Different perspectives

Last Friday Jan and I went to some sort of reunion party of his university friends in their regular pub ran by the student organisation. They called it the "Old fart party" and I (as an outsider who didn't even study in Leuven) must admit they sounded like that sometimes. Remarks like "Oh my gosh, those black spotlights in that corner...remember, we've installed those, they are still here!". Many stories came around, some more spectacular than others. I learned a lot about the events that had happened over the years in every corner of that pub.

I don't have such a pub in Ghent to go back to. Well the economics student organisation sure had their pub as well and it was always crowded, but I was hardly ever seen there. I often joke to Jan that if we had met during our college times, we would not have gotten along.
Looking back I know I've taken my studies too serious. My work ethics, discipline and perfectionism (combined with insecurity in the first years) didn't leave me much time for social activities. I didn't have a room in Ghent either so I commuted up and down by train each day for my classes. I didn't even have the feeling that I was missing anything. The student organisation only filled me with images of arrogance (a lot of rich "fils à papa") , roudiness and drunks. I don't like drunk people. When the conversations start growing louder with more hand movements and less content, I withdraw more and more. After my good results of the first years I did relax a bit, but developed my social life mainly in my hometown with my high school friends that I felt at ease with without ever putting my grades at risk.
Once working and being an expat in the Netherlands, I discovered a new side to life. Freedom to go out, go to restaurants and bars, hang out with friends, live through the nights sometimes without worrying about work the next time. It was very freeing!

Jan's quite the opposite character to me. He has no difficulty to have conversations with people he hardly knows. He seems to fit in all social groups right away. In his student life we probably would not have hang out together (hypothetically if we would have studied in the same faculty at the same time) as he was leading the student organisations (local ones and international ones!!), running the pub, ... when I would have been probably stuck in boring classes. His grades didn't quite ressemble mine, but I am aware that he did learn a great deal that period.

Anyway, I am glad we've met at the right time and found each other in the middle :)

Comments

Haley-O said…
Jan sounds like the PERFECT match for you. I'm so happy you found a GOOD ONE! :)
Betsy said…
You guys prove the old adage: opposites attract! I'm sure you probably bring out the best in each other!

Funny, you describe yourself as an introvert, but in cyberspace you're anything but! Look, you've even got a great big schmooze award on the sidebar! :-)
Kate said…
Life has a funny way of working out, I have been mulling just that myself recently however i'm still at the stage where i'm waiting to see if things will work themselves out. I guess I just have to have faith in life!
Goofball said…
@Betsy:
I didn't really intend to describe myself as introvert as I surely am not quiet or shy at all when surrounded by my friends. At work I am also talkative and assertive, blurring out direct opinions regularly.
But I don't like to mingle into new groups and have difficulty to keep a conversation going when I don't know the people. I don't feel at ease when I can't predict their reactions yet. For blogs it is a bit easier as you can lurk for a while and I do have a feeling you get to know the people a little bit. Plus leaving a remark now and then is not quite the same yet as eg keeping a live conversation going for a while at a party where you don't know anybody. I don't know how to respond right away when Jan notices someone he knows on the other side of the room again and takes off.

Also I think we are less opposite now than in our student life. At that time I had could not understand students not putting their classes first. I've missed out on the stereotypical student life.
Lilacspecs said…
Interesting comparison. I think had Hans and I met somehow in college we'd have totally avoided each other.
That would have been D and me in college, except I would have been Jan and he would have been you. ;-)