Roses, Amélie, etc
Hi, my love.
Beautiful scene as I type. Wüdbürner blazing and Blossom Dearie playing in the next room.
(speaking of - made a video of me singing my favorite song of hers exclusively for paid subscribers… if you’re in that esteemed group or wanna sign up the video will be available in 3..2..)
Either way, grl, this week.
A glorious one. Hamsterdance in full spring-show-offery.
Joyous, but not exactly news at this point: The city of canals and people who hate when I yell “OUTFIT!” has been in spring-disney-simulation-status for a hot minute now. Last week this meant a full field of crocuses. This week it meant (1) learning that Dutch people (?!) wear shorts (?!?!?) once the weather is anywhere over 50 degrees and (2) visiting charming book tables as I, too, went out on balmy spring strolls (albeit in more temperature appropriate clothing).
It also meant sans-shoe-street-hangs, documented by Ben and Tete.
And many, many hours on my bike.
With the weather now on my side, I decided this was the week to finally learn how Amsterdam really works and stuff (iPhone/Google Maps be damned!).
An eventful choice.
I’m not sure if you know this yet, but I have the sense of direction of a newborn baby who has been tasked with going to the corner store to pick up a loaf of bread. The kicker, though, is that I am a confident new born baby, so I will happily walk us right into a canal while you follow and good-naturedly assume we’re en route to our destination.
So it’s a good thing, considering, that I didn’t have a lot of plans or rigid schedules to adhere to this past seven days. I made small, medium and large directional mistakes like a good adult-baby. My largest failure came in an hour+ long ‘round the city ride instead of what could have been 10 minutes from Vlieger Papier (my paper bobis) to Key Color Photo (my film developing bobis).
(Listen I am stubborn and also the weather was nice and also I would not be defeated!)
(I should know how to get around this city already it has been a year! and! a! half!)
(And learning to get around this city sans my little screen rectangle will require failures because I am a dopey new born baby trying to get a loaf of bread!)
No regrets. Truly. After this hour of dopey chaos I did indeed find Key Color Photo aka heaven on earth, the sun lighting up its bobi windows. I took this very bad iPhone photo of it to prove to my husband (and now you!) that despite biking adversity I did, indeed, succeed.
Once at the esteemed Key Color Fotolab I got a disposable camera developed from last week’s equally dramatic Belgian day trip/electric car fail. And that, my frond, is how I remembered a really, really key thing I forgot to tell you.
Yes. I am so sorry. You and I never discussed the greatest development in history, which was my discovery of the rose honey latte from Antwerp’s Bonjour Maurice.
(Listen, listen, listen, listen.)
If we need to backup I will do it, because I want you to feel like you understand why I’m rabidly throwing exclamation points between parentheses. Also because I love you. And, just like I love you, I absolutely adore rosewater anything.
A lifelong rose love affair that dates back to childhood and a favorite family story my dad tells. We’re talking 1994, little bobi t is 6 years old. Apparently I came home with my older brother from school in inconsolable tears. The 5 minute walk home from Hillside Elementary School had taken 45 minutes, and my older brother was full of eye rolls and probably understandable annoyance.
King Michael, ever the trained diplomat, tried to deduce what had caused both the delay and the older brother eye rolls.
In between sniffly sobs, I finally got the explanation out.
“I just want to smell every rose.”
Without veering into narcissistic space, I will just tell you that I … really like that story. It makes my face scrunch up and reminds me of the good that lives in my cells. Reminds me that I am an amalgamation of all those cells who exists so thoroughly in the moment that I will still take hours to find out the differences between each roses’s scent or whatever the newest iteration of those petals is.
(Also high five to little t, because my dad thought my sobbing explanation was so cute I got to walk home alone to smell every rose from then on!)
Some 27 years later I still maintain that love. I’ve failed at finding a rose perfume scent for just over a decade (man do humans suck at getting rose right). I settle instead for taste over smell, cultivating an arsenal of recipes that incorporate it.
Rose, my bb. Throw a bit of cardamom in there and I’m your friend for life. My two favorite desserts to bake from said recipe arsenal are Melissa Clark’s epic rose cardamom cake and my prized rendition of Petee’s rose cardamom custard pie.
(Okay, t, we get it!)
A bish loves a rose.
But putting rosewater in coffee was far from my list of possibilities.
Perhaps because it hadn’t occurred to me to pair two of my absolute favorite things? (Should I try coffee and steak next?!!?)
Or maybe because, I don’t know, I didn’t think I deserved that level of perfection. You know, there’s only so much goodness we all deserve, scarcity thinking, etc.
So I opened that menu.
Looked at it.
Opened my eyes big big big.
And ordered the rose honey latte with skepticism because it sounded too delicious and I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
You can guess what happened next, you’ve known me long enough. When we exited Maurice Bar jj captured my v extra happy dance through Belgian streets.
Holland’s almost equally buttoned up Belgian neighbors enjoyed my public dance just about as much as my dutchies enjoy a good yelling of the word “OUTFIT!”. But I stand by my happy dance. It was 100% merited, and ever since my return I’ve been putting rosewater and honey into my coffee on many a morning.
That’s about 7 mornings so far of honoring little t and her solo walks home. I don’t have the words to adequately tell you the joy it brings me/her.
Just… living my greatest princess life. Bolstered by these levels of princess joy, I’ve been taking great terrifying leaps into this new sort-of-open world of ours.
For example, fresh on the heels of our Antwerpian-Jeff-tea-triumphs last week José and I took a thousand deep breaths, leaned hard on our boosters, and had a coffee indoors while writing our morning pages. It didn’t feel triumphant and it didn’t feel terrible. I felt both the relief of something normal and the deep presence of trauma in my cells.
And yesterday I got to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my favorite film of all time, in a real deal movie theater called lab 111.
Granted this was a 4 pm showing of a 20 year year old movie on a 60 degree sunny Saturday in Hamsterdance, so there were only a few people in that theater.
Still. This was my first unmasked movie since 2019. Every bit of knowledge I know about droplets was screaming out at me, and the only thing I had to mitigate it was my little kid excitement at seeing my favorite movie on the big screen for the first time.
Just like the coffee shop, it wasn’t transcendent and it wasn’t horrendous. There were moments when I was moved to tears and there were moments that were decidedly lackluster, largely because I’ve grown accustomed to spending every moment of my life surrounded by walls and in the company of the esteemed josé fitzgerald james.
Most importantly, I realized the primo mistake I had made in not purchasing popcorn.
(What the fuck is the point of an unmasked movie if you can’t shove your face with overly buttered popped corn?!)
(Do my Dutch brethren even do the level of fatty-goodness-I-require-at-a-movie?!)
(I was too scared to find out!)
Indoor hangs have some real perks though, I’m remembering. Like the fact that just outside their cutie theaters, lab111 has old school arcade games. My parents were never big on video games, but you know who was a neighborhood king!?
My husband schooled me in super mario, we walked home through the perfect dutch spring simulation.
One more step toward life opening up. The album was supposed to be mastered today, but, in the ever expanding push of my patience, that date has now been moved to 3/25. I lean on your support and the increasing amount of degrees outside to keep me sane. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to find every rose, literally and figuratively, that I can to smell.
More next week.