A Christmas wreath !!! It was specially made by his wife for us to hang on the door....
That was nice of them. No doubt they knew that we did not celebrate Christmas, but it was given in good faith, so I accepted it and thanked him profusely... :D
He also invited us for a
So on that coffee day, we were ready to go by 4.30 pm. As we walked the short distance to their house, we saw another neighbour walking to the same house. Hmmm... it seemed that we were not the only guests. It turned out that they invited all the neighbours around the house... about 5 couples of all. The coffee invitation seemed more like a new year party, well the elderly fashion that is. "A biscuit or two" that I thought, turned out to be a small party with a few finger food varieties. Our gracious hosts painstakingly tried to explain to us that all the food with the exception of one, were all vegetarian and fish based ingredients. There were two types of fish pate, boiled eggs, dates stuffed with cheese, fruit salad, garlic breads, various types of cheeses and a few others. They did it out of consideration for us. That was sweet of them.. I really appreciated that, it was a great relief that we were being informed of the ingredients without having had to ask :D
It also turned out that our Dutch hosts were actually Germans !!!! They came to the Netherlands after World War 2 and decided to stay here for good. Now it all made sense... for one thing, they were not as tall as the other Dutch neighbours (They came from Bavaria, where the people were not as tall as those from Hamburg, their words not mine), and for another, why there were more food on the table and not only biscuits as I had imagined !!!
We were there for 2 1/2 hours, chatting and mingling, drinking tea and eating German bread and fish pate.... And towards the end of it, my back and legs were begging me to sit down !!! Was it the Dutch way or maybe I should say German way that they did not invite you to sit down?? I realised that no one was sitting, so that means we were expected to stand. Briefly, a thought of new year parties in the movies came to mind, right..... no one is sitting!!! Everybody is standing or dancing and drinking !!! Hmmm no wonder....
It's all right for me to walk for 2 hours, but to practically stand still for 2 hours???? It's actually very tiring... trust me. But it's worth it, we learned that most neighbours on the street were originally farmers, rich farmers in my opinion considering their big houses.
It's been an interesting and enlightening beginning of the year 2012. It is now already 2 weeks into the new year, and yet sometimes I feel not ready to face the new year... why??? New year means new and more difficult challenges??? I do not know. But the following cartoon strip best explain my feelings sometimes.... :D