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If I had a weekly column in the Delft op Zondag


(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag

even-kijkenw

3 JULI, 2016
www.nlstrabo.nl


An American from Texas moves to Delft for work - and stays


DELFT - Gareth Wiley has lived in Delft from 2004, now a permanent resident since 2012, and is still confused, despite generous help from friends. He sees his life in Delft through American eyes.


My very first time in the Netherlands, I came on the night flight from hot Houston to much cooler Schiphol. A Dutch co-worker back in Texas had referred me to a hotel in a town called Delft which I had never heard of. I took a taxi because the train was just too much for me to figure out with no sleep. The hotel let me check in, ignoring my appearance. I tossed the bags on the bed and went looking for strong coffee. Amazing, the number of cafes in Delft.

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"I've been enjoying the cafe and terrace at the Engel for over ten years now. You likely will see everyone you know walk by sooner or later. A book and a cold one on a sunny day are fine by me."

I was assigned a cubette and dropped into a new project at the stage: 'Any of you here have a clue?' Meetings were packed with people from round the world, which was a change from meetings in Houston. Here, I met a wider range of people. Not to say the folks in Houston are lacking. They are not, not at all.

New projects spawn new teams which have events to create a shared, foolish memory; we had them in Houston too. My first one here, knotted-rope puzzle games were given to each of us. The Dutch guy went at it hard and finally said: "It is not possible." But another man picked it up, fussed and untied it. Good to see the Dutch are able to laugh at themselves 'being too Dutch'.

I found the Cafe Engel and discovered just how wonderful coffee can be. Folks were friendly and directed me back toward my hotel. I had a day job then and needed sleep to be convincingly corporate my first day in a new, foreign team.

Really, the vocabulary to describe my impressions of Delft is yet beyond me. There were so many strong scenes of people and an old-new place, which had the effect of making me shy. Curiosity assured that did not last very long.

Bravely, I rented a bike and decided that I would ride it to work at Rijswijk. I was cocky, so rode it on a trail run on a Sunday. My university degree is in Geography, which only means I am able to get far more lost more easily than most men.

But I did manage to commute on a bike by doing things like buying a map, going the same route and keeping it out of the canal. I was used to a 45 minute commute in rush hour traffic at 80 miles an hour; a bike is simple and exercise.

Next trip, I spent hours on the steps outside my hotel room looking at sky and skyline. A job opened in Rijswijk; I applied and was hired. I began my immigration to foreign, unfamiliar Delft. It is not Brazoria county, Texas, but: 'It'll do me'.



G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen