Occasionally I go to “rubber chicken dinners,” as they’re called in Washington. (Rarely is rubber chicken actually served, the food is often quite good.) They are awards shows or chamber of commerce anniversary events or whatever, where you’re seated at tables of eight or ten, like at a wedding, and much like weddings, they’re often at expensive hotels. I went to one last night where I was seated next to the New Zealand ambassador to Korea, and on the other side of her, the Netherlands ambassador to Korea. The Dutch guy was fun; we ninjaed out together before the program was over, saying “We have small children,” as an excuse. “Sure you have,” he said with a grin.
The New Zealand ambassador and I discovered we share the same Korean teacher, who is a saint, we both conceded. But it turns out the ambassador was previously posted in Xian, Shanghai, Beijing and Taipei, so her spoken Mandarin is quite excellent. She even whipped out some Shanghainese, a dialect hard to find outside Shanghai. (Though my dad and sister pride themselves on keeping up their Shanghainese with one another.)
Awarding of arbitrary points for things that happened today:
+ 15 Got into Uber and the driver asks me if I’m headed to watch the game. I say yes. He offers to sell me his last remaining Team Netherlands jersey from his trunk. It’s Van Persie and it’s $40. The kismet drove me to make the purchase.
– 100 After 120 minutes of soccer without a score, the match ends in a penalty kick shootout, in which the Dutch lose after our first kicker gets his shot blocked. Gonna take a while to recover. Still no world championship trophy for the Dutch team, a longtime European football stalwart.
+ 10 Having my old friend and Denver Post sports columnist Ben Hochman to watch the game with me.
Had I not lost Ryan Gosling, the chance to go through sandwich taxonomy on national air and get myself a Netherlands jersey in the nick of time would have ended this day on the positive side of the ledger.
Oh hey! We’re back from the trip to Amsterdam to visit Mom. While there we spent one action-packed day checking out the wedding venues. I scraped together random bits of free time to put together a chronicle of our day with Tim Laan party planner, the Dutch professional who’s taking care of nuptial preparation and making sure no one gets arrested during wedding weekend.