Sunday, May 8, 2011

Invitations and invitations

There must be something in the stars for me about invitations.

Yesterday I was invited to Shanghai.
I don't think I'll ever make it that far with what I earn, but who knows what life brings?
They could invite me to teach at a school or university when the kids are old enough to stand on their own feet, and I might even go there.
Waiting for me is a very nice lady, willing to show me the town and the people and do everything to make my stay perfect.

What a generous gesture!

Today we were in Amsterdam with a few of us.
One of our sons needed his dad to bring something to a friend near Amsterdam and we decided to create happy memories and went there.
Last year we went there too near mother's day and it's a nice tradition to break with daily routine and see other things.

We didn't make it to sea, as I would have loved, due to the weather, it was almost tropical, and due to bad train connections.
But our stay in Amsterdam was nice, between all kinds of people enjoying the sun.

Goal was to find a nice mother's day present.
I came home with nothing.

But one of the girls found her dream.

But not without some struggle ...

Dad wanted to go to the chinese part of town, but I wanted to go to a special shop first. My oldest and I discovered it last time we were there. I wanted to buy a proper buddhist small altar. But they had none at all at the moment.

I wanted to walk back a few metres and go to the chinese shops, but dad wanted to go to the right, then to the left and to the left again. He probably wanted to see what was behind the houses in front of us.
I told him that we would not be able to enter the chinese part of town that way, due to the fact that we would land on the main streets which won't grant easy access to the streets beside the canals.
He wanted to go there anyway.

So we landed in an unknown area, and I turned to be right.
Don't tell that to him. LOL!

So he muttered and complained when he had to walk a long way around the place where he wanted to be, and he was even more annoyed when we finally arrived at a place he recognised.
He forgot I brought him there.
I've been to Amsterdam more often and I have walked a lot there with a dear friend who lived there a couple of years. So I know the central places to find my way again.

We finally went to the chinese shops and he couldn't find the one he wanted to go to, because he verbally remembered it and not visually.
He remembered: opposite the Buddhist temple. But it was in the same street.

When we found it it turned out the shop had two entrances... one I wanted to go into before and he refused, because it was not the shop he wanted to go to according to him. LOL!
It was too hot and we were too tired to say anything. So we all had a nice time anyway.

Then we went to the shop I wanted to go to.
My daughter saw a nice chinese jacket and it turned out the perfect fit.
The woman turned out the grandmom of the baby we saw last time and she appreciated to talk about the baby, receive compliments and have some normal woman to woman talk. I felt at home with her. She was very kind.
Then suddenly she said to my daughter: fit this, and gave her the matching skirt.

We didn't know what we saw when my daughter entered the shop again in the chinese outfit.
It was like a movie.

We're not chinese at all.
My daughter has a very pale complexion and is blonde-brown.
She was wearing the outfit though like it has been her costume for many years.

"I'll give you the skirt as a present", the woman said.

When dad was away to get money from the bank, because they had no electronic pay system, we were talking about a few subjects and then landed on buddhism. She told my girls a few things about the migration of buddhism and chinese buddhism, and we got to talk about the way we buddhists relate to each other. I said I lacked good buddhist contact in my town and people are not really interested in people outside their small group, and others practice more of a form of commercial buddhism. That I could not afford the lessons and other events because they were far too expensive for normal people.
She said that she understood what I meant and then suddenly we were invited to her people.
The girls could lean from their peers, like buddhists do, and I could practice with the others and talk with them, etc etc.
If we would like to come to Buddha-day celebrating the birth of Buddha with them.

I was flabbergasted and happily touched.

So we talked some more and had a good time, and then she invited us over to celebrate another special event with the chinese people there.
It didn't feel awkward at all to accept and to express my gratitude and happiness about it.

Before we left she wrapped the outfit in a box I was looking at before and clearly likes, and gave the girls some lucky coins.

When we lwft we were light and had the feeling that we have found a place to be ourselves, to learn to be educated about buddhism.

In a few weeks time we will be back there for the celebration of Buddha day and to meet the other people. There will be plenty of kids for my girls to speak with.

What a wealth of invitations!
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