On Saturday, we spent the day with another former host sister Ellen, her husband Dominic (who I knew when I was here) and sons Hans (14) and Chris (13). We met in the morning at their home before taking off on a bike ride through the countryside to Delft. For me, this was a day that reminded me very much of my life here, when I went almost everywhere by bike.
As it turns out, we didn’t have a bike small enough for Molly, so she and I rode double all day (with Molly on the rear cargo rack with a cushion). I’m sure that what we did would be illegal in Ontario, but here it’s common to see young people doubling on a single bike.
As you might imagine, much of this area has changed since I was here 35 years ago. Whole areas of farms have disappeared under development. There are new freeways, train stations and communities. Ironically, the places that haven’t changed are the city centres that are still dominated by 3 and 4 storey buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries.
While I was peddling for two, Ursula and George got to ride grandma and grandpa’s electric bikes. These are interesting. They aren’t exactly motorized, as power is only delivered thru the hub while the rider is pedalling. But I think they were a big help as George and I raced along one straight stretch - I had Molly cheering me on, while George had modern technology on his side!
On Sunday, we spent the afternoon and evening with my first host family, the Schaaps. Most memorable for me was the Indonesian dinner we had - something I remember fondly from my time in their home. Mr. Schaap was born in Indonesia (when it was a Dutch colony) and still loves their food. For me, it was a wonderful evening. I was also happy that George and Molly got along well with the Dutch kids, and really enjoyed the (somewhat spicy) dinner too.