Figuring out which soup is chicken in a Dutch supermarket when you're feverish is a daunting task. I could have asked someone, but simply forcing one foot to step in front of the other in a vaguely normal fashion felt like summiting Kilimanjaro without a sherpa or even a water bottle. Conquering my squeamish belief that it's rude to walk up to someone in a foreign country and assume they speak my language was really too much to ask on the day that the insides of my stomach made an abrupt and brutal reappearance. I insist on being a pansy about this, even though everyone in Amsterdam does speak my language - even the yoga classes are conducted half in Dutch, half in English. I should probably just get over myself. But conquering deeply entrenched beliefs and getting over oneself are definitely too much to ask when the only thing between you and what feels like death is a mug of chicken soup. All of this to say, would a convincing graphic of a plump and obvious chicken be too much to ask, Dutch soup makers?
Panda by Brian Andreas. Because he does things like that.
Traveling by yourself to random countries for months at a time can get lonely. I'm pretty good at being alone. I'm even reasonably good at being lonely. But at some point, being good at something stops being a good reason to do it. So you start dating instead.
There was the Italian man who wore his hat through dinner. There was the man who somehow found me on a random bridge after I'd manage to miss the very obvious landmark at which we were supposed to meet. Two days in a row. I missed it twice. Despite having been there many times before. My brain is missing the GPS component that comes standard in most models.
But the true winner in my own personal Dating Olympics was the guy who went to the police station with me instead of to the museum. Because my purse had been stolen on my way to meet him. HI. I JUST MET YOU. HELP ME FIGURE OUT ALL MY SHIT.
When we got to the police station - after I almost started crying into the iPad he very nicely let me use to skype the credit card companies, credit card companies that really really do not want to send replacement cards to the Netherlands - we learned that the efficient and genial Dutch cops had already nabbed the guy. They returned a very strange selection of items - my credit cards and my makeup and my umbrella. But not my purse or my sweater or the keys to my bike lock. But they were very apologetic about making us wait a whole fifteen minutes and told us about how they found the thief sitting in bushes (really) and so the cops crept around the building and hopped out from behind it to wave a cheery five fingered hello before tackling the guy.
If you have to sit in a police station and give a police report, you may as well do it in Amsterdam. Thanks for getting my debit card and my lip gloss back, guys.
On our second date, we did that whole nice dinner, night stroll along the Amsterdam canals thing. This would have been the best date in the world, were I not starting to feel queasy. I thought I was just low energy, maybe an adrenaline let-down from the whole purse thing. It wasn't until I was pedaling home like a 93-year-old grandmother instead of zipping around as many Dutch people on cell phones as possible that I realized I'd contracted the flu. Stopping on the side of the road and reintroducing myself to my lamb entree confirmed it.
First date, purse gone. Second date, flu. Third date...accidental arson? Horsemen of the apocalypse? Dinner theater?