Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Day Two - Good Friends and Foul Ups

I really wanted to use THE SWEAR WORD for the title but I was afraid of an email from my mom warning me to keep my blog family we'll call it "foul up" for now...but that isn't where day two started so let's 2012....

Towards the end of summer of 2012, I received a amazing private message on the Face Paint Forum from Lizzie (Lisette Huinck), the artist behind the wonderful Wuppies below and owner of Kwant Face Painting in the Tegelen. She had won a contest on the forum and was gifting me her $25.00 certificate. She said that the shipping goods to the Netherlands was expensive and she'd rather give it to me so that I could paint, create and share as I had been doing. It was such a touching and kind letter, so typical of Lizzie who is always so positive and upbeat on the forum (I wish I had saved the letter, it evaporated off the server sadly.) But I wasn't prepared for what she shared next. She'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was so saddened by the news. She didn't want me to tell anyone yet but I was so touched by her kind note and that she would share the news with me.

All of us on the forum rooted and cried for Lizzie as she went through the treatment for her cancer. Chemo treatment after chemo treatment was tough on her, as it would be on anyone..but all through it she kept her sense of humor and her trademark positive attitude...and kept making Wuppies for all of us to love. It was the only painting she could do at the time through the treatments.

Just a small portion of  Lizzie's Wonderful Wuppies 
Fast forward to 2014 when I found out that I was going to Holland; I was so excited that I might be close enough to Lisette that she could come to EFABE, or at least the jam, because she was ONLY two hours away (that's a long way in the Netherlands though!)  Unfortunately, she discovered that it was the same weekend she was registered for a breast cancer survivor 25 km walk and she couldn't miss that (I just LOVE that she's a survivor!)

We finally found a day that we would both be available, Friday. She asked her husband, Roger, if he would drive down with her and they would come and see me. I was very excited to finally meet my online friend for the first time. She told me she was going to spoil me with Dutch treats...boy did she!

She called up to my room and I recognized her voice right away. I rushed down and saw she and Roger in the lobby. She was so tall! She had these fabulous boots on so she seemed to tower over me and she was gorgeous with beautiful blue eyes and chic short hair. I just grabbed her and we had a nice big cuddly hug. What a joy to meet someone for the first time that you know so well! This is what I love about the forum and Facebook and our lovely face painting community. We found a table in the cafe behind the front desk.

Lisette wasn't kidding about spoiling me! She had made an entire gift bag full of wrapped gifts! Each one with a note attached that explained the meaning behind each gift. There were microfiber cloths because I'd made a removal video that recommended them, there was two bags of wuppie eyes, dutch cookies and treats, bling bling and more bling. It was like Christmas Day! I gave Lisette my crazy Wuppie hat, the one that wore to the airport. She's the reason I had it in Holland. I hope that she'll wear it when she teaches her Wuppie workshops!

Lisette and Roger were about to leave and I protested. I almost begged them (well, I think I did beg a bit) to take me with them to the beach. I was planning on spending some time with them but they weren't sure I could go with them. Oh, I'm so glad they gave in and took me...what a beautiful afternoon it was!

We found a nice parking space near the beach and we immediately saw a mermaid. What a fitting thing for a couple of face painters. We found our way down to the beach and just walked and talked for what seemed like a mile. I commend them for being able to communicate so well with me in English. My family all knows how much I love the beach. I loved crunching the bitty shells littering the beach, hearing about the sand shifting ships, feeling the breeze and soaking up the sun. What a treat!

We found a restaurant with open air dining and found a table in the sun. I got this amazing salad with a cup of warm, fresh goat cheese in the middle. It was different but very yummy. I insisted that I needed to buy the meal (and I think you will agree with me!) because they had driven TWO HOURS, brought me presents, taken me to the beach AND...let's not forget the $25.00 gift certificate...but they would not hear of it. What a perfect afternoon that they had given me.

There was one last thing that I HAD to impose on Lisette. I wanted her to paint me a wuppie. She and Roger came up to my room when we got back to the hotel and she she painted this sweet EFABE wuppie on my cheek. How cool is that! I was so sorry to see them go. It was getting late and they needed to get back to their family and hopefully avoid traffic! I do hope they get that REAL trip to the beach this summer.

After waking up all perky at 6:00 am and exercising and then walking the beach, I needed a nap. I set my phone alarm for 4:30 pm and now...THE FOUL UP portion of our story.

Notice that I DID set my alarm for the proper time. I figured 4:30 was just enough for a good nap and plenty of time to get ready for dinner. I lay down and was soon asleep. The alarm went off and I walked over to the desk and got the agenda that Chris had so thoughtfully provided for us (AND verbally told us the day before when dinner was) and read that dinner was at 18:00 hours....I don't know if I was in a sleepy stupor (I'll blame it on jet lag...yeah, that's it...jet lag) or what but I read 8 O'CLOCK!!!! I mean, people, I SET MY ALARM!!! And guess who worked for police dispatch for almost 4 years total? I pushed the little arrow making the "4" a "7" and lay down and.....

RING! RING! It was Chris on the phone wondering where I was! Dinner was nearly over and the other instructors were waiting for pictures! Well, I was saying THE SWEAR WORD over and over as I got dressed and rushed downstairs. Poor Chris. She kept her composure as I came to the desk for my shirt (I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!) and got me my ticket for dinner...I don't know HOW she kept from beaning me with the closest stapler! I went over and apologized to the poor bored instructors (MY FAVORITE INSTRUCTORS ON PLANET EARTH)

From Mirjam Boxem
I've got to hand it to them for teasing me because if they hadn't and had given me the silent treatment, I think I would have turned into a puddle of goo on the floor. They were kind enough to let the photographer take a couple of shots with us all together and I'm not sure if there will be an official photo with me in it but THIS will be MY official EFABE photo because it's the true picture of what was happening in the moment. Pashur teasing me, Sean being all nice with the thumbs up, Christina and Mark showing the universal sign of peace (LOL!), Shonna talking, Wiser being cool and Lea checking out all the fun. THIS is the image of my horrible embarrassment and also the beginning of new friendships with these crazy wonderful people.

I have to thank both Christina Davison and Richard Nijboer. They each came to me that evening; Christina while I was eating the few cold leftovers I was able to snatch from the buffet and giving me her drink token so I could have a little sparkling drink and making me feel not so alone and to Richard giving me a pep talk about getting over the foul up and having fun that night. Just as he finished, Nancy Veefkind, another FPF friend, came over and introduced herself and and we chatted and I felt more at home as we all gathered for the evening meet and greet.

We went into a large double room where a very enthusiastic and exciting emcee said some very enthusiastic and exciting things....none of which I understood as they were all in Dutch! We were all introduced one-by-one and then they had some giveaways and then Pashur started the painting games. He would give us all a challenge to paint and then a winner from the group was chosen and would come to the front to pick the over-all winner. It was very fun. There was a "draw Richard riding a goat" challenge. My team thought they had missed something in the translation..."No, that's what he said...RIDING a goat." There was octopus in a cage in honor of Alex Hansen's fabulous body painting, Wiser graffiti challenge, earrings and the last was a tag-team challenge where each painter got a few minutes on the face and had to pass off to the next painter to continue the design. We ended up with three sugar skulls, including my team! It had been a day of ups and a very big downer so I'm glad it ended on such a fun note so I could get some sleep and get ready for my first big day of teaching!


Brenda Rosendahl said...

What a wonderful story, your write it as if we were there all the the time.
But I only was there that evening and what a fun evening it was.
Love the internet for making the world smaller, great to read that you did had the change to meet your wuppie friend ;)
That's realy wonderful.
Thanks for sharing

X Brenda

Denise said...

Yes Brenda, I was so glad I got a chance to meet Lisette. She's wonderful. Maybe you'll meet her at the Jamtacular in the fall?? I think that's what it's called. :)

Anonymous said...

There was only one thing wrong with your story: I wasn't there with you to meet and hug Lizzie!!!

Rhonda Revette
aka Miss Ronnie