30 August 2008

Charleston, coffee, Amsterdam and life

Evenings play tricks on me. While the rest of the world (well, obviously that part of the world that happens to share the same hemisphere and time zone with me) is more or less slowing down, pulling to a hault, merging itself in to the restful pastime, this particular individual, Anya, seems to feel restless. Always. When the sun goes down and dives beyond the horizon, my part that’s responsible for my emotions and their role in my life always stirs from a day-time sleep and orchestrates my further night-time being. Hence in the evenings I become a phantasier*.

I’ve brought this up, for I got a judicious and perfectly excusable ground for this. As of late, I’ve been a charleston girl. My story goes like this.

A few days back I came to the final conclusion that I missed my coffee. In general brushstrokes, I should mention that since I arrived in Amsterdam – and this memorable event is now recorded under the date August 14, 2008, in my journal – a genuine coffee mug hadn’t passed my lips. And as much as I hate bland ‘coffee’ that’s so commonly sold in supermarkets worldwide (dutch ones didn’t resist much to the bland coffee expansion either) I thought I should wait until I find a special something. And with all kinds of waiting I employ a simle concept: you’ll get and learn everything you need to own and to know (almost a pun) when due time arrives, and – this is a crucial part – when you are receptive enough. A few days back such a ripe time reached me, and I consequently found myself on a doorway of T’Zonnetje**.

Initially, I read a number of hearty reviews of this place on the internet (you can’t do without it nowadays, don’t you even try). So when I happened to be in Haarlemmerbuurt (Haarlemmer area) myself, I even didn’t intend to resist my wish to drop in.

First, it is an old charming dutch building, and to my mind, that in itself is an eye-candy. Second, it’s so palpable how the owners (in fact, this amazing establishment has been functioning literally for ages, since 1858 exactly) are passionate about and take their pride in keeping the place so atmospheric and homey.

After navigating my way through numerous shelfs filled with different sorts of tea (loss and in tea bags), coffee (in beans, or as you wish, ground right on the premises), tea- and coffetime accessories, chocolates (!!!), winking at two sleepy dogs (you usually wink at dogs too, don’t you), and familiarizing myself with other entertaining things, I asked a lovely lady, the shop owner, to recommend me a coffee to my taste. We didn’t even notice how we got engaged in a lively conversation***. We even reached the stage of compliments-exchange:

A shop owner: where do you come from?
Me: From Russia.
A shop owner: Oh, do you? But you are not blonde.
Me: Somebody should not be. Giggle.
A shop owner: You look like a charleston lady. I love your style. Laughing so sincerely.

Before repairing to the outdoors I asked her for how long she herself has been managing this business. As it appeared to be, the whole enterprise was on sale a decade ago, so she bought it eventually. And as an afterword she also added: ‘Earlier I used to work in social help for many years, so I always wanted to do something nice after my retirement too. ‘T Zonnetje, this is what I am doing now.’ Might I only add, she is making a great deal of seeking souls happy.

As I left the shop, I can assure you I walked with a sertain spring (a ‘bounce’) in my steps that might be typical for a charleston dancer. At least, this might partially explain why I received so many glances of a pure amusement from passers-by. Or was it a fragrant trace from a bag with freshly ground (at my polite request) strong sicilian coffee I left ‘T Zonnetje with?

Now when the evening approaches, I set on a jazz melody from early thirties, brew myself a shot of amazingly tasteful coffee and drift away into my phantasies. About charleston, about Amsterdam, about life.

*A phantasier, a person who makes up phantasies. Like a story-teller, or more likely, a dreamer but with a slightly lunatic touch, I think.

** t’ Zonnetje stands to a diminutive sun in english.

*** And after she mentioned she will be serving home-made pies along with tea or coffe in a tea room upstairs every Saturday starting from September I could almost hug her. It was really that close.

‘T Zonnetje (closed on Sundays)
Haarlemmerdijk 45
Tel: 020 623 00 58

In no spicific relation to the story above, below are a few shots entirely particuliar to me.

I feel the fall. I see its silent approach. I hear it.


Cookiemouse said...

Are you still in A'dam?

Cookiemouse said...

Maybe we could meet in OBA sometime?

Michelle J said...

Anya, another wonderful post my friend!!

I can almost taste the coffee you know??


anya said...

Cookiemouse - I'd love to! Could you only tell me what/where OBA is?

Michelle - readers like you inspire amateurs like me to try and humbly embody their thoughts into words, you know? Coffee shared with a friend (even through a post) is a precious experience. So, thanks!

Michelle J said...

I should be thanking you!!!

Agreed though that coffee shared with a friend is a wonderful time!

Your no amateur!!