A peek into my life for my friends all over the world!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

My friends: You can't find them on my "speed dial"

I decided that I will write this post on my friends here in Amsterdam. Several of you have sent me some mails in the past months asking about the people that are characters in my weekly blogs ;-)

So I decided that I'd do a little summary of them, after all me being so far from home, it's in them who I rely for everything: we have fun, we have some interesting chats, we give each other advice, they are the ones that are there for the good and the bad times! They are a little like my family in Amsterdam.

And if you want to understand the title of this blog...you should keep reading until the end :)

Let me introduce you to my friends, in no particular order ;-)


Also known as Joostje (pronounced something like "youstye")- adding the "je" at the end of words in Dutch is an endearment, and it means "small"- something like the "ito" or "ita" in Spanish! As you can imagine he was not very happy when I started calling him that way...but then he realised that it was indeed an endearment and I guess he's fine with it as he doesn't say anything anymore

I met Joost through Arnaud (a Dutch friend that now lives in Peru and one of my very best friends-we met through AIESEC). Joost is a really sweet guy, he works in "Rabobank" in Utrecht and lives about a 16 mins bike ride from me ;-) He's one of my best friends here. He's the kind of friend that I speak on the phone weekly even if we don't see each other just to catch up. He loves all kinds of good music, he knows how to party and in general we have several common interests. He's the owner of "Saxy" the boat that you've seen in previous posts cruising through the Amsterdam canals.

He's also the person that I turned to last year when I almost had pneumonia and I had to go to the hospital. I will NEVER forget that!!! It's hard being ill while being far from home. Since earlier this year he's in love with a sweet Polish girl, Aleks, who is turning into a close friend of mine and I'm SO happy for both of them.


Brazilian girl who I met about 2 and half years ago through Yamil (a Peruvian guy that I actually met in Amsterdam). We've known each other for so long but it's only been about a year since we became closer. It started for a mutual love: the BEACH!

However that's how it started and in the past months we realised that we have much more in common. Like the fact that even though we are both South American we are always on time and we do plan things ;-) We both also share a big love to classical ballet and we've been several times to see some really nice ballet shows in the Opera in Amsterdam.

In general a nice girlfriend to spend my time with, share some girlie chats, some coffees, dinner, and discuss about shoes, work, the weather or men ;-)


Also known as "Petter-cito" is my favorite Swede guy (Linda you are my favorite Swede girl!).

Petter-cito and me met at Canon. He's one of the lawyers there and we started talking more when back in 2003 we decided to organise some post-work drinks with a whole bunch of people. Afterwards we used to go out with the whole "Canon gang" to party wildly!

We became closer friends the past 2 years. He's a really nice and sweet person who is also there always ready to listen to me and also ready for some interesting gossip (who says only women like to gossip).

Petter and me share some "ciggy-breaks" at work...he smokes I just enjoy the company and some fresh air. Another thing quite common among us are our "quiet evenings". Every time we've wanted one of those we've ended up in some obscure bar in the touristy part of Amsterdam at some unGodly hour ;-) in a very high inebriated state :-s AND it wouldn't be strange if he would have lost either his mobile phone or his coat (don't ask how many phones and coats he lost last year only)!

Believe it or not my beloved friend Petter is now a married man and I was so happy to join him and his lovely Norwegian wife (Stina) on their wedding last year. They are a great couple! And Petter is a great friend!


I met Carmen back in 2003 during her assessment centre to join the Canon Graduate Programme. I used to work in HR and I did the interview with the personality test. Since I met her I really liked her and she was my favourite among the candidates. In the end she entered Canon and ended up working as a trainee in my department.

Even though her assignement in my department only lasted 8 months we continued our friendship even when she went for a period to Brussels. She eventually came back to Amsterdam driven by love ;-) and a new job at Ricoh.
This Spanish girl and me shared some Dutch classes together and now of course she is almost fluent and I'm not :-s ...she has a Dutch boyfriend, that's a good icentive! We meet each other every other week for some girlie chats and some coffee or dinner.

Plus she's been my hairdresser for over a year. Every couple of months we have a "Chez Carmen" session actually at MY house ;-) where she dyes my hair, we have a nice meal and a good gossip.


Laurent and me met back in 2001 during an induction day at Canon for newcomers. I was in charge for the organisation of that event and I also delivered the Cultural Awareness training. Lets say that Laurent was the most active delegate ;-)

After that day he organised some drinks with the people that joined the event and I joined them. After a month I left for 9 months to London but we kept contact and when I came back to Amsterdam we renewed our friendship.
Laurent is one of the most intuitive males I've ever met. He has a deep sensitivity and he's a great listener. I guess one of the reasons why we used to have really long and interesting chats over dinner. Then eventually by mid 2004 when Gennaro, my previous flatmate, left I asked Laurent if he wanted to live with me.

We've been flatmates since then and we've managed to get to know each other quite well. He's a really nice and caring person, a great photographer and a great friend. I also think that living with him has been a great training for whenever I'll move with a boyfriend ;-)...what is it with men not picking up the towel in the bathroom? ;-)

Geert Jan

Also known as "Geertje" ;-) Geertje was also introduced to me by Arnaud and he used to live with him and Joost for 2 years in the Saxenburgerstraat REALLY close to me.

Back then the "Saxenburgercasa" as they used to call it was my second home...so much that I kept a spare pair of slippers that I would wear whenever I was there. I used to have dinner there at least once a week...these guys used to have a REALLY nice kitchen so I used to LOVE to go and cook there. They of course loved that!

Geertje is a really nice and fun guy. He's the person who will eventually teach Dutch to me...I know it ;0) I like it when he SMSes and e-mails me in Dutch...even if I answer in English. He will also take me to one of those REALLY house parties of which he's really fond of ;-) Unfortunately he's been living "REALLY far" lately- about a 35 mins cycle ;-) reason why I still haven't been in his "not so new home anymore"still we do see each other, we've had plenty of fun and some really nice times together.


Known as Stephie. Stephie is an Italian girl I only met about a year ago. However since the beginning there was a "click" and we bacame rather good friends. This was obviously highlighted by the fact that the Football World Cup took place last summer and both of us watched all the matches where Italy played together until that wonderful final :)

Stephie, a real entrepreneur, knows SOOOO many people and is a really lively girl. I love her spontaneity and the fact that we can make last minute plans for drinks, dinner, a nice chat or a movie...after all she goes to the cinema about 3 times a week ;-)
I think I'm going to leave the list there...and on another ocassion I'll introduce you to some other friends.

Now you must be wondering, why the title of this post. I decided I would talk about my closest friends and this means that I write about the ones that live here, however there's been so many friends that used to live here but have left. Persons that I've bonded with really fast. After all being away from home means that the experiencies you through with these people are rather deep. I remembered Gennaro, Sara, Emma, Linda, Bea, Martin, Arnaud, Bastiaan...these guys used to be in the "speed dial" of my mobile phone. Even though I'm not supposed to be supersticious I somehow thought it was a little of a "curse" having my friends on my speed dial and they ended up leaving...that's why I don't put my friends there anymore ;-)

Thank you guys for always beeing there for me!


Anonymous said...

ayyy me dio pena lo del speed dial corazon! jeje. I loved your blog this week! I can't wait to go meet the ones I haven't met yet, although I guess it's only Stephy that I haven't personally met... but the only one I email (because of work) ;) you should dedicate a post to YOUR SISTERS next week, how about that?? hehe. UN BESITO. te quiero FULL! ciao! ANTO

Anonymous said...

menti FULL, tampoco conozco a Aissa.

Unknown said...

Ciao Cate
wow, you're amazing! Where do u find the time 2 dedicate 2 yr blog? I really like reading it, btw. Thanks for having me on it, I’m flattered. I’m honoured & happy 2 be friend 2 such a nice, open & sunny person like yourself! I can't wait 2 be in Valencia on the beach :-)

Unknown said...

Cate....don't forget that Joost is well know as The Shark....
un bacio forte e spero di vederti presto.