It’s holiday in Manila, but I am in Stadscafe van Kinsbergen for my first business meeting here since I arrived in the Netherlands on Nov 4. I haven’t really been successful in my pursuits to organize business sessions where I can pitch my company and my country, the Philippines, to potential investors from this country. I get this feeling that the Dutch are less accommodating people than I’m used to, and what I’m used to are Filipinos readily accommodating any requests for a meeting as long as their schedule would allow it. I heard that a three-week notice of a meeting seems like the norm here. But I’m happy I got this one. On second thought,  it’s also probably because I was endorsed by the forces-that-be, in this case, Microsoft (Phils).

So the Dutch duo I was meeting arrived while I was writing this, so I had to stop naturally (that’s what those ellipses are for). They were friendly enough to meet me in the vicinity instead of in Amersfoort, a good 20-min train ride from Apeldoorn station which is just a 3-min walk from where I stay, at 1230 over lunch. But as fate would have it, there was a train disturbance and operations would resume at 1400 so they decided to go to me instead. I say that was a very nice gesture.

So we ended up at this stadscafe (city cafe).

Over two hours later, we shook hands goodbye, after a productive meeting (it was nice to know they were ‘fans’ of my country. One of them is married to a Filipina), with the promise to make a follow up meeting to be hosted hopefully by MS (NL) in Schiphol.

It wasn’t a Dutch treat, as I was advised to expect by my brother-in-law. They covered for the lunch, we parted, and then I went to the WC (or toilet. I don’t know why their toilet sign always says “WC”). I texted my brother-in-law who accompanied me around today for this meeting, saying I just finished with it. Then he called me asking what’s taking me so long in the toilet.

To my surprise, they had been “stalking” me halfway through the meeting. They sat in one of the tables and I didn’t even notice them enter the cafe even as they dragged in a baby stroller!

So, as you can imagine, I had to replay my conversation with the two Dutch businessmen in my head, trying to recall what my sister and her husband could have eavesdropped on. Did I speak in perfect, trying-hard-American-accent English? Did I say something that I just made up? Did I over-laugh (’cause I’m typically jovial, making jokes, regardless of who I’m faced with)? Did I make a fool of myself in any part whatsoever?

Oh well, forget it! I just joked I would file raps against them for wiretapping me in their heads.


*This is part of a 68-Day Travel Diary called Reflections of a Nearly Thirty. Read the full Reflections Series here.


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About hellopenville

Writing is my one true north. (The other is eating spaghetti. I make the best pastas in the whole world I swear!) I have been writing since age 10. I remember being in another school a lot because of Campus Journalism contests. I was a grade-school copyreader, headline-writer, and feature writer, who emerged to be a college editorial writer and eventually a TV news writer. However, I have always been an insecure artist. These constant condescending thoughts always stopped me from creating: “No one would read this.” “This has been written before and therefore no one would read this.” “This is not interesting enough and therefore no one would read this.” “This is not relevant, or factual, or trendy enough and therefore no one would read this.” But I learned to risk to write even if no one reads it, than not to have written anything at all. To resist writing is to resist truth itself, to betray that which comes freely to you when you do not allow it to be manifested through you. I didn’t think writing was serious work. But every time I thought about writing, it would make me nervous. It would rattle me and frighten me. I would shake the ground under me. Aren’t dreams like that too? Read more at


Holland, Travel Reflections Series (3 months in Europe)


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