Cafe Hitch-hike


So much more to the adventure

Since we've all sang our blues on these virtual pages, I suppose I can change my tune for just a tad bit wee little while.

Beck and my buddy Jimbob were my muses for helping me get the Copacabana looking more like mine. Their energy made me want to make it look more settled in. Their energy did it for me. I finally cleared the extra stuff out of my spare room and donated it to Habitat for Humanity's Re-store. It was love all around! I'm now shopping for a futon to put there and to gradually convert into spare room/ office. As for Beck, he'll be back from Europe today; I sure hope I hear from him.

Next shall come paint. I like the color, but painting it white will make the interior look more spacious. The custard yellow is actually quite nice, but white will make it look cleaner. Pictures taken in the unit look hazy because of the yellow cast.

Then, there's the trip. I'm so glad I've spent time in the last week or so getting some details down. I've been pinning points of interest on a virtual map and discovered some transportation apps. I have my accommodations set. Since this is busy season in Amsterdam, I didn't have many selections for hostels that didn't sound like I'd be sleeping in a discotheque, so for a few Euros more, I found a nice houseboat. Houseboat?!? Helllllll yeaaaaaaah!!!! I discovered it's a 10 minute walk from the Red Light District (hahahah) and a half hour from the museums. I'll be there for 2 nights, then for 3 nights is the retreat in the countryside, and then visit Jens Copperas for 2 days.

I finally mustered the courage to video chat with Jens and... What the fuck, he really does look the same as he did 27 years ago! I didn't even see any grays! He went camping last week, and his tan had the strong copper undertones that I remembered (maybe that was how his family got the name). Back then, he reminded me of Shaggy from Scooby Doo except with thick and wavy hair and he was clean-cut. This time, I saw some stubble, so he had the Shaggy look down! He has a quirky look to him besides (the kind I usually like, heh-heh), and he always seemed at ease with it. But, all things aside...

We both were amazed that 27 years later, we got in touch by social media. We were communicating by video chat and not pricey long distance. I couldn't believe I was talking to my friend again! Jens told me I looked the same and said I also sounded and moved the same. Moved? He always was very observant. He didn't say a whole lot, I remembered that he tended to be reserved until he warmed up and then got into the flow of things. But, I noticed he grinned during the entire conversation.

One of the few things Jens said was his year in America was a turning point for him. He remembered life being one way before he went to America, then there was his time there, and then everything was different. Jens actually didn't want to come to America back then. He admitted he dropped out of English classes after his 4th year because he was weak in that subject, but he needed to improve it for college. He wanted to study abroad in England, but all that was available was a stay in my river valley hometown (that coincidentally has a large Dutch settlement with a few who can speak it, which probably assured him). Jens never returned to America although his former host father Marc invited him multiple times. He said prefers to stay in the EU and within his comfort zone.

Turning point... It's so funny he said that because that thought was coming back to me in little bits these past 2 weeks. I tend to look at 1989-1991 with dread. They weren't happy times, but I had to look a little harder. I always said that my birth father's death was a game changer for me because it made me take my dreams and ideas so much more seriously, and to be willing to take changes. I also realized I got a whole lot more (yeah, mainly because I was able to work with it). I probably would not be in Florida if it weren't for that time and all that happened.

Jens was a game changer, too, along with the friends I had during that senior year in Central High. I had a boyfriend before him and we had the most passionate relationship that never went past 3rd base (hahahaha). The bf was 5 years older than me and we were in different stages of our lives (he was working and also going to college; he didn't have to, but he liked it); we were starting to drift apart.

I met Jens in in 2nd hour English class with Mr. Redbeardmorton. He sat a row over and before mine, and my classmate pointed him out to me. We were checking him out and I was leaning over my table to get a better look. He quickly turned around and I jumped back a bit to try not to look like I was looking. My classmate Arnina and I introduced ourselves, and I remember Jens' smile at me. We started chatting before class, it was easy to talk to him, and then he invited me to his house a couple blocks from school. We sat around, listening to music chatting, and sometimes took walks downtown or around our neighborhood. I stayed over for dinner a few times, and well-- I started feeling a little warm towards him and he started feeling the same way. We had a sweet talk about all of that after one of his soccer games.

I was invited to the homecoming dance and we had that nice evening, but he decided he wanted to be free. I gave him the 'take me back' speech once or twice, but I knocked it off and messed around with others instead. He had his clique and I had mine, but we'd hang out every so often. It was also through him that I got to know other exchange students who were with him through the same organization.

Something about our relationship lifted me in a way I hadn't been before. Maybe it was that accent and that he was from a land far, far away? Hahahah! It was easy to be with him and talk with him. My mother said it best in her probably-not neutral observation that we seemed comfortable with each other. A lady friend and I agreed that it was the one relationship a lot of people have when they're young and they see, this is how I want it to be. I don't want to call it a prototype because there's breath and life in all of that, but... ideal? I was 17 and he was 19, we were kids. It all affirmed to me that my partner also needed to be my friend, because that's what we were to each other. It was warm, funny, kind, and stimulating while comfortable.

Communication dropped off about a year and a half after we parted ways. He had a girlfriend and said he had to move on. I'd see his host father Mark around town every so often because he lived nearby. We moved on, and then some friends from Central High got in touch with me through social media. I wrote Jens 3 years ago when I remembered him, and my heart (that felt frightened and cool at the time) actually felt warmth again. He didn't write back because his messages got filtered, and finally did just over a month ago.

Well how cool is all of that? Like I said earlier, I've sang the blues so many times on these pages that it's a nice break to sing a happier song, one about taking a really cool trip that appears to hold considerable adventure. Ok, I'll toss in a 10% chance of the unexpected and hopefully it is something that won't cost me too much on a variety of levels (hahahah). Hell, I haven't even gone and it already has been an adventure!

I've been resting and staying home a lot since I've been back from DC, and that's ok. I'm just savoring this quiet and unrushed time to prepare, on many levels, for this trip.

It's not lost on me that this is another return (and I'm not just talking about seeing Jens). Once again, I'm getting that chance to revisit some big things in my life and other adventures and friendships past, and that it adds so much more to the adventure. It's not me heading to see or do stuff, there's more than that.

downwind | upstream