Thursday, November 27, 2008

Goed eten, goed drinken, goede vrienden. And of course Happy Thanksgiving!

Goed eten, goed drinken, goede vrienden! Or in English - good eating, good drinking, and good company- in Amsterdam of course. And Happy Thanksgiving as well. Last Thanksgiving Sam and I took a train from Paris to Amsterdam and wander out of the train station and into an amazing Indonesian restaurant. We consumed the feast of many courses that you see here, and while it was not a traditional Thanksgiving, the colorful variety of dishes and exotic flavors somehow felt just right. There were hard boiled eggs in curry sauce, marinated kabops, saffron rice, veritable slaw, all types of meat and spices, and of course beer and the excellent company of my new husband. It was the feast of Thanksgiving, international style, and I had so much to be thankful for!

I remember our first day in Amsterdam because I felt completely at ease as soon as I stepped off the train at Centraal Station. First, we ate a snack out of the automat, how cool!?!? The automat includes rows and rows of doors, each with a warm and tasty food treat behind the window. You pop in your money, like a vending machine, the door opens, you grab your sandwich and enjoy. We did not understand the language, so we choose a Kipburger at random. We ended up with a chicken sandwich, although for all we knew it could have been a pickled herring sandwich. There was no telling until we bit in. I don't know if it was the novelty of the automat, our hunger, or just a good fast food sandwich, but the FEBO kipburger was a perfect introduction to Amsterdam.

Second, I immediately felt at ease because people everywhere were talking, loudly. We had just taken the train in from Paris, and the truth is that people do not talk loudly in Paris. Rather, they talk very, very quietly. And as a noisy American, quite talking is very intimidating. Don't get me wrong, I love, and I mean LOVE, Paris. It is beautiful, cultured, beautiful, diverse, beautiful, hospitable, beautiful, historic, and oh, did I mention beautiful? But Paris is refined, which means I was always on my best behavior. And it can take a lot out of a girl to always keep her voice low and her posture straight. Yet the moment I stepped into Amsterdam I knew it was time to relax, which made our Indonesian dinner all the more delicious. Who cared if I ate a curried egg with the rice in one large bite, or laughed out loud, or needed help pronouncing the dessert item I wanted off the menu? Nobody cared. It was Amsterdam, and I was thankful to be at ease in a friedly ethnic restaurant with the one I love.

Happy Thanksgiving to you today. I hope your day is filled with love, laughter, good food, and best of all lasting memories.

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