I wanted to text him to say that I regretted what I did, but I didn't because I wanted to be sure (as sure as I could be, anyway); I didn't want to keep jerking him around; and I'd been so rational about this matter that I had no faith in what my gut was trying to tell me. I stared out of the window every 10 minutes. I replayed our goodbye in my mind's eye - on the couch, he kissed me and said good luck; I went into the bedroom to collect my bags and I kissed him and said bye; he followed me to the door and went away while I put on my shoes, which made me think that he didn't want to see me walk out of the door, and so I left; when I was downstairs walking away from the apartment and to the tram stop, I heard him call out a bye from the balcony. I waved. I walked on and looked back once to see that he was watching me go. I waved again. In my mind, it was the final goodbye. I couldn't stop the tears from forming in my eyes.
I looked up flights to Berlin for the long weekend, thinking I could go to Berlin to see him if I talked to him and he still wanted me. I decided to text him after I left work, perhaps on the tram, to ask if I could talk to him later that night. Having a plan for action made me feel slightly better and so I left work thinking about what I was going to do for dinner that night.
I exited the building, walked towards the traffic junction, and waited to cross the road at the unused tram tracks.
That was when I saw him.
He stood across the road from me, a loaded look on his face, and he was the last person that I expected to see. I couldn't believe it. I half-ran to him, said oh my god and we hugged each other tightly. 'I'm sorry I didn't come earlier,' he said. I could have cried in that moment.
We took the tram to Centrum and saw a rainbow glowing beautifully against the dark clouds.
We had delicious Indonesian food. He stayed the night, and the next day, we had delicious Javanese/Surinamese food. He was bummed about having missed the chance to attend a hearing at the Tribunal. It was too bad that that I didn't check the hearing list in the morning and only saw that Mladic's application for an acquittal was heard in the morning.
I'm seeing him in Berlin this weekend; we're staying in his friend's empty flat. I didn't know that I have a long weekend until two days ago, so he invited another friend to stay with him, thinking that I was unlikely to be there. Alas, now I'm gonna have to share a bathroom with two French guys. Good luck to me...
On another note: I never really liked Holland that much after I visited two of its biggest cities. Rotterdam was the textbook definition of boring and it was freezing cold and I fell super ill, so my trip was terrible. Amsterdam was vastly overrated to me and I hated the whole red light district area with all those ubiquitous coffee shops and it left a very bad impression.
Having lived here for about two weeks now, I think I can safely say that I rather dislike this country. First, The Hague is so fucking cold that I really regret not bringing my warm clothes with me. I had no idea that the 18-22 degrees temperature that BBC Weather predicted before I left London was to last only for those glorious few days. It's been 8-13 the past week and a half and I am so fucking cold, and I am so fucking cold all the fucking time. I can't believe England is known for its bad weather because Holland's weather is definitely worse.
To make matters worse, ther's something seriously wrong with the heating in this place. I'm cold indoors all the time no matter where I am: the office, restaurants, in the house. At times like these, I miss the shit out of my Edgware Road flat, in which I had the heater turned on to max, creating what Arnaud called my natural humid environment - but at least it provided me with real refuge from the cold. In The Hague, I'm just cold all the time; it's only a matter of how cold.
Second, it really bugs me that not every driver stops at zebra crossings which I frankly find quite uncivilised. In London, I barely even stopped to look before crossing the road at a zebra crossing because I knew that the incoming car would stop and I was always right. Here, my ability to cross the road at a zebra crossing depends entirely on the mood of the incoming driver.
Third, I've never questioned the inspiration for the phrase 'go Dutch' but now, I get it. I totally get it. Apparently, the Dutch are known to be cheap - which is quite aptly reflected in the following:
1. The public library smack in the middle of city centre charges 30 cents entry fee for the toilet.
2. Even the McDonalds charges people to use the toilet. You know something is wrong when the universal soure for free toilets starts charging people to use it.
3. Mr. Irish told me that Mcdonalds charges 1 euro for ketchup.
4. When I asked for a hot water refill for my tea, I was told that it cost 35 cents.
This country is ridiculous!
I think I've had enough of Europe for now. I'd like to go home for a bit. Something is seriously wrong when I start missing the abominable weather in Singapore - and that 'something' is obviously the atrocious weather here.
I'd be happy to do more substantive things at work, but oh well.
I'm working with the French judgment. It has an up side and a down side: the up side is, I don't understand half of what I'm reading so I don't get the full extent of the atrocities committed by the Bosnian Croats; d'autre part, it is freaking tiring to read something in a language that you only vaguely understand, especially when you're trying to understand the facts underpinning a legal finding. It also doesn't help that French has a lot of redundant (to me) words so the sentences are longer, and it's a real pain to type everything into Google Translate sometimes.
It's actually quite sobering when I read something and I understand perfectly what's going on, such as random sniper attacks on civilians and the sexual abuses and the overall brutality of the aggressors. It's extremely disturbing. I can't imagine what it must have been like to work on these cases and having to interview the victims, look at photographs, deal with such depressing details day in and day out. It makes you wonder how a human being can completely negate the humanity of the person that he is torturing - the kind of mentality required, maybe a herd mentality or a brainwashed one of superiority...I don't know. It is wholly disturbing. I don't think it's a question that I would ever cease to wonder about.