Because I work for an international company – and because I am actually the Dutch office – all my colleagues are foreign. Because we work on different projects all over the world we rarely meet each other. But two weeks ago I met all my colleagues in Florida for the yearly corporate event: Connect 2015.
It was a great experience! Several hundreds of co-workers stayed in the same resort and met for different sessions: both business oriented and fun. In the spirit of ‘Connect’ we were asked to share a room. Of course it was possible to get a single room with extra charge. But as you might expect – me being Dutch and all – I went for the free of charge option. Luckily we could pick our own roommate. And it didn’t take me long to decide who I would like to invite to share a room: my Italian colleague Francesca. I had met Francesca only once at the get-together of the European employees in our European main office in the beautiful sea side resort Sestri Levante. She immediately caught my attention because of her transparent personality, her intelligent questions and the strong opinions that she had on for instance privacy on the Internet. In short, characteristics that made me appreciate her immediately! We didn’t find the time to talk much at the time. We do chat on Skype on a regular basis, but that is mostly business related. Therefore I looked forward to sharing a room with her. And to my delight the original exasperation to share a room turned out to be a huge joy and privilege!
And even though we are like black and white in many ways
- I am an Internet ‘slut’ and she’s really private
- I am a loud person, she is a modest person
- I react impulsive, see takes the time to think things through
- I have short blond hair and she has long dark hair
Francesca and I found out that we are actual kindred spirits. We share the passion for everything that has to do with Jane Austen. What luck to share a room with a Jane adept! And what fun to be able to go into details of one of my most favorite authors of all time! I never meet Jane fans, even though I regularly show myself in public with my ‘I ♥ Mr Darcy’ tote bag.
I had a lovely evening discussing the books, the movies, the characters and the trip I’m going to make with my mother to memorable Jane Austen sites this summer. It felt like being college roomies. To be honest I actually enjoyed every conversation that I had with her. So therefore I want to thank my employer for giving me the opportunity to get to know Francesca better and to connect with her on a kindred spirit level. This years’ Connect has really lived up to its name!
Francesca, this blogpost is an invitation and encouragement for you to share your great thoughts on philosophy to all children of the world. I hope you don’t mind that I have crossed your Internet privacy boundaries. I assume that the disguise complies with the necessary need for privacy.
And to Dorine Peters: thanks for encouraging me to start writing again.