Last weekend we had friends over for dinner. We had very pleasant evening with them loving our porkbelly main, disliking the coffee ice-cream, because they don’t drink coffee (I forgot that detail) and SO trying to burn a nice colour onto the creme brulee, only to discover he’d forgotten to add the sugar. We also had another topic. The upcoming classy dinner organised by the current members of our debatingclub/fraternity. Happening this weekend. SO and I had decided to go and our friends had decided to come as well. It was a change to see these friends twice in such a short time, very enjoyable indeed.
So on Friday SO was going to pick me up from Leiden Central Station. Easy for me to reach from work and convenient for him workwise as well. We’d then go to Wageningen by car, change clothes at our hotel and walk to the dinner venue (250m). Of course this was then totally thrown into signal and switch error on the traintrack to Leiden. All of Friday was terrible with train traffic, but they said it would be over by 15.00, …………16.00 …….ish, maybe later. Anyway my train according to the app and the schedule was going, except that it wasn’t. The app caught on earliest and warned me that my train in fact was not going. Emergency call to SO. Diverted him to Den Haag Central as it looked as if that one was going to go. And I admit that it did…….Sorta. We ended up trundling to Den Haag at the insane speed of 10km/hour but we got there. We were only 25 minutes late.
The rest of the trip to Wageningen was uneventful, until we hit Wageningen itself. The satnav wanted to go somewhere really weird and I told SO to ignore it, which mean traffic jam. Then in town the satnav was not aware of the pylon system in front of the hotel so we had trouble getting to the Hotel parking space. But we got there. Hotel de Wereld is a hotel with an interesting history. I studied in Wageningen when the building was part of the university building so it was interesting to go there and see what has changed. Well the only thing that had not changed was the entrance way. Still a lot of old pictures on the history were there. Inside it is a modern wonderful hotel. We quickly got changed and walked to the students union where we were due to have dinner.
Being back in the city and the building that has such and influence on my life was wonderful. It is only when you get a little older that you realise how much those years at university change and form you. In some ways even more than my upbringing. It was my change to independence. It was lovely to see a bunch of more old friends and quite funny to see the years that spent most time together get together. Obviously the friendships run vertically through the debatingclub/fraternity, but with the eldest member present being inaugurated in 1956 and the youngest due for inauguration next month you can see that a fair few generations were present.
As it turns out the current debatingclub/fraternity is trying to revive some old traditions (always good) and one of them is a reunion dinner. We’ll probably have one every 2 years from now on as it was a great success. Not so much food wise, as the group was clearly a bit too large for inexperienced catering staff, but in ambiance and fun. SO who, due to us meeting later in life, had had very limited exposure to my debatingclub/fraternity, apart from meeting friends and at our wedding had a good time too being exposed to this weird and wonderful history of me. We had Sinterklaas stories, which were ever so funny. Birthdays on the 10th, 3 of them and a lot of singing of our debatingclub/fraternity song. Of course the bellowed out version that my generation knows and the more elegant version of yesteryear. The main difference is how it is sung. In the years before me there were some good singers. Later we had to sing loud to outdo the do-groups also wishing to be debatingclubs/fraternities.
It was well after 1 am before SO and I made our way to our hotel. The next day we walked through the city showing SO that part of my life and the very different atmosphere to his university town. When he found out that the union had a large garden he was surprised that it was maintained by the students, until I pointed out that it is an agricultural university Many (not me) students have green fingers.
Around midday we drove back home, did some shopping and now are feeling the consequences of a very late night. We’re just cruising and I doubt that it will be late when we arrive in our beds. And yes it was good to be back, introducing my SO to the student-me.