AKA the lady…with the beard.
Okay… full disclosure, that is actually a feather necklace I made and gave her.
You thought I'd gone all TMZ on her didn't you?
Where do I start?
How about her name?
This woman arguably has the most difficult name in the whole of the Netherlands to pronounce.
Try it yourself…
with the Hr sound coming from the back of the throat and tiny roll on the R.
Try as I might apparently I made it sound too guttural and German when I pronounced it and Greetje would have just as well preferred that I call her "G" or "Great", which come to think of it suits her perfectly.
For a gal born and raised in Holland when she speaks English she speaks like a proper British subject.
No kidding. It was shocking to hear her speak. I kept expecting some Dutch accent and instead one of my old mates from the pub where I worked in London kept spilling out of her mouth. It was very surreal. She has a very strong British accent with a tiny lilt of Scottish thrown in. I kept thinking I'd missed my connection on the plane and wound up somewhere in northern England rather than Holland when I was with her. Also she uses all the British slang.
It messed with my mind.
This is me on my tippy tippy toes giving her a big bear hug when I first met her. I ran up the street screaming, waving and flailing my arms and legs like a deranged person and Greetje never turned and ran in the other direction.
She is good that way.
Also…as a side note… I don't know if it is because of those extra long legs of hers or what but Greetje walks fast.
Not, New Yorker fast, because I walk New Yorker fast.
I'm talking olympic-speed-walker-get-out-of-my-frickin'-way-people fast. Both her and Sylvia are like a couple of speed skaters walkers when they are together. I felt like a munchkin trying to keep up. I almost wanted to start skipping at one point. LOL Luckily the artsy lollygaggers, Anja and I kept the same pace.
Greetje takes her job as self assigned personal ambassador and tourist guide for The Netherlands very seriously. When I told her I needed to visit a coffee shop, buy a *special* brownie and go to the Red Light District because… duh…that's what people do while in Amsterdam she didn't didn't even blink. She just took me.
She gets things done.
Greetje has made it her personal mission in life to try to make the people she comes in contact with during her day laugh. Even if it is in an awkward space like an elevator. Nothing is off limits. If she makes at least one person laugh every single day she can sleep well at night.
When you're out with Greetje be prepared to spend some extra time talking to people on the street, in the stores…on the public transport, wherever you are, Greetje wants to be their friend.
She will even chat up the cute waiter, or the guy in a hallway. All is fair game.
Normally this would make me uncomfortable, but my Dad is exactly like this, (aside from chatting up men) so I was used to it.
I think all of the shopkeepers know her by name.
Greetje is polite.
No, that isn't correct.
Greetje is hyper polite. She goes out of her way to be extra extra polite, thoughtful and generous.
Perfect example…when we were at lunch and the restaurant was so busy that the waiter hadn't come after 10 minutes Greetje just took it upon herself to go up and order for us. I half expected her to start bussing tables.
Needless to say…she is a BIG tipper. Like ridiculous. As in, I should have pretended to be our waiter. Maybe she needs a personal assistant or handmaid…
Her politeness extends to sales associates as well.
If you're shopping with Greetje, please put the clothes back where you found them and do not disturb the shop displays. Personally I figure that is the sales clerk job. I don't leave my clothes in a heap on the floor of the fitting room, I'm not a slob, but I'm not going to walk around the store and put them back. I got schooled on that though. Rather than chasing me around constantly picking up after me towards the end of the shopping day Greetje finally just shrugged, sighed and exclaimed on our way out of the shops,
"Ah well, forgive her…she is Canadian."
Greetje is a bit of a walking contradiction, excessively polite with a big heart, fair, (as she is quick to point out) but quite tough with very firm fiercely defended opinions.
This photo depicts the Tao of Greetje : )
I have a feeling that if you work for her (she is a powerful career woman and a workaholic) she can be quite demanding as she expects others to be as skilled and dedicated as herself. I'm guessing it might be challenging to keep up with her and meet her expectations.
To balance that out though
and tells raunchy jokes.
I told you she has two sides.
You can talk to her. About anything. No subjects are taboo. If you ask her a direct question she will answer.
She is unpredictable.
She likes to sing
on the train.
Not in her head like normal people…
For entertainment value.
just for the fun of it.
She has a strong forceful personality but can be very vulnerable at times. Especially when it comes to her looks and fashion sense. In every other aspect of her life I think she is extremely confident, however when it comes to her personal looks and fashion she loses some of that confidence and second guesses herself. If you read her blog I'm sure you've also sensed that. She is very hard on herself.
This was clear when we were playing "dress-up" and chose fun clothes for each other to wear. Greetje had a hard time relaxing into it. As you can see by this photo that clearly states,
"I HATE these friggin' clothes!"
She was brave and stuck it out though. It's all just for a laugh anyhow, and as the self-proclamed joker, that is her daily task.
Overall I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to have met such a force of nature and call her friend.
If you feel like you want to get to know Greetje better stop by her blog and say hi.
Last up on my series…Ladies of the Netherlands…Sylvia, AKA "The Biggest Surprise of All."