but today I really did. Consequences be damned. I made all kinds of questionable (for me) dietary choices. And while right, I am not feeling so good, at the time, it was really great. I went to the Albert Cuyp market with the boys and they made all kinds of wins at the floor level. I am pretty sure they have stomach cramps. For me, I stayed above the gutter level and ate a giant stroopwafel hot off the wheel of the stroopwafel baker. And then I went to Sonny’s and had Vlaamse frites (Flemish fries or patat frite) with spicy peanut sauce and took the falafel home with me for dinner. But wait, there’s more. This afternoon, at the office, it was apparently Vega Friday on the questionable nutrition side of the cafeteria so I had one of each of the deep fried vega offerings and a crazy salad of red beets, pears, chick peas, pickles, cocktail onions and apple.
I don’t know if it was the gorgeous weather or the giddiness from picking up my residence card from Immigration or going to the office and getting all kinds of stuff done or if it was the after effects of yesterday’s 13 hour adventure to Boxmeer. I guess I don’t really need to have a reason why I fell into some kind of deep fried zombie land. It is funny because a lot of food here is fried and most of the time, I virtuously walk right on by it because I know it is definitely not healthy. Perhaps it is because I have been so careful about avoiding it that today it just happened. I am only commenting on it because I was astounded by the fact that I just kept going today with the fried madness. You know, you are in a country that takes fried food seriously when the person making your falafel and fries tells you “everything here is healthy” and encourages you to add more color to your condiments because you have only chosen green items like cabbage, cucumber and pickles.
I realized something tonight on our late night walk. My mom used to think that parking strips were a complete waste of space and so annoying. One of the debates we would have is that she would always suggest tearing out all the grass and putting down paving stones or some other hard surface. I was definitely not in agreement. I could never understand why someone who was so plant oriented had a deep disdain for the green parking strip. Walking tonight, I suddenly got it. There are no parking strips here. From either your front stoop or the end of your front yard (if you have one) it is a neat and precise paving block surface all the way to the street. Relatively even and smooth and definitely low maintenance. And useful, you can drive your car right up to it if you need to unload something. Entire teams of skilled workers maintain these surfaces. They are replacing several streets around us. And the stones are laid out uniformly and so closely packed, they do not need concrete. I thought maybe this was just an Amsterdam thing. But so far, I haven’t seen a single parking strip in the Netherlands.
There was a full circle moment today. Since my mom has been gone, I have carried around her passport and US alien card with mine. At first, it was because I needed it for documentation purposes as I was trying to take care of things and then just because when we used to travel together, I always carried the documents to avoid the last minute search of everything wondering which pocket they were in. Today I have my own alien card so to speak. And while I was sitting outside of Immigration and Naturalization, I wondered what my mom would have thought about the fact that she could now call me an “alien”. Like mother, like daughter. I would like to think that this would have made her laugh. I really miss her today, there are so many things about our new life here that I wish I could share with her. Shit, now I am crying.
Last night, it was cold and rainy. There’s a surprise. Jo and I met Marianne for dinner. We went to this small Italian place down the street. And we were the only people in the restaurant so you can imagine that a good time was had by all. Of the three of us, I am the quietest. We only drank one bottle of wine but it was a good one. It was a great evening because of the company first and the food second. The fact that we had the whole place to ourselves was even better. And throughout dinner, a CD of Tina Turner’s duets played nonstop. The music here is interesting. There’s a side that is completely cutting edge in terms of electronica, dance, etc. And then there’s this strange time warp where the music is in this late 80s-90s period. And then of course, there’s a million different types of music here all at once. There are 178 nationalities represented in Amsterdam, it is the most diverse city in the world. You never know what you might hear. Anyway, none of us got up to do a Tina Turner impression, mostly due to the fact that we didn’t have the hair or the fabulous legs.
Tomorrow I am going to go to the big organic Saturday market so I can browse and take pictures. And then there is a book signing in the afternoon from the author of the blog “Stuff Dutch People Like” which is a hilarious read. But before all that, I think I’ll take the boys to Vondel Park to tire them out a bit. Again, a tired dog is a happy dog. And damnit, I am going to get some gloves.