Sunday May 17, 2015. Day 2 in Holland.
Yesterday was a day of firsts. My second day in Holland took us into the city of Utrecht, a beautiful city. Much of the architecture is similar to Amsterdam and other parts of Holland, but it is much more laid back and less touristy. I wanted to tour the canals, and so we did, quite literally. There are these electric boats right, that you can have remotely activated. They hold about 8 people, and you simply unplug it and go…so of course I drove because – why not.
Mind you I can’t swim, so there’s that. But let it be known that I really do like being on the water, just not in the water. It was amazing to go out with my host family and tour the canals. It was exciting, beautiful and again something out of a story book. We traveled through the canals, drank wine, ate cheese, crackers, and fruit, and even “parked” to get out and see some of the city. It was amazing. I had a taste of the Caribbean while looking around the city. Jerome and I had a Johnny Cake, which was….beyond words good. I also grabbed some souvenirs for some folks back at my college. We fed ducks, waived at passers-by, listened to Nickelodeon and Disney songs louder than we should have, and even fixed our boat when it got stuck…by a prison. I hope to visit that prison in a couple of days – we will see.
An even more magical time was getting back home last night and chatting over a light dinner and tea with Jerome and Sandra, both of whom work in higher education. I realized that there were more similarities in “diversity work” than I once thought. Which was encouraging. There is good work being done by people like Sandra and others to help people understand, value, and work with other cultures. The populations are different, but the challenges and work is very similar. We talked about the “oppressed” in Holland, and who were the disadvantaged in this country. We shared thoughts and ideas and knowledge about how higher education is funded in our countries, the philosophy of our systems, how they are lead, and what the challenges are. The hours rolled on by as we shared each other’s company, and learned from our collective experience. These convos present the best teaching and learning opportunities. Today was the first full “work day” but I will write a day after my experiences to give my thoughts time to marinate. John Maxwell said that “reflective thinking is like the crock pot of the mind. It encourages your thoughts to simmer until they’re done.” I’m going to let them simmer and write more tomorrow.