Friday, August 3, 2007

Delftians coffee night

We found out an online group of English speaking foreigners at Delft, organized by a warm-hearted lady. She organizes a coffee gathering every other Thursday at a bar in Delft. The group is just a little over one year old, and has been growing bigger and bigger. We are both excited about this group, and hope to develop our social network while we live here. Especially for me, I feel I am extremely lacking 'adult interaction' since I came here. So last night it was the first time we went to the gathering.

There is nothing special about the gathering. When we entered, there were already more than 10 people. They have started chatting in small groups and each seems to be drinking beer. It is a small bar, and this big group is very apparent, crowded with loud conversations in English. From the statistics shown in the website, this group is composed of mainly people from the EU countries. I got to talk mainly with three people, and they were from Ireland, Germany, and Scotland, respectively. Among them, we are the mostly traveled. There is no doubt that people like us are rare, very rare.

I had an interesting talk with the German lady. She is recently laid off and will work for another 2 or 3 weeks. She complained her boss who is only 26 years old very bad in managing the work. She had a MBA degree so I feel it will be easy for her to find a job quickly. But she said that most of the job are too low level jobs and she has too much experiences and it is hard also. She came to the Netherlands less than one year, but she could speak dutch fluently. She had a dutch boyfriend when she was 19 years old. They met in Germany and he was learning German. She decided to talk with him and started to learn dutch. You never know, now it is an asset for her to live in the Netherlands. Oh, she also recently found out that in her ancestor's tree, there were dutch people. That might explain her dream of living in the Netherlands.

Also, a German can speak Dutch, really has some special meanings. Because in the WWII, Germany occupied the Netherlands for 2 or 3 years. There was a general hatred towards the Germans in this society. So I asked how does the German schools teach about this part of the history? It is quite critical. The general conception people have is our ancestor made some mistakes in the history and we need to know and avoid making similar mistakes. The movie Shindler's List is a must-seen for school kids around 14 years old. However, she still has experienced awkward feelings and embarrassment when she lives here. Once she saw a picture of central Rotterdam after the WWII, she said she was hoping there were a hole somewhere she could hide. She can still come across people's expression of their hatred towards Germans. Her husband had experience of being called Nazi when discussing a totally technical problem.

Maybe it is not fair for me to compare this with Japanese-Chinese relationship at this moment. But being countries that made similar massacre during the war, the attitudes of the current generation are so much different. How do you face the history of your ancestors? I don't feel it is right that the people now should take the blame of the mistakes their ancestors made. In another word, Chinese should not simply curse all Japanese since they are not those people who misbehaved in the war. However, the government's attitude toward its history is the origin of the anger among Chinese. There are a lot that Japan should learn from Germany.

After going back from the coffee, Mr. Awaara read a news that Uniliver was going to cut 20,000 jobs in Europe. Actually this German lady's husband works in Uniliver, and also we met another lady works there last night. I just wish them both good luck.

No comments: