Well, tomorrow’s the day. The day that started with a tweet might end up affecting hundreds of people in a big or small way. Or…nobody.

Tomorrow is #HeelHollandHugt.

I’m leaving very early in the morning with a big sign that says ‘FREE HUGS’. My friend Ayham is joining me. We will stand at the station and see if anyone dares to hug either one of us. He’s a Muslim refugee and I’m a Jewish American, let’s see who’s up for the risk. Yolo, yo.

But what if nobody shows up?
What if we just stand there, alone, with our lame signs?
We might look stupid to some people walking by, I guess.

2 people offering hugs that no one wants.
2 people standing there, being ignored by all who walk by.
2 people hoping that someone will accept the gift they are trying to give.

I guess that would look pathetic to some people.

But not to me.
It shows we are strong.
That we dare to take risks.
That we are putting our love out there, our compassion, our hearts, just to see if anyone wants them.
We have nothing to lose. Nada. Bupkes. Zip. Zilch.

Since this event I’ve gotten tons of support from celebrities, the media, strangers who have stopped me on the street, etc. One woman has organised hugs all day in Roermond. Another is doing the Hague with a friend. Someone else is offering free coffee and giving out our FREE HUG buttons in Huizen. Someone else has ordered 1,000 stickers at their own expense to spread the word. This warms my heart to no end.

And I’ve also gotten a lot of something I can only call less-than-love. The person who asked me why it was called ‘Heel Holland Hugt’ when ‘Holland’ is not even part of the route we are taking. The person who asked me why Groningen wasn’t good enough to be included. (I of course asked them to start their own event there as other people have. Never heard back.) The one who said I was ‘destroying the Dutch language’ by using ‘hug’ instead of ‘omhelsen’. (The name was created by Karen, a lovely Dutch woman who wrote me back after reading this newsletter asking what this event should be called. Thanks again, Karen!) Etc, etc.

I have chosen, however, to focus on the good. To make the love even louder, as I said in my last newsletter.  And yesterday, when friends from 4 countries got together to make signs (and eat my brownies) it showed me that we are stronger together. (And hungry.) That taking this risk, maybe standing there alone with a sign, in the rain, in the snow, and being ignored for a few hours is really ok. If it’s the worst thing that ever happens to me, I will have lived a fantastic life!

Do stop by for a hug if you can.
Do start your own way of making the world kinder if you can.
Do acknowledge someone you have passed by before if you can.
Do what you can.

You can.

With love!

X buffi