• Julissa Zwemmer

The story behind a laptop

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

Refresh, shit only 1 minute on the clock! Refresh, refresh. Wait what?! I GOT IT! I got the laptop! Rowan jumps up of joy. ‘I just won the laptop from the auction at TradeMe!’. Apparently, she bought a laptop on the New Zealand’s version of Marktplaats.

The next day we picked it up. We thought it would be a good idea to bring someone with us. Afterall we are two girls, planning to knock on a stranger’s door in the middle of the night. Okay, it was only 8pm, but still it was dark out there. Probably best if we asked our flat-mate Duarte to take us. The ride in his new camper van, turned out to be a bumpy ride. The moment we finally saw a bank to withdraw cash from, we pulled over at the wrong side of the road. We started screaming and Duarte turned in a reflex the car firmly back to the left side of the road. Oeff, we have to pay a lot more attention, while driving here.

‘You’ve reached your destination’, said the voice of Google maps. Without ringing the bell, the door opened and Herman Smeets introduced himself. ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, are you Dutch?’, was the first thing Rowan asked. Such a name screams Holland. And jup, another Dutchie in New Zealand. What kind of Dutch invasion was happening in this country? After some small talk about our home country, he showed the laptop to us. Looks totally fine to me, but what is the story behind it?

Current question changed the atmosphere completely. Herman started to tell about his daughter, whom the laptop was from. She recently moved back to the Netherlands to do her PhD, but she will return soon, he said. There is no reason not to come back to this country. We all got silenced by his story-telling skills, when he told us the reason that made him move to New Zealand, how different Auckland is from the rest of the island and why he wouldn’t return to his home country.

It all started with his work as a police officer. One day he received the magical letter that gave him a residence permit in New Zealand. Due to a local low crime rate, he moved to the countryside and became a cattle farmer. His days outside, changed his life and its pace. He realized what really mattered to him. Herman loved flying and decided to become a pilot. That moment, he looked up to us and signed to the next door. ‘Come, let me show you something’. Without hesitation we followed him to his own created plain simulation room. Waauw! ‘Yeah, nowadays I teach people how to fly. If you want you can try it out yourselves. And between you and me, becoming a pilot doesn’t have to be that expensive or hard’. He revealed his secret of becoming a pilot in the most easy and cheapest way. Dumbfounded, we stood there. OKAY!, said Rowan. That is it, I’m changing career.

After saying goodbye, we walked to the car. Thinking about, what just happened. Was this man a really good salesman or a wise life-storyteller. Who could tell. But surely, we were all persuade. Especially, his final line got to us: ‘One day without creating happiness your way, is a day waste.’

Not only now we got a laptop, but also a life lesson.


©2019 by Travel Thoughts.  Photographs by Rowan Linschoten Photography©