A little Dutch story…
This week, I ventured to the city center of Utrecht, a homey, lively, & creative city–the free-spirited sister of Amsterdam–that I would call the big, busy brother.
My friend and I watched as workers fished around the canal for remnants of bikes that had somehow landed in the river. It was as if they were operating a claw machine, except that they didn’t have to pay 50cents per try and probs had a better shot at actually grabbing something. Clearly, as I saw the clusters of people lined against the canal, we weren’t the only ones who found it to be quite a spectacle.
Honestly it was so interesting even though it wasn’t my first time seeing it happen….but my question still remains–how the heck are there so many bikes in the water? But then again, I have a dear friend whose poor bike ended up in the water (or who knows where O_O) …. don’t ask me how. 😉
Anyways, we eventually got over that and proceeded to search for some goooooooood gelato at one of my go-to spots in the city. When I think of gelato I think–*fiine quality & lozzo $$*–but the sweet thing about gelato shops in Utrecht is that they max out on the quality of taste and ingredients, but 1-scoop cones average at 1.25 euros, which is way worth the tastebud satisfaction. OK BUT LET ME GET TO THE GOOD PART!!
So having been there many, many times I had memorized the street, the shop’s surroundings, and its cute storefront. So you know, I walk down the street and back up it and down again and then I get highly confused, and I see the “coffeeshop” at the corner that I KNOW is next to the gelatoshop and then I get confused again because there is no gelato shop and there is a brand spankin’ new storefront right where I KNOW it was and IS so I get even more confused AND THEN I REALIZE THAT THE GELATO SHOP IS GONE!! GONE!! & IT BEING PRETTY CHILLAY IN THE NETHERLANDS IN OCTOBER, MY FRIEND N I ARE PROBS DA ONLY ONES WHO WANT GELATO, BUT TURNS OUT EVERYONE ELSE WANTS TYPICAL DUTCH TREATS BECUS THE GELATO SHOP THAT *I KNOW* IS THERE HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY TURNED INTO VANDELDELFT A STORE THAT SELLS WHADDYAKNOW TYPICAL DUTCH TREATS…
After being madly confused and finally consoling myself that it’s ok that the gelato shop is gone even though it means the dream I had about leaving the country without having my last gelato cone basically just came true….I go into the shop and smell the smells and talk to the owner about her smart business decisions…and then we move on. That is it, sorry no gelato. ヽ(๏∀◕ )ﾉ
Now, now we move on to our next destination–the Wednesday market by central station, basically a party for our tastebuds. (Although technically this part happened before the missing gelato shop I KNOW was there, but yu know, gotta save the best for last n’am sayin’). Just so you know, I’m basically taking a huuge detour (or multiple?) before even touching upon the juice of the title of this story. Hope you’re still at least mildly interested. 😀 If you’re not, BYE no one’s keeping you here, but thanks for snoozing in.
so so so so so so so so so so
we get some cups of waaaarm, crispy & sticky, deliciously sweet crumbled stroopwafels –oh lawd so good!! and mhmmmm to balance out that sweetness, some haring which hello yall is raw fish with pickles and diced onions –which sounds disgusting maybe to you and tbh to me also, (i dont even eat sashimi hey?) but this was our second time getting it cus the aftertaste in my mouth told me that I must eat again. DID I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR–IT IS GOOD!!
We walk around and encounter both AUTUMN and CHRISTMAS in one flower tent.
I take some of my classic feet pix…
and marvel at how HUGE those balls of flowers are (not to mention 3 euros cheap)
then take a Snapchat pic and apply a geotag filter to get dat Christmas feelz ..
and then start to make our way away from the market and towards the center of the city center (lol at redundancy)
and THAT is the moment everything becomes even more amazing--like other-worldly amzing….
After getting some Ethiopian food from one of the food carts, my friend and I walk past a cheese stand laughing and talking becus LIFE!!…and we’re about twenty feet from the cheese stand (full of rounds of delicious cheese O_O) so you know a pretty good distance awayz. But I glance up, my eyes towards the cheese stand, and I observe an older (young grandpa-aged) man smiling at me with an amused look–like I had just said something funny and he was feeling “lol” about it. But my gosh, it was the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. I knew he was looking at me and he knew I knew and also he knew I was looking at him, and feeling supes happy I turned a way for a bit and skedaddled with my friend to throw away my trash.
I turn around again and walk a few steps back towards the cheese cart. As I bring my head up and eyes forward, the cheese man and I share eyes again (not lock because it was a soft look), and with the most brilliant, kind-hearted, but spunky smile, he looks at me as I continue to look at him–and with that, we both can sense what is about to happen. I lift up my hand at the same moment he lifts his, and we wave. A wave–an acknowledgement of each other’s presence signifying the human connection we share, just between the two of us, despite bystanders and onlookers around us, it’s something only the two of us fully feel.
As I bring my head back down, he gives me a smile and slight nod as if he’s saying “there ya go girl, we’re sharing in our joy.” Without saying a single word or making a noise, we convey something to each other that has such a great meaning, that I don’t know if I can even describe it because it was unlike anything I ever felt before. I have had satifactory moments of stranger smile exchanges that make me feel all warm inside, but this was something else. LEMME TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED NEXT ..
As we started to walk away and I was still running that beautiful image through my head, I was overcome with raw, fragile emotion. like whattheck girl, whats wrong wif u!
But the beautiful exchange I had was literally the most touching thing ever, and bubbles just shot up through my heart and turned into water (no they didn’t pop) and then traveled up to my eyes and my eyes then pushed them out and they became tears….
the whole time I was like “i can’t believe i’m crying”…and no i was not in an emotionally unstable state or anything…
I was simply tearing up out of pure joy, mixed with a twinge of sadness at the thought of never seeing the man again.
In that moment, I adopted him as my surrogate grandpa, someone I wish could be in my life and that I could know…because I never really knew my grandpas, one having passed away when my mom was pregnant with me and the other when I was just 5 years old.
and realistically speaking, that could never happen, but that smile, wave, and nod gave me faith in the quality of individuals and humanity in general–in a cutthroat world where niceness is the exception, I was glad for the mutual affirmation and true honor we gave each other.
And so that’s my story. That moment is something I will never forget, so long as my brain is in a functioning state. It was raw, it was real, it was emotional, it was beautiful, it was indescribable, and as pathetic or cheesy or dramatic it may sound to an outsider (and maybe even you after reading this)–I felt an understanding that no logic can explain, something you don’t just talk about with words and that wasn’t simply just a physiological response.
I hope wherever you are, you can easily give and receive *rawhumanconnection* exchanges. To start you off, here’s a smile, wave, and nod from me for ya. 😏👋👧🏻
Peace & Potaters,