‘We are still looking for ways to combine those different styles’

Ath: „Hilde and I know each other from the time that we both worked for the municipality of Amsterdam. I was program manager at the Spatial Planning and Sustainability department, Hilde was communication advisor there. I really liked her as a colleague, but I had no romantic feelings for her.”

Hilde: „When we started working on the same project, I noticed that we could work well together and complement each other well. When Aat got another position, I thought it was a great pity. I then suggested that we do intervision together [waarbij collega’s onderling kennis en ervaring uitwisselen]. I really meant business. But we had very personal conversations and then I realized that I really liked him.”

Ath: “I had no clue. But when she invited me to her birthday, I thought it was special. But even then I had no idea.”

Hilde: “A few weeks later we had a dinner with colleagues. I had planned to tell him afterwards that I had “budding feelings” for him. But that plan failed and then I sent him an app that I wanted to tell him something.”

Ath“And I still had no idea what was to come. When she finally told me, it was the biggest surprise of my life.”

Hilde: “Men….”

Ath: „It had to land for a while, but after that I thought it was very cool. I then informed my manager, but he didn’t think it was a problem.”

Hilde: “But because after more than three years I was ready for something else, I left the municipality. I went to Rijkswaterstaat and now have a permanent job at the Education Inspectorate. I like to do projects from one to one and a half years. In the eight years that I have been working now, I have had many clients.”

Ath: “While I have been working for the municipality for twenty years. I was still studying when I got a part-time job. It is just really cool to be involved in the spatial planning of the city where you live.”

Figaro and Alfie

Hilde: “Most of the time we are crazy about each other. Aat is a bit calmer than me in terms of character and time use. I want to work out five days a week, see friends, go out and do volunteer work. I just want everything. To the Amsterdam Dance Event, to see my parents, to an exhibition…”

Ath: “We want to see each other, but also do our own things. And sometimes that rubs for a while. I have less of a tendency to want and have to do everything.”

Hilde: “I just suffer from FOMO, fear of missing out.”

Ath: „I can also sit on the couch for an evening. Although I do value our date nights, as we call a night out together. I accept more easily that other things are not possible.”

Hilde: “Because I am a huge planner, I can also combine everything.”

Ath: “When we go on vacation, I pack a book and underpants and think: we’ll see.”

Hilde: “While I then made a whole scenario. I even schedule chilling.”

Ath: “We are still looking for ways to combine those different styles.”

Hilde: “It makes a difference that we do not live together.”

Ath“That will probably happen at some point, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.”

Hilde: „A LAT relationship is an ideal way to withdraw. And children are not in the planning, so we don’t have to do it for that either. No, I don’t have FOMO on that point.”

Ath: “We both find it a bit strange that having children seems to be the norm.”

Hilde: “Our cats, Alfie and Figaro, are very important to us.”

Ath: „Figaro, who lives with me, is very independent. Alfie, van Hilde, shows more the behavior of a child.”

Hilde: “I created it myself. Alfie and I talk to each other, he’s actually kind of like a dog. I’ll let him out too, then we’ll go to the park.”

Ath: „When Hilde comes to me, she takes Alfie with her in a backpack. Figaro and Alfie have a kind of non-aggression pact, they tolerate each other.”

Neighborhood cup

Hilde: “When I was looking for something meaningful to do in my free time, I ended up at Buurtbakkie: with a cargo bike and a thermos with coffee you can visit three lonely elderly people one morning together with someone else. Aat is now also a volunteer there.”

Ath: “Sometimes you have an animated conversation, but you also see miserable loneliness, people who see no one.”

Hilde: “It is sensible and rewarding work, but also tough. It puts things into perspective to realize that there are people with a completely different life.”

Ath: “We regularly have discussions about our future. Are we going to live simpler, with less work and less money? Or live outside the city? We are not there yet.”

Hilde: “Recently we went to a house in the Veluwe for a week. We just worked there and we really liked it, such a different environment.”

Ath: “But do we ever really go out of town?”

Hilde: “It is just fun to fantasize what is still outside the ring of Amsterdam.”

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