Long time

Dear friends,

It’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me. I’ve been so busy (and feeling good) that I haven’t been in touch. April was a full month, filled with joy for me but also some sorrow (the bombing in Boston made me sad) about what’s been happening in the world. My dear friend Laurie was actually close to the finish line with her friend Judy when the bombings happened.

I’ve been feeling well the last few weeks. The cancer is decreasing and stable, and I am now on new medication. I had several job-related interviews in April. One involved going to a Hippo partner day and I saw two ex-colleagues from Capgemini, which was unexpected and fun, and of course the Hippo crew.

I’ve got a job – can you believe it! – working in The Hague for a government agency on a part-time basis, thanks to Mark from Peopleware, who set up the meeting. I’m working 2-3 days a week which is great. UWV has been very cooperative. Also thanks to Arie for his help with my letters!

April just flew by. My dad came to visit me on his way home from Houston to Malaysia. It was wonderful to see him. He’s doing well and has a brand new research center with state of the art equipment.

We met also met Larry and Marilyn from LA who celebrated their wedding anniversary in Holland, and stayed in Nancy’s appartment. I met them the afternoon of the Hippo partner day and my mom took them to our house for a brief afternoon tea. It was a rainy afternoon but we went to Laren and had some poffertjes (a dutch treat consisting of tiny pancakes with powderd sugar and butter! They are wonderful people and I really enjoyed meeting them. I also reconnected with my Zonta club and volunteered at the Fair Work festival with Evelien. Fair work helps young people who have become a victim of unfair employment, bordering on slavery. The festival opened with a dance – a merengue – and workshops. We were asked to help with the styling workshop which was a great success. The young ladies were busy with creating their personal mood boards – something I learned from the styling workshop for Tanaquil’s bachelorette party, with Jorinde, a stylist in The Hague. After the moodboards they could select clothing from the tables – very old fashioned items but they liked them nonetheless. That really opened my eyes – how little is needed to help these young women who have so little and often have a negative self-image.
My friend Esther treated me to a wonderful lunch in the Bakker’s Winkel in Zoetermeer. It was the same place my mom used to take us for a treat back when we lived there (1980-1981) and back then it was called Twenties. The interior was much the same, small marble tables (used for sewing machines) and a very old furnace in the kitchen. They added a glass house with grapevines, very light and airy. I really enjoyed it!

For our wedding day we met up with our friends Ronald and Mariette, and had a great Indian dinner at the Taj Mahal in Bussum. I discovered that I can’t handle spicy foods anymore, a side effect from the chemo I’m sure. The next day I attended an investing workshop by Marcus de Maria at the Krasnapolsky hotel; he is a great public speaker, but I found the selling of the training a bit too much. I learned a lot, but skipped the next session and had dinner with Nancy instead at Mappa, a nice Italian place John had introduced me to (for a Penn/Wharton dinner in March). On April 27th, my sister in law invited Victor’s family over for a wonderful family dinner in honor of Thib, Victor’s dad’s 89th birthday. We saw Paul and Isabelle and their daughter Catherine from Munich, and Robin and Miriam and their son Luis from Mallorca, and Arnoud. Sylvia was very busy helping her mom and serving us; she is now in LA doing research and staying with a friend. Sebastiaan came from Groningen and Annet and Barbara joined us as well; they left for France the next day.

We had a great Penn event at the SkyLounge with a view over Amsterdam on April 29th. I made lots of little cupcakes for Nancy and Anne to sell at Nancy’s house. April 30th was the big event: Queen’s day (my Dutch friends know all about this but for my international friends this might be interesting). This year was sunny but cold so I watched most of the ceremony on tv – first the abdication and then the crowning of our new king and queen.

May was a bit more relaxed for me. My mom celebrated her birthday in Paris with my sister. Victor and I went to the Louwman museum with our friends Tanaquil and Pieter and their children. It was very impressive and the Alfa exhibit was excellent. We had a wonderful meal afterwards, and then watched the war commemoration ceremonies (may 4th). Nancy took Barbara, Henriette and me to Beyonce’s concert, a special thanks to her friend Alan who made this possible. It was absolutely spectacular. She is amazing, and a true professional who gives everything to her fans! When she sang Survivor I just had to sing along. Jelle and Anne were there as well, and thanks to them I was able to sit for a bit. We had the best location, stage right, right next to the stage: Barbara and Henriette even touched Beyonce’s hand! – but it was a bit tiring to stand all that time. It was a great show and wonderful experience.

Unfortunately this month we also lost a dear friend – Henk – who was in his 80’s but sadly very sick. We remember him as a positive enthousiastic gentleman, and think of his widow often. On the positive side, Henriette turned 20 last Friday. And we have a few more birthdays this week.

I feel very lucky and grateful that I’m alive and kicking, to have my energy back and to feel good. I’ve been catching up on things that I haven’t been able to do for a while. Also I set up a new business (a one-woman show, as a friend calls it!) which I named AsIsToBe. And I’m trying to help two friends with their ventures, and having a good time assisting. Victor is very busy with his studies, he’s started on his thesis, and is also working as an assessor for part of the time.

I’m sure I’m forgetting someone or something but I will update you again soon. Tomorrow I have to get my calcium levels checked at Tergooi because of the risk of osteoporosis. Friday is my next appointment at AVL. I noticed some minor side effects today – also felt a bit tired – but that could be because I cleaned my car, and the bathroom, and did the laundry. It sounds a bit strange but it’s nice to be able to live a normal life again, and I’m enjoying it! Thanks for hanging in there with me. I will try to report back soon!

6 Replies to “Long time”

  1. Good heavens, woman, I’m exhausted just from reading about all you’ve been doing!! HA! So glad to hear you’re feeling well. Makes me very, very happy!! Love you.

  2. Lieve Sheila, wat fijn om te lezen dat je je zo goed voelt maar misschien af en toe gewoon eens een dagje chill op de bank met een boek?

  3. Thanks for the newsy letter. I enjoy every word. It makes me really happy to know how much you’re enjoying yourself. Michael and Sophie join me in sending our love from southwestern France.

  4. Great to also read what happened for the past few months. I know you are blooming. I noticed it today also. Working and doing a bit more than an average person suits you 😉
    I think your a great coworker, thanks for being there.

  5. Hoi die Sheila,
    wat fijn om te lezen dat ‘t zo goed met je gaat en zo veel energie hebt!
    Jij hebt echt niet stil gezeten de laatste tijd.
    Ik wens je veel succes met het opzetten en runnen van je “een-vrouws-bedrijf” (zoals mijn schoonzusje haar zzp-onderneming noemt).

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