It is the fourth day of training. We’ve changed locations to down by the airport, which is much more convenient to the Hotel Denzel. However, I am in a giant ballroom with 1000 people and the background music sounds like the soundtrack from Leisure Suit Larry.
I went to Cactus last night. I am not sure if it was a bad night for them or if they have changed for good. They didn’t want to seat me at first because I was by myself and they only seat whole parties. Which was dumb because I would have started ordering already. And then there were the rules about how I couldn’t order a drink for someone who wasn’t there yet because the law says it is forbidden.
There are a couple of things that I have noticed that really irritate me. The first one is the fact that there are tip jars everywhere. You are expected to tip for everything. I find this so annoying. I am not used to this anymore because in the Netherlands, people in the service industries get paid relatively well hourly, rather than being forced to rely on tips. And I do think it is the responsibility of a business owner to pay their employees properly rather than expecting them to earn their living from tips. I am not against giving a tip for great service but I am against the idea that your employee is more than dependent on tips to make a living wage than what you as the business owner are paying them.
The second thing is that things don’t seem to be set up to be enjoyed. For example, if you are not in a group or couple, then you are really made to feel as if there is something odd about you. By contrast, I am used to doing so many things on my own in Amsterdam and never having an issue if I go into a restaurant or a bar by myself.
The third thing is driving EVERYWHERE and the amount of time that you waste in traffic. Ugh. I would so much rather have the freedom of my bike. It seems like it takes at least an hour to get anywhere.
Other than that, things that I appreciate about being here are: wide parking spaces (such a luxury), seeing all the people I have missed and the beautiful views of Tahoma (Mt Rainier’s real name) , the city and the Olympics at sunset. Oh, yes, and going to my favorite veg restaurants.
Being here also makes me think about my mom. I guess that is an obvious conclusion. In a way, I feel like I took her with me to Amsterdam. Of course, collecting all the mail from the past six months, including what is addressed to her, is pretty grounding. I spent some time with Lynn on Tuesday afternoon, along with all of her pets. We talked alot about my mom. Lynn was so important to my mom. And for me, drinking kombucha in her house, cuddled by her dogs and talking about my mom and her passing was really healing. Yes, it is very tough to think about but I know that without Lynn, Mom might have had a very different passage. And I am so grateful that Mom had a very peaceful death.
I also had dinner with Mark. Have you ever met someone that you feel like they are you if you were the opposite gender? That’s how I feel about Mark. It took me a long time to figure out exactly what that feeling was. We ate at Plum, which is a super vegan restaurant. Of course, we had a lengthy conversation about everything. Ironically, now I am having difficulty with spoken English.
Most of this trip has been about conversations. Living in the Netherlands has really made me appreciate the directness and dialogue. And I am doing my best to incorporate that into every area of my life. And of course, trying to enjoy the moments rather than constantly planning.