Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Royal Netherlands Embassy Cordially Invites You

Several years ago I got a strange call at work, asking me if I was of Dutch heritage, by any chance. The Netherlands Embassy was hosting its first annual Congressional reception, and in order to build attendance, they were calling all the people in the Congressional directory with Dutch surnames and encouraging them to come.

I offered how my great grandparents on both sides of the family were born in Holland, and my father still swears in Dutch. The woman sounded very excited when I agreed to attend.

I was sure that on the night of the event, the hosts would take one look at me and ask me to leave. I met the Dutch ambassador, who exclaimed happily upon reading my nametag, "My! Where did you get such a Dutch name?"

"From my parents," I replied, unsure how else to answer the question.

"Of course you did," he said without missing a beat. Then he smiled broadly and looked a little sheepish. (And that's why he's an ambassador. Diplomats come back with things like "Of course you did" and still manage to look charming. If I had done something like that, I would have just stood there, mouth agape and puzzled, until the other person wandered off.)

It turned out to be a huge party, with lots of herring and Heineken and tulips. They shouldn't have worried about boosting attendance; the place was packed. Nobody cared one bit if any of the guests had a drop of Dutch in them.

But I walked around like I was special, because the Embassy had called to invite me.


stefanierj said...

I had no idea "Lumpyheadsmom" was Dutch. Huh. I'd have spelled it "Lumppiheddsmaam," but whatever.

Gidge said...

That is exceedingly cool.
I must say.