Saturday, February 14, 2009

Coffee, Tea and I Love You

When I was in the Netherlands, I was very lucky to be accepted as an intern in a multinational company, AMS, whereby all my colleagues consisted of many nationalities from all over Europe. Half of them were Dutch and the other half were British, Danish, Finnish, German, Swedish, Spanish, Serbian and Swiss. Six months with them flew fast. I enjoyed every bit of my time working with them.

It was really thrilling to work with them back then. They were all great people, very kind and helpful. They respected the fact that there are so many nationalities in the office. One of the company rules that reflected this value was the requirement to speak English whenever there were two different nationalities in one room. It was not advised to talk in mother tongue when there was someone who did not speak that language around. Otherwise, it was considered very rude.

Carita Viklund, Charles Kay, Christian Andersen, Tom Nchinda, Aldo Breed, Jacqueline Willert, Tine Wallis, Jan Willem de Beaufort and John Arends at Jan Willem's farewell dinner.

Anthony Lim, Antti Hakala, Magnus Bergendahl and Pablo Garcia.

One of the memorable things that I still remember being in an international work setting was the cultural sharing that we did almost everyday. The most favorite topics during lunch or break would be: "Tell me about your home country." "How is the weather there?" "What is the famous food over there?" and so on. Lastly, we all were so keen to learn each other's national language.

John Arends, Christian Andersen and a new Serbian colleague at the Panorama Room (For my farewell party).

Gemma Adelaar, Jacqueline Willert, a new Dutch colleague and Elles Roordink at the Panorama Room (For my farewell party).

Pablo, my Spanish ex-colleague used to write many daily vocabularies in Spanish on his whiteboard in his office room. Each time I dropped by his office, he would happily teach me how to say a little bit of Spanish, which I have already forgotten except Gracias, Hola and Buenos Dias. His cute nickname was: Super Toro. Pablo is now married to a Swedish lady with a baby girl. They have left Amsterdam and currently reside in Barcelona, his hometown.

Pablo, Elles, Gemma and Andre.

Pablo shared his office with a super kind and funny Korean-Dutch colleague, Andre Krijgsman. Andre was only few years older than me. He was from the same school as me and used to be an intern too before he was employed permanently. He spoke fluent English, Dutch and French. It's always amazing hearing him talking the beautiful French. Since he used to pick samples all the way to Lille, in northern France on some weekends, we gave him a nickname: Super Sample. Andre used to date a beautiful petite French girl. She a very pretty lady with porcelain skin, brunette hair and beautiful hazel eyes. I heard they are not together anymore.

Later on they gave me nickname too: Super Indo. I think it's because of my nationality.

I shared office with two Dutch managers, Constantijn and Elles. I was supposed to assist them, but back then I was often needed to assist other managers from other departments too. Constantijn, Pablo, Elles and Andre often got mad when I had to split my attention and help the other team. How sweet.

My work station.

Stack of cordial and wine samples.

Constantijn was the type of a very funny and bubbly guy. His jokes could make your stomach ache, especially when paired with Pablo and Andre. I didn't know why he had this hilarious nickname: Super Tulip. I teased him with that nickname a lot. Constantijn is happily married with two baby girls, Emily and Barbara. He loves cooking and has this pink cheeks each time he feels warm, angry or shy. In his old pictures, he looked like Prince William (when he was younger and thinner). Now he looks quite far from Prince William. Cons has moved from AMS and now works for one of the partners.


Elles was a super kind and warm-hearted lady. My first impression of her was her being a little bit macho and very athletic. She was a national field hockey player who practiced regularly every Thursday night after work. She used to ride bicycle from her house to the office in Schiphol. It took her about 45 mins to get to the office when she rode her bicycle. She said she rode fast. I never doubted her. She was dating a Dutch restaurante, Ricardo, when I was there. Elles and Ricardo now has a super cute baby girl named Jip, born last year.

Elles and Jip.

Constantijn was a coffee addict. He could drink 7 cups a day only in the office and Elles was a tea addict. Lucky us, coffee, tea and hot chocolate were free-flow from the machine in the guest room. Constantijn and Elles used to asked me to write some Bahasa Indonesia on the whiteboard in our office. We hardly used the board for meetings so it was often used as a platform to teach Bahasa Indonesia or Dutch instead.

The famous whiteboard.

We wrote:

Good morning.
Goeie Morgen.
Selamat pagi.

Good night.
Goeie Night.
Selamat Malam.

Do you want to drink coffee of tea?
Will je koffie or thee drinken?
Kamu mau kopi atau teh?

One cup of tea/coffee.
Een kop thee/koffie.
Satu cangkir tea/kopi.

What do you want to eat?
Wat wil je eten?
Kamu mau makan apa?

I love you.
Aku cinta kamu.

One day, chirpy Constantijn came into the office, turned his head to the white board, read something and loudly said to me "AKU CINTA KAMU". Lucky there was no one around. Elles was not there and I was working on something with my computer. I was so shocked and almost jumped out of my seat when I heard him saying that and replied him back, "Cons, I think that is a little bit too much."

He was surprised then asked me, "Oh, what does Aku Cinta Kamu mean?". I said, "It means I love you and I don't think you love me that way." He was blushing and said, "Haha.. OK. I have take it back then. Sorry". I replied back, "Cool. Don't worry!"

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