Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Netherlands - First Stop - Almelo....

I had a great opportunity to head overseas at the beginning of the month to attend our European sales meeting at our Euro headquarters in Almelo which is about two hours outside of Amsterdam. My colleague Adrian and I were excited to be asked to represent the US at this meeting as it was going to be a great chance to get to know our European colleagues better, find out what's been working for them and also have the opportunity to play tourists - nice work perk! 

I left on New Year's Day on a flight that took off around 6:30 p.m. I'll admit I was pretty anxious about the travel as I was going to be gone for a whole week and it was the first time being overseas since the kiddos were born. A champagne toast before I left and some wine at the airport helped with those nerves - ha! It was also nice that the plane was practically empty which meant I had my row to myself - bonus points! 

After a smooth 7.5 hour flight I arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed (ok, maybe not but I did find myself with a second wind once I was able to stretch my legs, brush my teeth and refresh my make-up) and after clearing customs and grabbing my bag I only had to wait about five minutes before Adrian had arrived. We then headed for the train station so we could start making our way to Almelo. Unfortunately there was a slight issue with the trains that morning which lead to us hopping in a cab (a Tesla no less) and heading to the main train station in Amsterdam where we were then able to get on a train. Two train rides later we finally arrived safely in Almelo where one of our colleagues scooped us up from the train station and dropped us at the hotel. It was a beautiful hotel that was still decked out for Christmas and while seeing the bed upon entering my room was a bright spot - the best site to see was the miniature Christmas tree - this trip was already off to a great start! 

We then spent the next four days in Almelo where we combined work and play. Work and meetings during the day and amazing dinners and fun at night. The food we had was top notch - we enjoyed everything from traditional Netherlands fare like bitterballen, uitzmijterz (a open faced sandwich with eggs that was insanely good) and french fries with mayo (they love mayo over there) to daily doses of carpaccio, wonderful European breakfast spreads, and even a Middle Eastern dinner one night. So much variety and all of it was delicious. We also got to go to an Escape Room one night which was a bit challenging as the clues were all in Dutch and we only had two people with us that could speak Dutch - but our teamwork paid off and we escaped with time to spare! 

It really was a great week spent with our European colleagues - how cool to get to share ideas and challenges with people from Germany, Poland, England, France, Czech Republic, Portugual, and of course The Netherlands - all in one room and all with one common goal of success for our company. As an added bonus I got to see my old colleague Desire who met up with us one night. I sure do miss working with her but thanks to social media we've been able to remain friends and keep in touch even two years later. I hope she'll come visit us again in the US soon! 

Next up - we get to spend the weekend in Amsterdam! 

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