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Thanks for all you do to create community!

From: TJ
Sent on: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 8:24 PM

Dear friends,

Shortly after the New Year’s I received a thank-you note from the Meetup HQ, addressed to all Meetup organizers. On the card it is a short but powerful phrase ‘Thanks for all you do to create community.’
The note brought me right back to my ‘mission statement’ when I first became a Meetup organizer 10 years ago back in Seattle, WA. Back then and still now, people ask me from time to time, why I pay the Meetup dues out of pocket to do this? Why spend time to go through the tedious tasks finding venues, time slots, routes, tracking updates and logistics, etc.? It is exactly no other but for the purpose of creating community. This is why when Lexy (God bless her heart) who originally founded the ‘Expats Meet Dutchies’ group asked at the end of 2013, I had no hesitation but to pick it up again to organize Meetups.

Guess what? What you are doing, signing up as a member, checking the events on Meetup to attend, RSVP even if sometimes you don't find a friend to go together with, figuring out the transportation/logistics to get to a new venue, say hi to strangers, trying to remember hard the new faces and names.....all that is also to create community! So, be proud of you and I both :) We make a good team.

I came to Amsterdam almost 4 years ago as an expat, like many of you. Over the course of approximately 1000 cold, rainy and windy days (estimated at a 59% precipitation of the Dutch time according to The Weather Channel), I have fallen in love with this wonderful city and a great country. I still can’t speak Dutch yet but I am learning. This place grows on you…..majorly because of a great sense of community. I have met some of the most fun, supportive, capable, caring, persistent, loyal, willing, helpful….the list goes on…people here in the Netherlands, not one of the biggest countries I’ve lived. We, Expats and Dutchies alike, can say proudly that we are fortunate to be calling this land ‘home’.

Despite that I work full time and spend a significant amount of time traveling for work, I strive to do what I can to help contribute to that, a positive, supportive, and caring community wherever I am.

With that said, I wanted to first official say ‘hello’ to all the members who came before me. When I joined this group last year I think we had around 800 and I have only met some of you. So…..Salute to the 800+ of you and look forward to meeting each and every one of you eventually! Next, let me welcome our new members. We are growing at a rapid rate from around 900 back in Dec. 2013 to almost 1300 members today. We are now regarded as a sizable group. I have posted a welcome note to all the new members who joined the group since I started organizing some events, but have not had a chance to do this retroactively to the ‘senior members’.

I also have not had a chance to properly say ‘Happy New Year’ to you---- better late than never, so here we go, ‘Happy 2014 and wishing this be your best year yet! We may or may not have a chance to be in each other’s lives in significant ways but when we can, when we meet….let’s share friendship, fun, love, and laughter this year!’

Met vriendelijke groet/kind regards,

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