Hello Dutchies, This is Peta here… and I am not Dutch, so I will write in English. If you don’t understand what I am typing, you can use google translate (although I’m not sure if there is an ‘Australian’ English option :)) . For some whacky reason, Robert and Dianne have allowed me to write a portion of their blog, so I have taken the opportunity with glee, and am wondering which secrets I should reveal first.
Firstly, for those readers who have no idea who I am, I’m an Aussie, from Melbourne. Back when the internet was ‘new’ and chatting to random strangers from other countries sounded fun, I met Robert over the internet. Fourteen years later, for the first time, I have been able to meet him, his gorgeous partner Dianne, Dianne’s sister Yvonne and his ‘cute as a button’ daughter, Vivian. As they walked in the door, I nearly gasped at these super tall, tanned skinned people. (personally, I think Dianne is a bit of a goddess, but don’t tell her I said that). I believe the first comment about Robert from my daughter Abbey was ‘Mummy, he’s the wrong colour… he’s meant to be white’… and from my dad ‘Pete, you didn’t tell me they were half aborigine!’. Clearly the sun up north has been great for the skin. I look as white as toothpaste standing next to them… and like a hobbit.
I am so incredibly envious of you all, being in contact with these fantastic people all the time. I can’t believe how easily they have fitted into my life for the last week, I have enjoyed every minute.
ANYWAY…. Moving right along…..
They arrived safely, and surprisingly, were very clean and ‘un smelly’ (that is not a real adjective… just made it up). Their van is the size of my house, so I’m not sure why they elected to stay inside with us, but I’m super glad they did… because it means I got to see them from the moment I awoke to the moment I went to bed every day for the next four days :).
After the initial weirdness of seeing Robert in high definition (and moving around instead of bound to a computer screen), we were able to settle down to an enjoyable afternoon of playing with our daughters and getting to know each other in REAL LIFE.
Then came the evening, where the highlight of the night was ‘THE LIST’. At the start of the trip, I had asked Robert to start a list of things that they found unusual about Australia, or the Australian people. We sat in the lounge together, with Dianne, Yvonne and Robert going through the list, while my husband (Danny) and I laughed at all the silliness. I believe it started with something like “you guys bbq weirdly”… and continued onto things like how we are so proud of Australian owned products, how we sometimes have outside toilets, and how bikes are allowed on our highways. None of those things seem weird to me. HA HA. Dianne in particular, seems to find ‘boardwalks’ amusing, which I find very funny. I’m not sure why she finds it unusual, but she laughs every time she sees one, and gets just a little excited.
Wednesday was my birthday, and they came with heaps of presents for me, which was so lovely. They bought me kruidnootjes, stroopwafels (my favourite thing to eat from Holland), tea towels, a book about dutch people….. and then came the salt licorice. I have NO IDEA what possessed them to bring me salty, dutch licorice for my birthday… and I am also having trouble figuring out why any of you would ever like the stuff. It became a bit of a joke. In return, I made them eat kangaroo for dinner.
On Thursday, Robert ate vegemite toast with me, informing me that with cheese, it tastes a lot better (in other words, if you can mask the flavour, it’s good. HA HA). We all went to the Melbourne zoo, where we saw the usual animals, before we came home, put the girls to bed, and snuck off to mcdonald’s for lunch. I mean… Dianne stayed with the girls, we didn’t all leave them by themselves while they slept. But Robert and I brought back the stash for us to eat. I loved the moment in McDonald’s where Robert asked for a banana milkshake (in his wonderful dutch accent)… the three teenagers who were serving us (goodness knows why we needed that many people paying attention to us), all stopped what they were doing and looked a bit puzzled. I said “Don’t mind him, he’s from the Netherlands… he doesn’t understand that there is no such thing as a banana milkshake”. HA HA. Then it was Robert’s turn to look a bit puzzled. Made me laugh. Clearly banana milkshakes are an ‘essential item’ in the Netherlands. I’ll make a mental note of that.
The afternoon was spent in front of the fire place (coz it was COLD in Melbourne). I think the highlight of my day was sitting on the couch next to Rob, both of us with our netbooks, chatting to each other in msn, when Danielle Rutten came online. Some of you will know her I assume, and boy did the conversation become funny. Robert and I were laughing so much that we were crying, Danielle was trying to take a shower and chat to us on her ipad at the same time, and Dianne sat on the opposite couch laughing at the fact that the whole situation was just totally ridiculous.
Danielle also asked us when we were going to see the ‘Pinkwins’ (penguins)… which is a joke that has carried on throughout the week. (don’t worry Danielle, I know you can ACTUALLY spell it… maybe).
Once Danny was home, we all played board games for the evening, and ate more kangaroo. I hope the dutchies don’t get too keen on it coz there’ll be no kangaroos left in Australia if they eat it ALL the time.
On Friday, we had to go and visit my parents. After meeting Rob, Dianne, Yvonne and Vivian at my birthday, they were desperate to see them again. Dad likes asking stupid questions like “are your toilets the same in the Netherlands???”HA HA. We went on a walk at the local park that my mum and I do regualarly together, and mum and dad took great pride in showing off all their knowledge about the birds of the area. Rob and Dianne were very lucky to get a good view of a family of ‘Powerful Owls’ which are rare in Australia. Most bird watchers even in my own country would never have seen one.
We continued on with an afternoon of frivolity… eating with my parents, hanging out at my house… half heartedly packing our things for the weekend away, and most importantly, visiting the DUTCH ISLE at the supermarket.
Now, I say ‘dutch isle’… but you must understand that actually it is more of a dutch ‘shelf’. I have often hung around there with Abbey, stocking up our trolley with stroopwafels, speculaas, appelstroop or koffiewafels (all introduced to me by Robert). Sometimes if we are lucky, we find a Dutch person there as well, and I always try to practice a few Dutch words on them… like my very favourite phrase “alle gekheid op een stokje”…. Which, let’s face it, really doesn’t come in handy very often (except when I’m talking to Robert). HA HA. So Dianne and Robert showed me all the things that they eat back at home, and told me what some of the products were (that I had not been game enough to try). It was great.
All this led to our weekend away. We are currently at Phillip Island, a lovely little island with tonnes of activities to do and beautiful places to see. On Saturday we went to an old farm, saw animals, made daisy chains, ate lunch (which Dianne and Robert kindly bought for us), and wandered through the gardens.
Then we took a walk along the coastal cliffs of a place called ‘cape woolami’ (which I have probably spelt incorrectly… maybe I should ask Dianne… she is far better at spelling in English than I am).
Danny, Robert and I went on the walk first, while the girls slept. In the distance was a huge rock structure, popping out of the water… some might call it a ‘pinnacle’ I guess. On the top of the rock, I saw what looked awfully much like a seal! I told the boys that I’d seen it, and they laughed very hard, telling me that there was no way in hell that a seal could get to the top of the pinnacle. As we got closer… I was even MORE certain that it was a seal (and kept saying so). They continued to laugh. Finally… I said “If it’s NOT a seal, I will eat a rock”. Goodness knows what possessed me to say that. I think it comes from the whole ‘speak first, think later’ thing.
It turned out that it was not, in fact, a seal. Bugger.
Today was a day of walking on boardwalks through the mangroves, wandering about the koala conservation park and now, having a lazy afternoon in the sun.
Right now, Dianne is sitting here at the table opposite me, laughing with Robert because the sun is moving across the sky in the wrong direction. She chose her afternoon ‘rest spot’ thinking that she would have a few hours before the sun started shining on her. It’s apparently moving the wrong way, so she is already struggling with being too hot :). I am trying to figure out if they are just totally trying to fool me, or if this is actually the case. I mean, clearly the sun moves from east to west… but if you look at It from the opposite direction… does it perhaps look like left to right??? Hmmmm.
To be continued…
Last night, we went and saw the ‘pinkwins’ (penguins)… and had such an enjoyable night together. I laughed so loudly when Vivian called out (in her adorable dutch) “Look Penguins, I have popcorn in my mouth!!!”. As we sat huddled together in the wind, we saw lots and lots of penguins, waddling up the beach to their nests. I can’t quite figure out where they all go to, it’s intriguing. Penguins are the clumsiest little birds. No wonder they have to come up to the beach at night time instead of during the day, they bump into one another, falling down sand dunes, rolling about on the ground… crazy little things.
You will all be thrilled to know that Rob and Dianne have picked up such phrases as ‘no worries’, ‘I’m going to deck you’, ‘tea time’ and ‘I’m looking for my thong’. Vivian, on the other hand, has figured out how to say ‘sticky, sticky fingers’, ‘one, two, three,….., FIVE’, ‘goodnight Peta’ and can sing happy birthday in English. Very impressive.
I have decided that I don’t want Rob, Dianne and Viv to leave, and have tried a few things to get them to stay here with me. Firstly, I tried to buy the house two doors down from my place for them to live in, then I tried to sabotage their air flight tickets home, then I tried stealing their passports, then I handcuffed myself to Vivian so they would have to take me. Unfortunately, none of these things had the desired effect and so I have to send them on their way… back to you lucky friends.
Alle gekheid op een stokje, I love these people, I hope so very much to keep them as my friends for the rest of my life, and I have every intention of coming over to the Netherlands to get another dose of ‘my dutchies’, as soon as my life allows it.