In some cases, words cannot describe most of our reflections but in others the mood of a picture can. During a fortunate rencontre over breakfast in Haarlem, with one of the most lovable artists i’ve ever met (it’s not that others i’ve met are less lovable it’s just that I haven’t met many yet), I stood, sat, stared and didn’t dare to comment on any detail my eyes laid sight on. Sometimes we feel speechless about heavy issues other times we feel the same about the issues we like. Vera Bruggeman is the name of our host, she’s Piet Van Steenis’ friend and Piet’s my friend. Carol, an old classmate and close friend from Beirut went all the way with me this summer, to meet Piet, Vera and Holland. There were many tentatives from my part to make Carol be less enthousiastic about touring the whole Amsterdam city,along with its touristic sites and cliches, but my arguments I guess, were not convincing enough.To me, Haarlem always felt like an ideal residential city to spend quality time in, especially by the market, lake and square district.
It’s true that our visit to see Vera was not intended to be productive in the sense where we planned on working with our hands,but it quickly turned that way though with my eyes half closed….for waking up early that morning, nothing much could be done…other than a guaranteed Fun. She had a technique that many of the children I worked with in Southern Lebanon knew,which was to paint on two different canvasses, let one kiss the other for a few minutes as she described it, with a facial expression to make it clearer..talking half Deutsche half English. Vera suddenly removed one small square painting from the other with a look that I interpreted as ” this simple technique will get us a quick surprise effect…. Guess what? Each of the two paintings has a new motif” .
Vera’s dog, the colors and light at her workshop along with her good spirit and delicious home made cake, made our day and happy we stayed till Thursday, the day we left Haarlem to go back to Paris, via Amsterdam. The book I read by Kyochi Katayama was my companion for the whole trip, between romantism and dramatism I had to visit the tgv mini bar, to order a glass of wine, and on the way visit the wc. The speed of the train was fast enough to make me loose my balance while walking between cabins :).
After Brussels comes Paris and “nous voila” there we are, back to Rue de Rome, where the train moving back and forth towards Gare du Nord, appears to us every day of those 2 weeks spent at the 17eme. So many art shows to see, so many people to meet, not long after Haarlem, we started feeling nostalgic. In Paris, there’s not enough time to enjoy a cup of tea and home made cake. The beautiful summer weather would incite us to sit at the terrace of a cafe, like other clients, scan most fashion victims passersby, arguing or holding hands, walking the dog or french kissing in a humanly or mechanical way when kissing their phones, hooked to their face. We sipped our sour espresso, backed up with a glass of tab water and a french menthol Bonbon left on the small round table with the check note.. The waiter would always make it clear that we’ve been sitting for too long while others are waiting to take our seat. A tip of a euro could make him smile again! After coffee I love Paris.