Friday, August 29, 2008

tom's a dad!

Recent e-mail exchange:

Hey Tom,
I just watched men's beach volleyball. USA and Holland.
Sorry we just kicked your butt. --David

Hi Hale's,
How are you all? Yeah, I also saw it but then again we beat you in women's waterpolo. Anyways congrats on the many medals you got and of course Michael Phelps. Hey, I got some great news, just last month I became a father of a beautiful baby girl. She is really great. Everything went really well and Karen and I are sooo happy. Enclosed you can find some pictures of her. The most beautiful daughter. --Tom

We have heard from Tom off and on through the years. I certainly could do better to keep in touch. Years ago Tom was here as a foreign exchange student and spent a whole school year in our home. I still can't get over how daring that is. A sixteen year old going to the other side of the world to live for a year with people he has never met. I couldn't have done it. This was so fun to hear from him this week. His last note was fantastic - a baby girl. I still think of him as a 17 year old boy, and he is in his 30's now!

We wrote back and forth a couple of times this week and here is what he sent. It is a fun read: (and Tom, I added a few pictures that we had also):

Ohh MY Gosh, that was so great. I checked your guys blogspots, that was so much fun. It really was great to see how you all have grown and how funny you are. I figured to also write you something so that everybody can get to know me a little bit more. I thought of doing that Melanie and Roxanne's styles by summing up all kind of facts about me, the period I lived with you guys, what Roxanne, Brady and Rachel were like back then and so on. It will be fun to post it on your website. I really felt and still feel part of the family when I was reading all of it on the site. I will also add some pictures of me and family.

Here goes; my 50 Random Facts

1 Exactly 16 years ago I arrived at Phoenix airport as a 16 year old teenager.
2 I was excited to meet you all, and on the way home from the airport we had a flat tire.
3 I also joined every sunday to church. I loved the people there everybody was really nice.
4 I went with the brother of Marcy Hatch to LA. His girlfriend was named apple, that was such a funny name to me...
5 I was impressed by LA beach (that was the time Baywatch started so imagine my excitement)
6 I went to North High School and I was in student government. That's where I got to know most of my friends.
7 Coincidentally two of my friends lived just 4 houses from us.
8 Rachel and Brady were sooo shy in the beginning. Zannie was just 1 year old. (we called her Zannie)
9 Did your mom ever tell you the "elephants in Denmark" trick? That blew me away.
10 Christmas I met your granddad and grandma, that was great they came all the way from the potato state.
11 That was funny that every state had a nickname. Who decides on the name?
12 In '93 there was no internet, so I had to hand type all the letters I wrote back home.
13 Then I was able to use the computer we had, but zannie kept plugging the plug out so I had to do tons of rewriting.
14 I covered my room with all the letters I received and made it into wallpaper.
15 I was a huge fan of Prince and I even wore a t-shirt to school once of him. I know I am soo embarrassed.
16 Rachel had a huge talent in drawing and piano playing.
17 I was in the same room as the piano for a year and I never touched it.
18 Brady liked to ride around on his bike a lot.
19 Me and Dave always used to play basketball a lot. Honestly, Dave was slightly better, (takes a man to admit his weaknesses) We even built the court together.
20 I never forget the family dinners we had at Ed Debevics. That was sooo much fun.
21 Although you guys did not drink caffeine, still Cindy would get me a six pack of coke, especially for me. (I'll never forget that)
22 Once I had a cold and someone advised me to put a cut onion in the room at night. I became so sick that I ran to the bathroom but did not make it. The stain never went out. (I hope it is now by the way)
23 I always wanted to be soo american that I tried to get rid of the Dutch accent. Finally a miracle happened; Some years ago I was asked by an american what state I was from; I answered! ARIZONA! At last: No more accent!
24 I live in Someren in Holland or The Netherlands. Now some random facts about that.
25 I am married with Karen Leenen, we met 4,5 years ago on a ski trip.
26 We hit it off from the start because we had the same humor... example: we arm wrestled right before our first kiss, who ever would win would get to kiss the other one. Needless to say I won!
27 We married on April the 18th of this year and our baby girl was born on the 28th of July. (yeah I know, not quite the mormon way, hope you guys can forgive me ;))
28 Our daughter is called Fay, she is wonderful. Actually an american name. (example Faye Dunaway)
29 My parents are divorced and I have one brother.
30 I work at welten, which rents out people to banks. My job is to get everybody to work and talk to them what their ambitions are.
31 I drive a french car named Peugeot.
32 I traveled a lot the last 16 years. The farthest I went is New Zealand. I was in every country of Europe.
33 I quite often meet people on their mission here in Holland. I always chat with them, telling them I lived with you guys.
34 Dave bought me a Mormon book in Dutch, so I can better understand the scriptures. (sweet huh)
35 I actually dated a girl like in 2000 , who I met those days in Phoenix. We went to homecoming together in 93. Sara Doerschlag.
36 We did not have mobile phones in 93 so I always used to call in your mom and dad's bedroom (mostly to Sara)
37 My favorite fast food restaurant was Arby's. They don't have it in Holland though so I haven't had Arby's in more then 10 years. When you have a roast beef with Arby sauce think of me!
38 I used to throw Zannie and Brady on the bed and they loved it.
39 I still have some 12 hours of videotape of my stay with you guys. When I have the chance I will sent the dvd to you or upload them on a site so you can check them.
40 I was in a band the last 4 years. I quit now, because it was too much to combine it all.
41 My hobby's now are playing golf and tennis, watching movies and organizing stuff.
42 If any of you are ever in Europe or close by in Holland, just let me know. I will take a few days off and show you all the highlights of Holland.
43 In Holland everyone has 25 days a year off. Also don't think Holland is all about prostitution and drugs, cause it's not. It's about cheese and Art.
44 Holland has only 14 million habitants, still we have more medals than: Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Italy.
45 We beat the US in women's waterpolo.
46 The last days I was there, finally Rachel opened up. She got talkative, I never forget it, because we were sitting in the backyard on the swing.
47 Soon I hope to be over there some day soon. That would be great. I will take my family with me and we will all go out.
48 My name is Tom, but my real name is: Antonius Johannes Catherina. (it's a Catholic thing)
49 I am almost out of facts, last ones are: Favorite music, Dave Mathews Band, Damien Rice, Garth Brooks (when he was big) and rock bands like pearl jam.
50 Favorite movies: Ferris Buelers' days off, ( I am not just saying that cause you also like it, I grew up on that movie) Any movie with Marlon Brando.

Tom's family:

Mom - Mirjam
Brother - Hans
Wife - Karen
and brand new baby Fay!


Katie said...

Could that have been any cuter? I vaguely remember when he stayed with you. What fun memories he has. And you guys as well, I'm sure. His baby is darling.

One of Parker's preschool teachers is from Holland and she has the most fun accent.

Lauri said...

What a fun blast from the past. I remember when his mom came to America and you brought her and Tom to California. We were the recipients of a visit from them too. She was amazed by desert cactus.

That was extremely brave of you (and him) but look now at the wonderful memories and relationships.

Cathy said...

Really nice! I wish I had had the opportunity to have met him, what a wonderful example your family was for him!

Nanna said...

Cindy, I didn't realize you had an exchange student. wow! I lived out of state then. You seem to be out of touch when you're not around. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading about his memories in your blog, and the pictures. How great to have contact with someone across the world. Very cool.


rachel said...

I don't remember being really shy around him, that's funny. I was real quiet in those days I guess? And I didn't know all that stuff! how interesting :) AND what a cute baby! (Tom, if you read this...) Congrats!

rachel said...

Oh my, check out the glasses dad wore.

two forks said...

oh my gosh i totally went to high school with him!!! and i know his homecoming '92 date!!!!

two forks said...

sorry i just got really excited. sara and i ran cross country together.