(View of the stairs to the roof of the "Groothandels Gebouw" in Rotterdam - a temporary "sculpture" to celebrate 75 years of the renewing of Rotterdam)
Have you ever felt like you have known someone from somewhere else - even though you have only just met them??? I am not even talking about thinking you know them because they have told you about themselves in letters, emails, phonecalls, Social Media conversations, etc. I am talking about getting the feeling you have actually met that person before in real life - even when you know you have never seen them before in your life.
I had exactly that feeling one day last week - which had the rather strange effect of making me feel like I was in the classroom of my favourite teacher.
This was rather strange for two reasons - the first (and most logical) one being I was in totally the wrong country. The second reason was that I was most definitely not talking to any kind of teacher.
Before I totally confuse you - I think I had better explain a couple of things to you.
You could say that this month is a bit of a strange one for me. Twenty years ago this month my Oma died. As you can imagine - this has quite a few emotions connected with it. These were not exactly helped by me wishing my Mum could have come to Holland with me and my Dad (just so I could talk to her about it).
The funny thing is the staircase in the photo I put at the top of this blog post kind of has a part to play in the story as well. Actually - it was more a case of the husband of the first couple I recognised who had put a photo of themselves on it (more about the other one a bit later). Put it this way - my mind immediately rewound to when I went over to Holland for Oma's funeral and I had been absolutely convinced I was going to be escorted out of the country until I heard my Mum's "family name" being used. (Yes - that incident does appear elsewhere on this blog. I just don't remember if I had stated when it happened.)
Back to the point.
I had decided to try to cheer myself up a bit by "exploring a new bit of Rotterdam" - or at least that is what I told myself so I didn't scare myself enough to back out of what I actually intended to do (it was also a way of stopping myself from being too disappointed if my actual plan failed).
I had decided to see if I could find one of my favourite Twittercops. To be honest - I didn't exactly hold out much hope.
I got a very pleasant surprise - as well as the "Deja vu" experience I mentioned earlier.
In fact - that "Deja vu" experience was a little more interesting than me just feeling like I was in the classroom of my favourite teacher. In a strange way - it went back one stage further to when I was growing up with my Mum.
Being spoken to in a mixture of English and Dutch has to be the best way to de-stress me. It even works better than handing me a book to read. (Well, if you are used to hearing that combination of languages as you are growing up I am sure your brain will find it calming as you get older.)
Regular readers of my blog will know about my experiences at school and how Steve Bowkett was the only teacher who appeared to make things easy for me by allowing me to do the things I enjoy the most in his lessons (reading, writing, and daydreaming)
On paper Wilco Berenschot has got very little in common with Steve. Neither of them are English (Steve is Welsh), they are both humans of the Male species, both got curly hair, oh - and they both love speaking to people as part of their job.
So why on Earth did I end up feeling like I could have been sitting in a classroom in Lutterworth High School in 1985, looking at a teacher in a navy blue tank top, instead of in a "Pop-up Police Station" somewhere in Rotterdam, in 2016, talking to a Police Officer in uniform???
There is one thing Wilco and Steve have got in common - a friendly way of educating people and making them feel safe for as long as they are in their presence. Oh - and a way of making sure people leave their presence feeling happier than when they arrived.
Funnily enough - that is exactly how my Mum made people feel too.
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