Revisiting the past

It’s hard to stop the memory machine, my brain, thinking, sometimes even obsessing, about the events of the last few days. It has been hard to fall asleep, despite having skipped a few nights; and then I wake up late, hours past my usual wake up time at sunrise.

I spent 24+ hours in Amsterdam, walking, talking with my friend A. who helped me through the difficult breakup with Peter time 37 years ago. We revisited every corner of our memory in the hope of being able to put all that to bed, including how our relationship had evolved over these three-plus decades.

The weather was nasty on Friday and I felt sorry for the tourists in the canal boats who couldn’t see much through the window panes with the rains streaking against them. If they had only one day for Amsterdam they’d had bad luck.

Saturday was better. We visited the superbly renovated Hermitage museum. An exhibit of Hollanders van de Gouden Eeuw (The Dutch in the Golden Century) revealed how much the current approach to governance has its roots in how wealthy Dutch Burghers organized themselves to govern the country. A basic tenet was that poverty and hunger were bad for commerce because such conditions would only foment dissatisfaction and revolt; as a result a system of caring for the ‘unfortunate’ was put in place by the wealthy burgers as both a Christian obligation and a way to keep the population if not happy, then at least temporarily satisfied and beholden to their benefactors. Over the years this system of paternalistic caring has been handed over to the state, now more as a human right than a gesture of Christian compassion.

When we re-emerged from the museum the sun was out and things looked up. Amsterdam is a great place to walk around and watch people when the sun is out. We had a nice lunch in a tiny place, a simple ‘broodje met oude kaas’ (a roll with old Dutch cheese) and a glass of karnemelk (buttermilk) which is about as good a lunch as one can get.

Back at A’s house we sorted out my return trip by bus to Aalsmeer from where I will return to Schiphol tomorrow.

2 Responses to “Revisiting the past”


  1. 1 Spoozhmay Manandoi May 31, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Hey Sylvia jaan,

    Wat een korte bezoek!

    I really miss you. Usualy as I read your journal, I think about you. It is very good that you are getting better with your arm operation but I am really sorry for the passing away of Peter. Sterkte!

    I wish we had a chance of visiting each other. Who knows maybe once I have the chance to come and visit you at your home 🙂

    Wish you a safe tripe ahead,

    Best regards,

    Spoozhmay

    >

  2. 2 Sylviav Vriesendorp May 31, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks lieve Spoozhmay, and i didn’t even call, there were just too many phone calls. I will be back in Holland for less than 24 hours in less than 2 weeks to be at my brother’s (re) marriage.

    Wat is je mobiele nummer? Zal ik je op zijn minst bellen.

    Liefs Sylvia On Sun, May 31, 2015 at 7:37 PM Spoozhmay Manandoi wrote:

    > Hey Sylvia jaan, > > Wat een korte bezoek! > > I really miss you. Usualy as I read your journal, I think about you. It > is very good that you are getting better with your arm operation but I am > really sorry for the passing away of Peter. Sterkte! > > I wish we had a chance of visiting each other. Who knows maybe once I have > the chance to come and visit you at your home 🙂 > > Wish you a safe tripe ahead, > > Best regards, > > Spoozhmay > > > > > On May 31, 2015, at 8:01 AM, Sylvia’s Journal > wrote: > >


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