Number of days in Amsterdam – 459-465
Number of days without a bike theft – 455-461
Days since it last rained – 1
This week I failed as a father.
I’m not talking about the random bruises the Kitten picks up as she begins to recklessly explore her world, pulling herself to stand up or trying to crawl from point A to point B faster than her little body is ready for, I’m instead talking about a failure as described by the wise American scholar Chris Rock.
He said that, above all else, it was a father’s responsibility to keep his daughter from becoming a pole dancer, and yet, at a going away party, right under my nose… failure.
This week also found us missing another event back home, one that was a ritual to end the summer.
It was the weekend of the DIY festival.
The DIY festival was a festival put on by the local businesses, artists and musicians in our town. Formed in response to an art fair that wasn’t very responsive to helping out the locals, everyone decided to do it themselves, and have a bigger better festival than the pros could. Our neighborhood has a solid creative base and a lot of independent businesses, and so it just came together.
Every year we gathered with all our friends at a particular spot on a particular sidewalk for three days of food, drink and music. We would be there the entire time, just catching up, seeing people we hadn’t seen in forever, and getting into some really great music and just a bit of trouble.
This year, like last year, we missed it.
But we weren’t going to let it bother us.
Saturday, we took the train to Utrecht, another town here we’d not visited before.
We met up with a Detroit/Dutch couple friends of ours who were back in the Netherlands for a visit, and they took us to some of their favorite old haunts.
In my defense toward something that may or may not have happened at a particular place on a particular day, I’ll just say that if you have a bar, and you insist on putting your bar’s name on the glassware, it becomes a tempting souvenir that begs for liberation. This is, however, just a casual observation.
As we made our way back to train for our ride back into the ‘Dam, past a two-level bike parking lot, we already felt that we’d had a full weekend, and it was only Saturday.
Sunday was even better. Sunday found us at Gerard Doustraat for the annual food festival. In this particular corner of the Pijp that happens to just be a few blocks away from us, there are a ton of great restaurants on one street, and each year they come together for a mini food fair with live music.
It has a sense of community, even if it’s a new community for us. We had Sangria, paella, risotto and a bunch of other dishes as we sampled the fare offered from Spanish, Italian, Turkish and Surinamese restaurants on one of the best food streets in the city.
Now I’ll admit that as of late, this blog has fallen a bit to the wayside. The rigors of parenting along with the stress of hustling for new work all the time wears on me for sure, but I was just starting to not feel much for this blog anymore. Sure, it was a way to let the folks at home know we’re still alive, and share some photos of the baby and such, but what great impact does it have on the world? I honestly was starting to think that I just didn’t feel much for it anymore, like it was just one remote corner of the web that had not much bearing on much of anything.
I think things changed for me at the fair a bit.
As we sat, sipping Sangria and listening to the music, watching the Kitten while she ate rice with her fingers for the first time, a couple with a young daughter came up to us.
“I saw you over here and just had to say hi,” the woman said. “I read your blog. And your story is our story.”
It was a couple who’d moved to the ‘Dam by way of the States, like us, and she had been following our story here, relating as they went through the same things we did.
I felt, if not like a celebrity, like somebody recognized what I do.
Nobody ever came up to me and said “you’re the guy who wrote that mission statement for that marketing company,” or “I really loved the article you wrote for that trade magazine,” or even “when I read that catalog copy and saw that there were no spelling errors, I knew the proofreading had to have been your handiwork.”
But somebody saw me and recognized me from my blog.
And that’s all it takes sometimes.
So, we missed out on DIY.
But I really feel like, here, we’re actually starting to do it ourselves.