Unexpected visit out of Washington

The world is small isn't it? Today Jan came home from a congress in Orlando, flying over via Washington. And Greet, my high school/neighbourhood/university friend, who currently lives there to work for the IMF was on the flight too. She is on her way to an economic review of Kenia and had a 2 day stop planned in Belgium.

So we had a small unexpected visit in our house in Leuven this afternoon from her and some friends, which was really cool. We don't get to see each other very often anymore since she lives in Washington. She has an extremely busy and tough job and travels all over the world. Her job seems to be at quite some other level then mine if you compare judging countries economic and budgetary measures and giving macro-economic guidelines to training some people in a new software :p. But I wouldn't wanna switch with her life though. Working for the IMF is very demanding on your personal life if I can hear so although many consulting jobs are like that as well (hence why I am not so interested in a pure consulting job anymore). And despite both our economic studies, I do not share her passion for macro-economics anymore. Still ...I am so glad for her that she made it into this job that she takes on with her usual enthousiasm.

Hey Greet!! Cool to have seen you again. Always welcome to hop by next time again!! Have a good time in Kenia no matter how busy and challenging it'll be.

I also recognise her struggle to find Dutch expressions in our conversations when she is just back in the country. When I came back from Canada after my exchange, even after 3 months, people still gave me comments on Dutch mistakes in my sentences. You would think that one cannot loose its mother language but you sure can loose some fluency in it because you started thinking in another language. All of a sudden you notice that you are making literal translations from the other language to your own mother language which sound very unnatural. Yet, you cannot find the right construction immediately.

When I start talking about my experiences in Canada to friends and colleagues here, that struggle still pops-up now and then. My memories about Canada seem to be registered in my mind in English and some experiences from there I only have learned in English. All of a sudden I need to find a Dutch translation to something I never ever had to translate. And there you have the embarrassing situation that all of a sudden you can't find the words anymore in your own language. Not all people seem to understand that and think you are just bragging or trying to get attention. But I simply believe that that is the way the mind works. When Greet to talks to us about day-to-day stuff , she speaks correct Dutch but when she explains her job to us, she gets trapped in English expressions...because all associations and jargon she learned about her job have only been registred in her mind in English. So Greet, no appologies needed next time.


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