Food and Friendship

Last night we went for our weekly recycling walk, to drop off the collection of plastics. Unfortunately, the dumpster that is the drop off point was not only full but had a mountain of plastic bags full of plastic recyclables stacked up next to it. I remembered from being here in April/May that there was also a plastic recycling dropoff near the Sarphati Park so we walked over there. I was wrong, it is just glass and paper. However, walking to the park, I walked past a little coffee place called Mr.Bean and guess what, they also sell kombucha! They were closed since it was after 9PM but I put it on my todo list.

Today I took a lunch break to go and walk over and get some kombucha. I have been craving it. And I do have some Goldfinch Kombucha brewing, thanks to my good friend, Jan, who gifted me with a going away SCOBY. However, kombucha takes anywhere between 21-28 days to be ready and I needed something to get me through the wait. What good timing! Mr.Bean sells a German brand of kombucha and they are going to stop selling in the Netherlands, because they haven’t seen the sales take off. So, I am going to give Mr.Bean a daughter SCOBY after my batch is done so they can brew their own. I bought six of the little bottles of Carpe Diem kombucha and I will have to make them last until mine is ready. I tasted it already so I know I am on the right track. So, Jan, Goldfinch Kombucha meets Amsterdam, one SCOBY at a time.

On Friday evening, I met up with Marianne to see the newest Coen brothers film Ïnside LLewyn Davis. What’s different about going to the movies in the Netherlands? You get reserved seats! And no one is eating popcorn either. Prior to the movie, we went to really good organic Indian food. Above the cafes and outdoor ice rink in the Leidseplein, is this amazing Indian restaurant. You would never know it was there unless you were specifically looking for it. It has a very Ayurvedic bent and the chef is actually the one who comes out and takes your order because he crafts the food accordingly to what you are looking for. I cannot wait to eat there again! It reminded me of something my mom used to say about getting spices right in cooking, that it was an art and she didn’t have it which is why she didn’t like cooking. And then I like cooking but if I used too many different flavors and spices, she didn’t want to eat that either – she would tell me that I was mixing too many things together! I probably could learn alot from the chef at the restaurant. Anyway, the food was good and so was the conversation. That’s the nice part about being around smart and multi-lingual people – they can help me through my conversation. It suddenly dawned on me that maybe having a conversation with me in Dutch is like talking to a toddler. Heh, I think that’s funny and probably true.

As if Friday’s dinner wasn’t good enough, Saturday night I went out for Indonesian around the corner with my cousin, Sjoerd. I posted a picture of the rijstafel so you can see what it looks like. All of the grandchildren from my Oma and Opa have straight hair, except for Sjoerd and I. We got Oma’s curls and can equally go to frizz – and I think you can probably also tell the change in humidity by Sjoerd’s hair as well. You can’t go somewhere with Sjoerd without laughing or having some kind of experience of the ridiculous. I think he has that kind of magnet. Or it could be the three double espressos he drank in a row after dinner. From the rijstafel, we went to the krug. A krug is a real old Dutch bar. Lots of wood, lots of interesting inhabitants, and usually kind of dark and small as opposed to a wine bar or some kind of hip place. You sit at the bar, drinking many small beers, listening to whatever musical whim the bartender has and you talk and laugh and cry. And throughout the night, you watch the people. Which is a really great way to spend an evening.

What it really all has in common, this past weekend and so many other interactions, is that I am so very fortunate in the friends that I have. And especially during this past year, each of you gave something to me that I needed or that Mom needed. Please know that I treasure you.


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