Monday, March 12, 2007

I had the strangest experience this morning. I was walking along Main Street in Royal Oak, and for a moment, it felt like Amsterdam.

It wasn't early (it was about 10am), but it's apparantly too early for Royal Oakers because the streets were fairly empty. The weather today is cloudy and cool, and the street I was walking on has brick pavement accents that are reminiscent (sp?) of a European city. For just a moment, I experienced the kind of quiet, settled, "at home" feeling that I get on those rare occassions when my feet have the pleasure of hitting Dutch pavement. It was nice. Sadly, though, it was short-lived as I turned the corner to face landscape and architecture that were undeniabely Royal Oak.

I feel as though I dedicate an unusual amount of blog space to Amsterdam and my frequent longings to be back in that city. Maybe it's because the feelings come on unexpectedly and are always very strong. Regardless of the reasons, today I long to be in Amsterdam. To be in a place of brick streets and canals. A place where the conversation is always quiet and the settings nearly always intimate.

Today I want to hear tram and bicycle bells announcing their arrival and warning of their close proximity. I want to sit at Cafe Toussaint, where I can take my time enjoying a bowl of the best tomato soup I've ever had. (you might laugh... but it's true...). Today I want to hear the Dutch language, spoken as only a Dutch native can speak it, and I want to hear it inter-mingled with a dozen other languages.

Today, I want to be the minority. I want to have to ask for directions, interpret signs and menus, dodge an oncoming bicycle. Today I want street performers and Vondel Park. I want to walk along the lighted strip of sidewalk in Museumplein and lead someone else to discover the musical instrument that's built into the pavement. I want to walk through the Red Light District and pray, in Jesus' name, for all those men and women to be set free.

Today I want to walk down the street and feel like I'm home. And today, just for a moment, I did.


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