Monday, July 28, 2008


My day was filled with kismet (n. destiny, fate). I met my friend Cindy for coffee, which is always a treat. We talked about writing and people we knew in common - like our friend, Ann, who was missing from our meeting. I'm so glad to have friends here who are going to be here for a while and with whom I can form a long lasting friendship. I've missed that since leaving NYC. I think I've whined about that - people moving away or dying. I have several friends here - you know who you are - but I like to know a lot of people. It's just how I'm built.

Anyway, towards the end of our allotted time, we met a very nice American woman who just happened to be doing laundry across the street from where we were sitting. She'd walked by and then walked by again and sat down. The minute she said, "Coke, please" to the waiter, I thought, Oh good. An American. I like sitting around Americans. When Cindy was in the WC, we caught eyes and started talking. She'd heard us chatting and commented on it.

Her name is Madison Hall - how great is that name? She was just passing through Amsterdam going from the Arctic and the Northern tip of Norway on her way to Germany. She's studying climate change in Michigan. She was a font of information about everything from what is going on in terms of talk of alternate energy, what is likely to happen with the environment (not good news, folks) and ideas for expanding my writing. After Cindy left, I stuck around and we talked for another two hours. She's one of those amazing people I just feel like I've known for a long time. She had tons of ideas. I was taking notes the whole time.

Oddly, when I woke up this morning, I had forgotten that I was supposed to meet Cindy - and we almost canceled, but didn't. And Madison happened to be doing her laundry around the corner from a hotel she almost didn't stay in. See? Kismet. You can't plan things like that. Now I felt like I've met a new friend.

I've written before about how great it is to talk to someone who's from the US. (That's not at all meant to diminish the lovely people I know who are not American.) And there's something different about talking to someone who is visiting Amsterdam as opposed to someone who lives here. Both are great, just different flavors of great. It's a perspective thing. There are all those references, like a secret language.

Sometimes Fred and I will be watching Family Guy and I laugh and say, "Did you get that?" and he didn't because it was some two second reference to a particular episode of a Seventies sit com that didn't make it over here. I like that so much!

So right after I left Madison, I rode around the corner and my friend, Sean, was riding down the street and I stopped and had coffee with him at a cafe on the corner. (coincidence?) I'd talked about websites with both Madison and Sean and then Fred and I went to a seminar in the evening on being a freelancer in Amsterdam (at the Kamer van Koophandel - Chamber of Commerce - all in Dutch for three hours) and they asked the question "Is a website important?" And Madison had talked about ways to get your website/blog higher up on The Google. (The answer is yes, but they didn't come to a consensus.) It was a whole day of things working out really well.

Of course it turned out to be a very humid day and I didn't get a lot done when I got home, but I love surprises like that. Meeting new people and seeing people I like. There should be more days like this.

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