Tag Archives: writing

How facebook can change your life forever. True story!

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You know them, these programs where people reunite after not seen eachother for decades. Brothers and sisters meet for the first time after being seperated from birth and parents and children get to know eachother after adoption. These stories are always touching and rarely without tears. Two weeks ago I got dragged into a story like this, that changed two people’s life completely.

Four years ago I went on a holiday to Ireland. Even though me and my friend were there for only a week, I fell in love with an Irish guy and so I kept returning to Ireland many times over the years. Here I met Tom, one of the closest friends of my boyfriend’s dad. I’ve met Tom a couple of times when visiting him at his house. Tom leads a very solitary life in his tiny cottage without electicity or bathroom. He still lives in the 60s, having the occasional smoke and listening to Bob Dylan records over and over again. He’s an interesting fella, who’s stories are as well interesting and funny as sometimes completely insane. A very kind man who you never get bored of talking to. During one of these nights at Tom’s, he told me about a woman he used to be in a relationship with. She was Dutch, just like me. They were together for two years when she left him, her being six months pregnant. After the birth of their daughter she sent him a card, saying the babygirl is his and a little birthcard with the baby’s name and birthdate on it, as well with an address. Tom wrote to her many times, but never got any reply. After a year he gave up, but still thinking of his daughter every single day. At the time he told me this story, it had been twenty years ago. He asked me if I might be able to find her, since I also live in Holland and she must be around my age. I told him I’d try.

Back in Holland I immediately tried to google her name. No results. Then I tried facebook and to my pleasant suprise five profiles popped up with the right first- and surname. Unfortunately all the profiles were blocked so I couldn’t see if the birthdate would match. Also the pictures were too small to see if she would be around twenty years old. I decided to send four girls as Robin is also a guy’s name and one of the profiles had a picture of a dark-haired guy in front of a ‘snowhite and the seven dwarfs’ wall  a message saying;

Evalina                                                                                                          25 June 2012
I have a bit of a unusual question; I’m urgently looking for a girl with your name: Robin …. , born on 11 January 1991. I can’t find a birthdate on your profile so the question is: are you the one I’m looking for? If you are, would you please contact me? Regards,  Evalina

For weeks I waited for the right Robin to reply to my message, but I never got any replies. Six months later I went to visit Tom again and he asked if I found his daughter. I told him I tried but I couldn’t find her.

A year and a half after I had send the message and had completely forgotten about it I opened my facebook and the red sign told me I had received a message. I opened the inbox and my heart skipped a beat. In my inbox was a message from Robin. A bit shaky I opened the message and it said:

Robin                                                                                                                  25 June 2012
Hey Evalina, I just read your message because it gotten into the wrong inbox. My name is Robin …. What’s up?
Regards, Robin

For minutes I’ve been staring at the message. Is it really her? Did I find her? She said it’s her right? Or does she just mean that’s her name? She wasn’t specific about the birthdate though. I kept reading her massage over and over again and decided to call my boyfriend. All hyper I told him that I might have found Robin. Now what’s the next plan? Now that I’d probably found her I all of a sudden realised I had to act on it. But what to do now? How do you tell someone you don’t know that her biological father is looking for her? How would she react? Does she even know about his excistence? What if she doesn’t and she already has a dad who she thinks is her real dad? I decided to e-mail my boyfriend’s dad.

Heya! How’s everything? To my big suprise I received an e-mail today over facebook from.. Robin! I’ve found her! No doubt its her; her name and birthdate match. Ofcourse she asked me whats up. Now I’m in need of your advice on what to tell her, because she might not know about Tom or the fact that maybe her dad is not her biological dad. How to go about it?

Ofcourse he was thrilled with this news and decided to tell Tom about it immediately. A few days later I received a letter from Tom, thanking me so much for finding her and advising me to make sure it’s her first. He gave me her mother’s name and asked me to ask her first if that name would also match. Then, if she’s aware that there’s an Irish connection to her life.

This sounded like a good plan to me, so I send her back the following message:

Evalina                                                                                             25 June 2012
Hey Robin, 
Wow, I really didn’t expect to ever hear from you and find the right person. Just to make sure: you were born on 11 January 1991? Is your mother’s name Eva? So sorry, it all sounds a bit strange, I’ll tell you what this is all about when I’m absolutely sure I got the right person. Evalina

My reply must’ve creeped her out a little bit because she responded:

Robin                                                                                                     25 June 2012
Hey Evalina, 
I was indeed born on 11 January 1991 and my mother’s name is Eva.. To be honest I find it rather strange to be approached this way by someone I don’t know but clearly knows a lot about me. So an explanation would be nice.. Robin

At this point me and my mum, who I had told the whole story, were rather nerveous about the whole thing. This was it, there was no way back, it had come to the point where I had to tell her about her dad. What would she say? I took a deep breath and e-mailed her back.

Evalina                                                                                             25 June 2012
He Robin, 
I can very well understand this is creeping you out, I’m sorry. I would probably feel the same way if I were in your shoes. I’m honestly telling you, I don’t know you either and I’m certainly not a stalker. I’ll tell you what the story is:
My name is Evalina, I’m from Amsterdam and have an Irish boyfriend who lives on the east coast of Ireland. Through him I’ve met someone who’s looking for you. Do you have any idea who this could be?

I thought this would be the best approach. If she knew, she would know who it is. If she didn’t.. I’d tell her to ask her mum. What happened next might be too private, but I’ll broadly tell you what happened.

She knew about it. She immedialy knew who I was talking about. Obviously she was shocked. I can’t blame her. I was bloody nervous and it had nothing to do with me. After her not responding for a while I finally got a message saying she was beyond happy to hear this news, she’d been looking for him a few years ago, but couldn’t find anything on the internet. So she had given up. She had thought she’d never know who her father was. When she was younger she had found a letter between her mother’s old mail. The letter was for her. It had the lyrics of a song, which she’d listened to all her life when she felt bad, knowing somewhere in the world was her dad, caring for her.

Now two months later, they’re sending letters back and forth, and getting to know eachother after 21 years. As far as I know, they’re getting on fantastically, and they might meet in the future. Tom is beyond happy and has a new meaning to his life. He now has a daughter.

As a thank you I received a pile of different kinds of chocolate!

PS All the names, dates and other details are changed in this story to keep the people involved anonymous

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Who’s next?

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I’m on the metro, shall I stay on another stop or shall I get off here? In a split second I have to decide what to do. I stay on, more because it’s now too late to get off, the metro has moved on. It’s late. I don’t have a ticket, because the security guy told me I’m too cute to get a ticket. I really hope the other security guys agree.

At 9.00 PM I arrive at Keleti station, Budapest. My train to Slovakia leaves at 6.30 in the morning, so to sleep in another couple of minutes I’ve decided to get a ticket now. I’m lucky, it is quiet at the ticket center. Two desks are open and the two women behind the glass are helping the people in front of me. The only other people in the room are a guy reading a book on one of the benches, and me. I wait behind the girl in the white shirt, as it looks like she’s the one that’s nearly finished. Just as I think she’s finished, she has to ask the woman another question. Another ten minutes go by, while I wait patiently behind the girl in the white shirt. The door opens and I see a guy come in, I suppose he’s in his mid twenties, carrying a huge Israeli flag. As he comes in the girl in front of me is finished, and automatically I take a step forward. To my surprise the woman behind the glass doesn’t look at me, but at the weird looking guy with the big flag, who had just stepped in the door. He’s comes towards me, but ignores me and starts talking to the woman behind the glass. The confused  look on my face must’ve let her to tell me the following: ‘ticket, you need to get a ticket’. As she sees I have no clue what she’s talking about she points in a direction behind me.

In the corner of the room I see a machine, most likely where you can take a number. The guy has a number and I don’t. So he can go first, those are the rules. Even though there wasn’t anyone else in the room waiting, and she also saw he just came in, while I had been waiting for what felt like an hour. I tell her this, but neither she or the dude with the flag responds. Shaking my head I walk towards the ticket machine and take a number. I take number 589, well, who could be next with no one else waiting? I sit down on the bench, next to the guy with the book. Another ten minutes go by, and two more people come in. I’m not worried, because I have a ticket. I’m next. And so I thought.

A man comes in, with what looks like his son. They get a ticket and wait. They don’t have to wait too long, because to my big surprise the number appearing on the screen is not my number 589, but 590! They just skipped me. The guy next to me can’t stop laughing at my dismayed face. What just happened? Another screen on the side happened. Apparently there are three counters, I hadn’t seen the one around the corner. The woman behind the glass laughs at me, but starts to help the man and son who just came here. I really can’t believe my eyes, in Holland this would never happen, because in Holland there is such thing as thinking outside the box. I’m getting a bit frustrated, not only I want hit the weirdo who all started this in the head with his own flag, I also just want to cry because I’m so tired and still need to find my hostel in a now dark Budapest. But I can also laugh about this stupid situation a bit. And about the guy who’s now showing his flag to the woman behind the glass, making twirls and everything. The guy next to me stands up and walks towards the ticket machine. He comes back with in his hand five tickets. ‘Well’, he says, ‘if this doesn’t make you go next, I don’t know what will’. Within five minutes I’m standing outside, with my trainticket in my pocket.

Hellos and goodbyes at Budapest Airport

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I’m going home for a week. Home in my case means Holland. The only train towards the airport leaves at 6 in the morning, which leaves me stranded at the airport five hours before my flight. I decide to sit down at the arrivals section, where there are still a couple of chairs available to spend a few hours of my time on. Airports fascinate me, they always have. When I was younger I told my mum that I wanted to work as a singer, actress, farmer, teacher at the airport. I just loved how so many different people come together, travelling to different countries for various reasons. People leaving, people arriving, loved ones that wait for them or waving them goodbye.

Today I have plenty of time to observe people in the arrivals section. I can and have to sit there for hours just watching people filled with excitement waiting for their loved ones to come home safely. That moment when they walk through the sliding doors is priceless. Sometimes people see each other from the other side of the window and you can see the happiness and anticipation on their faces when their eyes meet. Other times the airport doesn’t have windows and the welcome crew doesn’t know when their travelers will come through the door. As I’m waiting I watch a family that’s sitting next to me. Two grandparents with three beautiful children. The oldest is a boy; I’m guessing he’s about nine. The other two I realize later, are twins, a boy and a girl, about three years old. The girl has curly hair, the kind that African women have. Beautiful. She’s wearing a pink dress with a princess sewed on the bottom and on her shoulder a purple bag. She’s obsessed with her granddad’s hair, maybe because his hair is quite different than hers, he has short gray hair, straight and with a bold spot at the crown. She keeps stroking his hair and he seems to enjoy it. Her twin brother is running around the place, ignoring his granny’s warnings. The oldest boy has discovered the water fountain and is filling up his bottle. At that moment the mother comes though the siding doors. I wait for the magic to happen, for the children to run towards her, giving her kisses and cuddles, telling her how much they missed her. Instead, something else happens. She put down her two 30kg suitcases, kisses her dad, not even looking at her two young ones. She sees the oldest boy with the bottle and starts shouting at him. I don’t speak their language but it’s clearly about the fact that he’s filling his bottle with the water from the fountain. She grabs her youngest son by the arm and starts walking towards her friend, clearly telling her parents and kids to hurry up. I’m amazed. I know you shouldn’t stare at people, but I can’t help myself. I look at them with big eyes and an open mouth. What just happened? The grandparents don’t seem to care too much for her attitude and slowly make their way out of the airport, while the little girl strokes her granddad’s hair.

At the other side of the room sits a group of people in their twenties, waiting for check in. They’re Dutch. I know this because Dutch people in large groups tend to make a lot of noise and walk around the room as if it’s theirs. They’re still a bit pale after a holiday in the sun and wear tank tops and slippers, also after the sun has gone. I can understand their conversations, even though they think no one can. They’re talking about the ground stewardess, who seems to be a bit naked with her miniskirt and cleavage. One of the girls’ name is Floor. Floor is a typical Dutch name and in Holland I wouldn’t even notice it. Here, I’m still in the English speaking mode and look up when I hear them calling her. Her parents must not have thought their little Floor would travel to English speaking countries.

In front of me two women. I’m guessing they’re about fifty-five. The tall one clearly tries to look younger than she is, but fails miserably. She wears heels with fake diamonds, a skirt that’s a bit too short and three layers of blouses in different shades of pink. She tried to let the pink come back in a flower/shell necklace and large earrings. Her hair has two colors red and has more wax in there than many hairdos have seen in a lifetime. She has purple eye shadow, covering not only eyelids but is extended to the eyebrows. Her lips are pink. Her nails are fake and have pink dots with diamonds. She doesn’t say much, tries to keep up appearances. The woman next to her is the opposite; she didn’t give much attention to her looks but is very chatty and when she laughs, whole Hungary can listen to it. When their friend finally arrives she’s the one overwhelming the friend with a long big hug and lots to talk about. The friend could use a bit of eye shadow.

Next to me sits a girl. She must be around my age. She’s clearly nervous because she’s biting her nails and keeps checking her make-up. She keeps her eyes on the sliding doors. When a young man steps through them, her eyes sparkle. She runs towards his and a long tender kiss follows. Beautiful.

In Holland we have a program called ‘Hello Goodbye’. The presenter and his camera crew search through the arrival halls looking for people to share their stories. I’m hooked on this program and every week I find myself whipping the tears of my cheeks at the end of it. Everyone seems to have an amazing story behind the reason why they’re at the airport at that very moment.

Grandparents, waiting for their children with their adopted baby, a group of friends with signs for the couple returning from their world travels, an African woman hugging her mother after not seeing her for twenty years, two deaf girls leaving home to volunteer in China, a man welcoming his thirty year younger import bride from Thailand, adopted children who meet their parents for the first time, a husband and wife reunited after months, a man with his six year old daughter welcoming their au-pair after the mum passing away the year before, a mother carrying her two-year-old twins after months of skype conversations, lots of hugs, kisses, handshakes, awkward reunions, tears of sadness and of happiness, smiles, laughter, hellos and goodbyes.

Airports are amazing places, filled with nothing but love.

 

Lots of love,smiles and happiness,

Evalina