Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finally, a day off...

After four days in Geneva, Switzerland, sight seeing, eating out, meeting with our European Director and, on one evening, sneaking across the border into France, fellow BVSer Solomon and I are finally here in Alkmaar. The town is like a fairytale land, and living in-town has made it easier to learn my way around. The Dutch are kind people, and I seem to fit in... as some start right-off speaking Dutch when I meet them, ha!

I finally have a day off after 9 days of much activity and discussion here at the office. Along with the high-spirited, daily work in the office the Gender Working Group and the Representative Consultative Committee, including IFOR's President, have both been meeting here in separate sessions over the last four days. I have been interacting often with both groups since they arrived and have made some more new friends.

The people on these committees and I are all from different countries: Italy, India, Wales, Columbia, Madagascar, Austria, Canada and, of course, the Netherlands. Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun getting to know each other and I'm especially enjoying the good feelings and laughter coming from the mix. Marion, RCC member from Austria, and I are planning a bike ride to the ocean tomorrow and Sashila, a Doctor of Medicine, invited me to visit her home in India. I was also able to get my first publication out on schedule while this all happened.

Naomi, the previous Communications Officer, showed me around town last Friday; we saw the world famous Cheese Market, hundreds of restaurants and shops and checked out some very nearby grocery stores. I also have a lot of publication deadlines and meetings coming up, but there's only a 37.5 hrs./wk for everyone.