PERFECT STRANGERS

Last may one of my dreams finally became reality. I finally moved to my beloved Dammie! Not only did I move to a super cute and brand new apartment but also to the coolest street of Amsterdam (I know everybody here says that but in my case it really is!). Before I officially moved to Amsterdam you could find me there at least five times a week but visiting a place is much different than actually living there. Moving can be quite stressful and you kind of temporarily lose your base. I really needed to get ‘grounded’ and get my groove back. People who know me well know that I’m not shy when it comes to talking to strangers and it wasn’t any different over here. ‘Hi my name is Mishanou, I just moved here, bla bla bla’. People were looking at me like, ‘ok, you’re telling me this, because?’ Typical case of ‘small town girl in the big city‘. My hood is very up and coming. Cool concept stores or new hotspots are popping up like crazy and every time I get back from a trip there’ll be a ‘grand opening’ of something new.

Because I moved before the summer (long days, short nights) I could put off buying lamps for a while. I think most of the lamps out there are either ‘fugly’ or way overpriced. Anyway, the other day I decided the time had come to finally get lamps for the house (I got tired of walking around with my iPhone as a torch, haha) and I needed to return some other items anyway. My car was parked in front of a recently opened restaurant and I could see they had some cool lamps hanging around. Very simple, just a bulb hanging on a cord but then many of them, all over the restaurant. I walked in with my hands full, curtain rod, the works and outside on the terrace was this lady (in her 70’s) sitting there with a gentleman in a wheelchair. I sparked her curiosity because as I walked by she said ‘oh wow, that could be anything’ about the mini inventory in my hands. ‘Nothing special’ and I explained to her what it was. I briefly talked to the owner of the restaurant and she told me (very snappish) that ‘she made the lamps herself and they couldn’t be purchased anywhere’. Okay, thanks girl! No worries, I was just admiring them. The lady from the terrace came in to pay her bill and she joined in on the conversation. Much to my liking because she did have a very good vibe about her. We started talking and she talked about her husband and about him being in a nursing home and that she visited him three times a week. She also said that he had Alzheimers and hardly spoke and didn’t recognize her anymore and that was very hard. But as I listened to her I also heard that she was still very much loving life. She had a very active social life, had Friday afternoon drinks almost every week and even though she didn’t have a drivers license she and her friends own a car together, so there was always someone to drive her. She loved going to the local market. Just like the other day when she needed a duvet cover. She saw one with the words ‘don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect‘. To her that was a sign. And when said that I started tearing up. I thought: wow, how strong is this lady. All this and she still manages to love life and enjoy every moment of it. Every sun ray, every moment with her husband, the last sunny days of summer, sipping white wine on a terrace. But it also made me think about my own grandparents who aren’t with us anymore. How they both had Alzheimers also and how hard it was for my mom taking care of them. Flying back and forth to Curaçao having to arrange so much that she hardly had any time to enjoy the last moments with her parents. At that moment I saw the lady started tearing up as well and there we stood, in the middle of the new restaurant, me still clutching the curtain rod, her holding her debit card, trying to fight the tears. I carefully asked if I could give her a hug and she turned and gave me one. There we were, two perfect strangers sharing an emotional moment together. ‘Do you have time for a drink?’, she then asked me. ‘Sure! Ikea doesn’t close until 9 pm anyway!’ After I placed all of the stuff in the car I took a seat on the terrace with Judith and her husband Joop. I introduced myself to Joop and while Judith was enjoying her white wine I sipped on a cup of Earl Grey (rock ‘n roll) 🙂

Judith was telling me all kinds of stories about her past, her background, her daughter, how proud she was of her grand children (an 18 year old boy and a 13 year old girl) and how she was filling her days. How she loved going to the theater, enjoyed the view from her apartment and how she just loved going to the restaurant near the water, not to far from her. She told me how she and her daughter hysterically laughed at the last Bridget Jones movie. After we told each other some things about ourselves I saw that Joop had goosebumps and he was rubbing his arms. ‘Joop? Are you cold?’ Joop didn’t have a sweater or coat with him and he was trying to get out of his wheelchair. It was obviously time for the couple to go home. And I needed to get on with my day as well. When I said goodbye and thanked Judith I explained to her where I lived. And that all though I’m away a lot she can always ring to check if I’m home.

Hopefully I will run into Judith again, so I can thank her. Thank her because of how she reminded me to enjoy every moment, every sunny day, to enjoy the moments with your parents, with your friends and loved ones. Because you never know when you’ll see them for the last time. And also not to wait for that ‘perfect moment’ to do anything because that perfect moment will probably never come. She also made me see that we are all connected. Doesn’t matter where you are from, if your young or old or what your background is. You never know who you can share a precious moment with. Who knows, maybe if we would be a little bit nicer to each other we can share even more beautiful things together.

 

 

Thank you Judith en Joop.

 

xx Mishanou

 

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