At 17.30 on Monday I received a call without number, 'Hey Derek, I'm W. We are still in the south of Amsterdam, I'm afraid it's too late to meet now,' W skyped me in a net café. 'OK, bon voyage,' I said. But she changed her decision 10 minutes later.
One after another bus had passed by the bus stop of Dijkgraaf, but I never saw two girls get off together. I gave up and packed the leftovers into fridge. I 'Maybe they are still in Amsterdam,' I talked to myself. But 15 minutes later, the miracle knocked at the door: finally they appeared! It was about 23.15.
'Derek, we're so happy to meet here but we have to leave and catch the last train back to Amsterdam,' they were still gasping. 'Have you had dinner?' I asked. 'No...' they said with one voice, 'we got on the train toward Eindehoven. That why we are so late.' What a ridiculous mistake... We even didn't have to probe how they got on the wrong train. After reheating the leftovers, I sent them to the busstop. Unfortunately, one No.88 bus passed by us, the one at 23.30. The next bus would be 0.00 while the last train was expected to leave Ede-Wagenigen at about 0.11. I called all the people who I knew had cars. They were all in their sweet dreams. Faced with the cul-de-sac, I suggested them taking a chance first: to see whether they could get on the last train. Afterward I went back home and waited for their news. The cellphone rang again. 'Derek, we've got it! We are on the train now! Thanks! See you in Denmark!' Finally I could let out a deep sigh and took a rest. As the saying goes, maybe people can't step twice into the same river, but no one said God can't grant you miracle twice.
To be frank I appreciated for their special luck; they taught an incredibly valuable lesson. Before ending the story, let me summarize the last three tips to a qualified host in Netherlands:
1. Have your own car
Why? Therefore next time even they mistook the train to Essen (a city in Germany), you can take your friends back to Schiphol as soon as possible.
2. A large network
If you can't afford a car, you might as well try this way instead. Imagine, if a man always can turn to the right person when he's in trouble, we need never find some words such as 'impossible', 'difficult' in his Oxford English Dictionary. If your human network is large enough, maybe you can borrow a jet, let alone a car.
3. Be a Dutch speaker
If you are not a social king nor have a rich dad, I'm afraid you have to be down to earth. Come on, here's Netherlands, not U.S. or England: even a little Dutch will make a big difference to your life here.
Still hard? Fortunately I have a last tip for you: no guest, no host! Wish you become a guest-free host.
Video of the week: Couchsurfing makes you become a welcome guest and a hospitable host at the same time