Netherlands Trip – Part 1
As my cousin and I were departing the long, tiring plane ride, we scrambled to put on sweaters because it was as if we landed in a blizzard storm. There’s, obviously, a significant difference of temperatures in Houston and Holland. It seemed as if the flight would never end. It was an 11-hour long flight, and if you have a cousin who doesn’t quit bugging you, it makes the journey a living “H”, “E”, “double hockey stick.” After what seemed like forever, we landed at Schiphol Airport, the central airpot in Amsterdam.
It was my first time in a European country, and my first time to visit my lovely Dutch cousins. As we stepped out of the airplane, we went through the international security check, which, for us, went suprisingly smooth. We soon realized that we had no signal on our phones… duh! I knew that a SIM card from the United States wouldn’t function properly in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, my trying-to-be-smart brother told us it would be fine. That was the first encumbrance we hit. Luckily, after a few minutes of searching around for a phone, we saw three particularly familiar faces–my aunt and her two children.
At first, I didn’t recognize them, except Faisal bhai, who was a tall, curly-headed, young man. He came to the USA on a scholarship to UCLA (yes, he’s a genius :P). When the other two were following him, we assumed that they were family members we vaguely remember, Faiza bhaji and Goodie pupoh. Faiza was a short (in a good way), nice-looking girl. Her smile could have shined the whole airport. It was cuddly and warm, which gave us another reason to conclude that she had to be related to Faisal. Goodie Pupoh, our aunt from our father’s side, was just like her daugther; she was wearing traditional Pakistani clothes, a woman that everyone respected. To my surprise, she also wore a hijab, a head-covering for Muslim women. That dramatically increased my sense of respect for her. All of them quickly came over, and we hugged warmly. It was a great feeling, like getting something you’ve always wanted.
After several minutes of saying our hellos, we started to walk out the airport. On the way, Faisal questioned, “Would you like a traditional Dutch donut, Saad and Bilawal?” Although we were unsure of how Dutch donuts were like, we risked eating one. Dutch donuts were brown and round, like a small tennis ball, and they had white-powdery covering on it. It took only one bite: The donut engrossed me in a never-ending delicious fest; it was so good, that I thought about asking for another one. Unfortunately, I secretly refused, trying to watch the amount I ate, since eating too much would have ruined my six-pack routine.
Moreover, after we had finished the Dutch delights, we went into a small, white van, which later would fit in around 8 people easily (we’ll get to that part later). The sites were worth it: There were old-fashioned buildings; they weren’t like the humongous bulidings back in Houston. Instead, they had a sense of closeness and comfiness. Back in Houston, the houses are really, too, big. They seem empty and alone. That’s why the Netherlands gave off that ray of friendliness. We finally reached home; the airpot was about 30 minutes from where they lived. Although their house seemed little from the outside, the inside seemed as if they lived in a castle. The love that was being emitted was astounding. As soon as we came in, it felt as if we were home, another house only 5,000 miles away from our original house.
Then… Azeem came home, an unforgettable person…
To be continued…