After eight years of not being able to travel anywhere outside my small country called Holland. A complete stranger that I met during my work in Amsterdam, offered me to come and visit him in the United States of America.
I was overwhelmed by this gesture of hospitality. At that same time I was happy to hear that there are still people in this bitter world that are like that. Some people in my surroundings where skeptical about this gesture. They thought that such a gesture could not be without that person gaining something out of it! In my sometimes naïve thinking, I was convinced that this was not the case and was happy to take a chance and go on an adventure like this.
My mom always wanted me to go out and see the world while I can. Because I might not get a second chance. She never had the opportunity to see the world when she was younger. She never had that chance.
Not having any spare money to afford a journey like this. I had to postpone the journey for two years.
The stranger in this story is in fact Carl H. (Huge) Deal III. During those two years we stayed in touch through e-mail, friends that came to Amsterdam and an additional visit by Carl to Amsterdam.
Then finally on the 18th of December 2000 I finally packed my bags and headed out to San Marcos Texas. Never to have flown in my entire life the adventure started right there in the Amsterdam airport “Schiphol”. Here it was that I left my crying girlfriend and mother to go on my (according to my mom) Well Earned Journey.
When boarding that plane for the first time I felt like a small child going out of his neighborhood for the first time. When the flight attendants explained the whole safety protocol, I felt like I was the only one paying attention. I probably was the only. Even looking on the provided books on safety protocols. After that the plane was ready to take off. I felt ready and happy about my trip. On the plane I was sitting next to an American family of which the father worked in Amsterdam for a year in a company exchange program. They where returning to the US, to spend time with their family during the holidays. Which reminded me of Carl who had been in a similar situation in his youth.
Because of all the beautiful sights outside the plane and the thrill of just flying prevented me from sleeping. Which I wanted to do because this would speedup the long trip ahead of me.
Finally arriving in Newark I had to change from International flights to National flights. And having to check in my luggage with US Customs this took quite a while. Once I found my luggage I went to the bathroom. From there I went to US Customs. They saw that I was coming from a different direction than the rest of the people of my flight. So they decided to check who I was and what my purpose in the US was. After mentioning the word police and having answered a couple of questions about police work I was allowed to continue. Without people checking any of my bags.
The next flight was soon to leave so I made my way to the next gate. This plane was much more comfortable. There was more leg space. Next to me sat a girl that was about my age. She just came from Spain where she learned how to dance Flamenco. Dancing was the thing she lived for! We talked about music and dancing. She lived in a town near the Mexican border.
Finally I arrived in Houston. This is where Carl and his friend Troy were waiting for me. They welcomed me in the US. There was not much time to talk because the next flight to Austin was waiting. They had three tickets. One of them was a first-class ticket, which they gave to me. After flying that long trip with just a couple of inches of leg space this was a welcome relief. They told me I could have free drinks. So I order a beer. This was the first time I was confronted with the age drinking limit of 21. The flight attendant asked for my ID-Card. It felt kind of strange having to show your ID just for a beer. But I was in a strange country and had to adept.
This flight was a very short flight to Austin. When we arrived Troy went to his house in Austin. Carl and I went to his (Huge) House in San Marcos. Since meeting Carl in the US everything seemed to be HUGE. I saw the house on videotape that Carl mailed me before. But in real life that house seemed twice as big. I was finally there. We sat down on the couch and drank some drinks with Taggerd, a roommate of Carl. After that we went to sleep.
The next day: