the depths. Marion came over with Andy. She can’t no longer control her curiosity. And being at the “hof mannen dag” gained space in this post 😉 Today it is mainly a lot of listening and talking. A couple of older men from the same nest who can listen to each other. Amazing! Marion listened, and she participated.

For the loyal readers who are also curious about what a hof mannen dag looks like, here is another impression.

After a good Asian dish, there was a summary of how Marion sees us as brothers. “You all have a tough side but also a very soft side. When reviewing who looks a bit like who, past me a bit. Except hearing my name I was focused on what’s being said. “Rob, you are a bit special”. I remembered a book “Think like a freak” which I got from my colleagues when I left. There must be some connection between what was said an what was given in the past.

The time in Rotterdam gives me more and more a familiar and homely feeling. Between 1980 and 2000 I worked in the center of Rotterdam. While moving around seems a celebration of recognition. I have enjoyed the men’s evenings (Wednesday) the international film festival, the city walks, harbors and friendships. Hum’s circle of friends have been celebrated for decades and they still do. It is nice to be able to witness that. They see each other every week.

More than 2 years ago I last saw Yvonne. A woman who makes me smiling for years. When I talk about years, it goes back to 1981. As colleagues, we got to know each other and became a long-life friends. We met each other in the former first business club. (stadhuisplein) A café in the building where both she and I have worked for years. Together we recalled memories.

My vacation wish was to receive lots and lots of hugs and kisses. And I certainly got that. Lucky me! Back to PE with a lot of energie. Back to an other kind of warmth and reality.