H is experiencing his first taste of longing to be with someone, and the pain of separation when he can't visit her on demand. He met a Dutch girl when we were in France, at a cafe in the middle of nowhere at 9pm. After being surrounded by French speakers for the better part of a week, he ran over to us breathless and delighted.
"She speaks English!" he gushed. (Sorry, I know I'm grammatically butchering the dialogue here, maybe I should have H come and write this for me.)
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Because she told me," he replied. Not realizing that he already knew she spoke English because he could understand her.
They went to a nearby canal and hunted for slugs by flashlight. (Hunted isn't really the right word, tried to avoid crushing them under foot might be a better description.) He returned with stories of leapord slugs (who knew?) and mercy killings of those unlucky enough to have been partially disembowled by the tread of a Nikey.
I must admit his new found friend had a slight influence on our decision to come to Holland, and definitely on our coming to Utrecht. After a painful week of waiting for her to return from France (painful for us too, as we had to continually count the days with him), we met up for a long awaited bike ride yesterday. We all had a lovely time visiting this museum and riding bikes up and down the canals.
Unfortunately for H, she leaves again tomorrow and we will most likely be gone when she gets back. He's already asking if we can come back again next year. Even though this is exactly what I wanted to accomplish with this trip, global connections and a chance for H to meet kids from around the world, I can hardly believe the synchronicity of it. H has realized it as well. He pointed out that if we had done things as planned that evening in France, we would have missed her completely. Now he has a sweet memory and a new friend in a different country. And we have another small reminder that sometimes things turn out better than planned.