News - September 14, 2011

BBQ at Mr. Rector's home

The first time I met with Rector Magnificus Martin Kropff was last year in the AID's opening ceremony. Without doubt, as a Chinese I didn't forget to take a photo with him and the Mayor of Wageningen because it seemed the first but also the last time to get close to such VIPs in this small town. Thanks to my current work, I came face-to-face with our dear Mr. Rector rather than merely taking a snapshot. Last Friday evening I joined a happy BBQ night at Mr. Rector's home.

The picture taken in the AID tent last year
In China I never dreamed to visit a rector's home, let alone having dinner. Martin and his wife Ninke handled everything themselves without any servants. The ambiance they presented made me feel at home or at a casual dinner with friends.
People started some small talk separately after the barbeque so that I could talk to Mr. Rector one-on-one. The most urgent question I should have asked was 'do you wear a suit 24 hours a day?' Unfortunately maybe because I drank too much beer, I left that question behind. Our talk, instead, began with something you can get more from Google: his rocket-like career trajectory. Later on he shared something more personal like how to balance work and life or some daily trivials such as the time being in the car: 'Every year about five or six hundred hours of my time are spent in the car,' the figure that he declared surprised me a bit. Furthermore he even claimed that he could deal with some documents in the car. I thought Mr. Rector was hired just to be a spokesman for the university, however from then on I came to realize his job was not a gravy train everyone could get on: piles of files, speeches, meetings and so on which you couldn't find about him from Google. I easily perceived the enthusiasm and energy from his words and the always-smiling face, which not many people could have; he appeared really love his job.
It was a great BBQ night, I appreciate Mr. Rector not only for the yummy food, but also for a useful tip we learned from him, that is, to keep smiling toward the world I face.