Last weekend I went to a party **. Since I had a lot of fun, I have upgraded the “yay” to a “YAY”. Maybe next time I might get as far as a “YAY!” 🙂
** Note: It was “last weekend” when I first wrote most of this but I’ve been busy and preoccupied. (See upcoming posts.)
The couple that hosted the party are neighbors, a very nice couple. He is English and she is Dutch and they have both lived in my area for many years, much longer than me.
As happens sometimes, the party was divided into two phases. The first phase had lots of people all over the house. The second phase, later in the night, had a smaller more intimate group that chatted and laughed into the wee hours.
When I arrived with my daughters, Brigitte and Charlotte (they were invited too), I was lost at first because the hostess had invited many people from the regional Dutch Club. Many of the conversations in small groups were taking place in Dutch, some in German, and only some in English. Swap Dutch for Swiss-German, and it was like being back in Switzerland! I listened in to two people talking in German for a while, but my ‘ear’ wasn’t up to it and I moved on (I was never good enough at Hoch Deutsch for serious conversation and it’s too long since I left Switzerland to be able to keep up with conversation). I got talking to one couple, concentrating on their accents to figure out where in Europe they might be from — somewhere exotic perhaps? Arrgh! … I eventually realized I’d been listening for the wrong thing: they were from Minnesota!
The kids were downstairs in the basement and I wandered along to make sure (a) they were all accounted for [as Brigitte’s boyfriend was at the party too] and (b) they weren’t bored. Upstairs had a bunch of adults (a.k.a. Old People) chatting to one another, whereas downstairs was…The Lively Party! The kids had music blaring, they had air hockey, pool, and table tennis. They were draped over couches and bean bags. They were the cool crowd. They didn’t need me slowing them down! And my daughters made that clear! They’re so young! I hate them!
Back upstairs, I was still the odd one out as everyone else seemed to be there as a couple. Welcome to life in a family neighbourhood! A South American lady asked me about MY accent and her Dutch husband joined our discussion and we chatted for an hour or so, other people joining our growing group, swapping tales of kids, the US Government and immigration, travel, and the usual topic-to-topic flits and flows that you drift through with new people you meet.
I left the group and wandered back towards the kids at the same time as another couple arrived looking a little lost. The husband of the couple (let’s call him Keith) is from New Zealand and the wife is a local, but they didn’t meet here. They had a fascinating tale: He was in the USA when he was young, touring across the States from Los Angeles, heading eventually for London. (It’s common for Antipodeans to go on extended ‘walkabout’ tours like this.) He spent time in the Washington D.C. area and, en route to London, had an overnight stopover in New York City. He and a friend stopped in a downtown bar. While they were drinking, he spotted one young lady with her friends. That was it. Love at first sight. He didn’t know anything about her, but the two of them just kept staring at each other. They stayed on after their friends left and talked all night (they had The Talk that very first night). He got on the plane to London the next day and she went back to D.C. (coincidence — that’s where she was from!). They carried on a long-distance love affair for 6 months, flying back and forth and running up big phone bills, until he gave up and moved to the USA to be with her.
Keith and the hostess wandered downstairs with me and we played table tennis for a while, then I played briefly with Brigitte, then against her boyfriend. I might have leaked some testosterone on the floor as I made sure to beat her boyfriend. I thought he might respect me a little more if I kicked his butt at table tennis. Later I thought this through…so the idea is I beat HIM at table tennis and, despite his 16-year old hormones flowing EVERYWHERE, he’ll be so overawed that HE won’t want to have SEX with MY daughter for YEARS to come. Sure, that works out just fine. *sigh*
Back upstairs, where the logic was more sustainable, the Dutch groups had dispersed and us locals sat around chatting for hours. It felt very comfortable being with a group where no-one except the hosts knew more than a few other people. The evening was a great mixer and I was very polite and thanked the hosts the next day (Facebook makes that whole process sooo much easier, n’est-ce pas?).
My two little angels were thoroughly worn out by the time we eventually got home about 1:30am and I think they got ready for bed with their eyes closed. Within seconds of lying down and saying good night to me, they were asleep. Good news for me; they slept in late and didn’t wake me up with their usual tromping around. YAY.