Here I am to update you on one of my most memorable Canada Day celebrations. There were no fireworks, no barbecue, and no Keith’s. Still, it was not too shabby.
Adam and I arrived near 18:00- fashionably late for the 17:30 start. While everyone else was pulling up in their Mercedes’ and Audis, Adam and I decided to leave the Merc at the dealer home and, like the cheap environment-loving citizens of the world that we are, pedaled the 10 k journey to the party. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. 10 k. There AND back. And me, in high heels and a wrap-around dress that revealed to the world that it had indeed been some time since my adventure with the window washer. Never mind. When we arrived in Wassenaar, sweating and panting amidst the large houses, lush foliage, and horse stables, we knew that we had done our bit to charitably offset the carbon dioxide emissions of the 8-cylinder black Mercedes with the tinted windows that accompanied us on the drive up to the house. Yessir. We’re green alright. Hoo-Wheee… Eff it, next time we’re taking a taxi.
One of the first things I noticed after jumping off my bike and recovering my dignity smoothing my dress into place was that the man directing cars (and bikes) into the parking area beside the house was wearing jeans. This is noteworthy because my husband (in a stroke of genius some might have mistaken for an actual STROKE) thought it would be a good idea to wear jeans to the Ambassador’s house instead of dress-pants. “Hey,” was his argument, “they’re more comfortable than trousers and these cost me a hundred pounds!” Oh, did they? Well, ok then. After recovering from his smack upside the head, Adam found both clarity and another pair of pants. And in the end was not mistaken for a valet. I am thankful for small things.
We arrived at the house where many excited ladies were waiting to direct us inside. After dropping our ticket at the front door we were met by the Ambassador’s Social Secretary. She greeted me confidently, and clearly knew who I was. Even though she called me Danielle. I corrected her gently and introduced Adam. Much to her embarrassment. Meh. At least she knew who I was supposed to be- even if the name was wrong. We briefly discussed OperaDans before she guided us out towards the garden and advised us to come back later to greet the Ambassador. We could see the Ambassador and his wife through the French doors at the top of a small set of marble stairs. As we ventured into the parlour and towards garden we saw them shaking hands with a crowd of people. We would come back later when the crowd had died down.
On the way to the garden I saw a face I recognised- a woman whose party Adam and I had attended a couple of months back. Fellow Canadian, Jocelyn, who works for the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) (as you do) had thrown a silent auction to raise funds for her and a friend to do the Mumbai Xpress Route of the Indian Autorickshaw Challenge (as you do). I had contributed some singing lessons and two tickets to Sweet Solitude for the auction. The funds they raised will go toward school supplies and additional needs for a pre-selected village in India. Very cool. Crazy, but cool. Anyway, there was Jocelyn attending the reception with some work colleagues, and being the only person Adam and I knew, we latched onto her for a few minutes.
Afterwards, we wandered out into the grounds. Manicured grass, towering trees, a patch of flowers made to look like the Canadian flag. All really lovely.
I asked Adam- not for the first time- why HE wasn’t an Ambassador. He asked me the same. We elbowed each other. Actually, I have to admit I was pretty intimidated to be there- even amongst the many fellow-Canadians. Many of the guests were in full military regalia. Or clumped into tight impenetrable conversation cliques. Adam and I circled outside the groups, drinks in hand, trying to daintily eat the over-large hors d’oeuvres without looking like we had no brought-upsy (translation: West-Indian term meaning ‘one with no manners’). We passed the time philosophizing: Do you bite through and have asparagus slap you on the chin, or do you pop the whole thing in your mouth and choke on a ball of chorizo? Questions that have plagued humanity since the beginning of thyme. *hyuck*. Eventually I got tired of being a wallflower (MOI?!) and decided to play a game with Adam. We each had to introduce ourselves to two people. Off I went across the lawn, bearing down on a twitchy Dutch couple who looked just as scared as Adam and I. An easy target. He worked for the immigration office. She nodded and smiled.
I then dragged Adam over to a Mounty in Red Serge. We introduced ourselves to him and his wife. He was there as a police representative for the Embassy. Just as we cornered him, he was about to receive an award for long-service in the Mounties. Good timing!:
As for Adam, all he managed to do was introduce us to the first violinist for the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Big deal. Who in turn introduced us to The Canadian Embassy Cultural and Political Advocacy Officer (i.e., the guy who can really help OperaDans in the future). Um… yeah, big deal… Oh and Adam also happened to introduce us to THE AMBASSADOR as he passed by. Big… um… Ok, ok, Adam clearly won that game.
Adam took a few pictures with his iPhone. The first is the flower flag, seen above. Another one of myself can be seen here. Oh, and below is another picture of the Mounty standing with Princess Margriet:
Yes, we hobnobbed with royalty. Get us!
As we left the party I was given two roses- a white and a red. They’re hanging to dry now. Adam got a snazzy Canada pin. If only he had worn jeans then maybe we could have taken a car home. Next time.
Happy 2 year Anniversary to us today! xo