Back to Rufus Rufus Visits the Veenstra Family

The Veenstra Family, Netherlands

28 June, 2001, Rufus arrives in Holland!

Rufus had a great time here in Holland and also brought incredible weather! It was sunny and into the 70s and 80s all but one day he was here. We were tempted to keep him with us! Rufus did a lot of bike riding while here since we go pretty much everywhere on two wheels. He got very good at saying: bloedsuikerwaarden (BGs) and was learning how to count. Since we use the mmol system, Rufus didn't have to learn much past 15 or so.

The week Rufus was here, was Nicholas' last at school before his six-week summer vacation. Friday was his last day of school. Rufus accompanied me there a few times to help with end-of-the-schoolyear activities. Douglas was already out of school but had to go back one day to pick up his reportcard -- a very good one and Nicholas' too! The bike ride to school for Nicholas is only 3 minutes but Douglas has to bike at least 40 minutes to get to his school (high school) in another town. Rufus either travelled in my bike panniers or on top of Nicholas' back rack.

We often went grocery shopping to "downtown" Marum (a very small town) and one day we passed by a store that had a rack of wooden shoes for sale. We just couldn't resist and had to stop to get a pair for Rufus. His eye fell upon the cow-motief "klompen" and he was sold. He has been wearing them ever since!

On Sunday, since everything but the churches and bars are closed here, we went to look at windmolens (windmills). At one of the windmolens there was a nesting pair of storks and we could see the "babies" (by now very big but still at home) way up high in their nest! The parents were walking around in the field looking for food and didn't seem to mind all the onlookers. It was such a nice day that we even went for a walk through a nearby woods and past a small castle with two cannons guarding it. With all that walking our bloedglucosewaarden soon dropped and we stopped for an ijsje (ice cream) and to visit friends who were sitting out on their balcony. They live above their electronics store and saw us passing by so buzzed us up.

We had arranged with the local paper (Acht Dorpen Nieuws, or Eight Towns News) to come out and take pictures of Rufus with the boys. Hopefully the article will be out in a week or two! That was also the day it was REALLY warm and we spent the entire afternoon at the local pool. Rufus got his picture taken with all the badmeesters (life guards)! They loved the idea behind Rufus and were very interested in all that he has already seen and done. All of our friends and family were intrigued with Rufus and, of course, fell in love with him at first sight.

With the nice weather we spent a lot of time outside in the garden and ate most of our dinners outdoors too. It was fun having Rufus share in our day-to-day life. Klaas off early to work, Nicholas off at 8.25 to school, Douglas sleeping in, working on a drawing table and on his website, and Leslie making sure everyone got to where they needed to be.

I have illustrated Rufus' journal for the rest of the families to see how his stay was here with us. We wish you a safe journey, Little Bear. We already miss you but know that you will love it in Norway with Gunn Helene, Nadia and family!

Leslie Veenstra
Mom to Douglas 13, dx @ 9, Nicholas 11
Marum, Groningen, Netherlands

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Rufus and Ruby, the bears with diabetes, is the creation of Carol Cramer, who owns the copyright to Rufus and Ruby. The graphics of Rufus are from Rufus Come Home, written by Kim Gosselin and illustrated by Terry Ravenelli, and are used by permission of the author.

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