Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter is on its way:

Just this past Sunday Amsterdam look like this. The smell of sun-dried leaves filled the air as crepuscular rays shined down. This morning while cycling to work, 'salt'–to melt the ice–had been sprinkled on bike paths in my part of the city (and perhaps the whole city). Winter is on its way. And, almost instantaneously, Amsterdam has become freezing cold.

Friday, November 11, 2011

On the way back from Madrid...


Here I sit, in Madrid, Spain, in terminal four of the Madrid-Barajas Airport. Terminal four is the new terminal, and it's beautiful; the way-finding system is far from perfect, but it accomplishes what it needs to, I imagine. Right now I'm staring out the window to the mountains/hills in the distance. It's a panoramic view that I currently have, and it's lovely. Lovely, such a British English word that's slowly creeped into my vocabulary since moving to Europe. As has 'bit'. As I type this I am also listening to Scarlet Johansson’s album 'Anywhere I Lay My Head'–simply stunning it is; takes a while to get into, and at times the music overpowers the vocals; he voice is a bit 'buried'; but her husky and raw voice is a pleasant change from the usual fare my ears are filled with. So Scarlet Johansson, Madrid and Europe; three seemingly disconnected entities, but, I imagine nothing is disconnected, if you can connect the dots. And I can.

I have been in Madrid for the past week living out of a hotel in the Chueca neighborhood of the city; I felt right at home amongst the gays, gentrifiers, dog walkers, flashy bars, and oh so wonderful boutiques (at one of which I picked up a new (and perfect) pair of brown boots that I'll have for years to come, as well as a new pair of pants from 'Le Freak'–the kind of pants that were super trendy for Dutch girls about two years ago, but are now finally being produced for men; the kind where the inseam is halfway to the knees–and they're fabulous).

One thing that was not so fabulous about this past week was that a delicious pizza place was located directly across from my hotel. Eat pizza in Madrid, I did. I didn't bring my running shoes to the city, and I am more than ecstatic to get home and go running through the streets of my beloved Amsterdam. I am highly partially to running over these red bridges by West 8 in the Oostelijk Hjavengebied. They're magical. Especially at night. I am really ready to return to Amsterdam; I miss it. We've become so close over the years. The years...wow. I can't believe that I moved to Amsterdam at the age of 22. A bold and brave move that has changed my life, forever. No matter on which continent I may find myself on in the future–Amsterdam will always be a piece of me. It has become my home.

While in Madrid, I was setting up an exhibition; the second location of the exhibition; the other being the Netherlands last year. I handled all the coordination, communication and budget for this exhibition. I am amazed at how much I've grown up over the years, both personally and professionally. I have thrown himself into the world, and the world has professionally responded profoundly, and positively.

The exhibition I have been setting up here in Madrid had its opening last night, and to my happiness (and with much thanks to my excellent public relations skills, might I say (and some beautifully designed posters, too!)), it was a full house–with a great opening debate and lecture, and lots of wine and tapas being thrown around afterwards. I passed on the wine, instead opting for water; I was exhausted after the week of set-up, and I still am. But in the end, it's good to know that I am capable of overseeing production of an entire exhibition, for one of the Netherlands most respected designers at that. Over the last three and a half years I have published many articles I'm proud of, in some of the greatest design magazines, edited four books, practiced and refined my stream of conscious writing beyond belief-and have become really happy with who I am in the world, where I am in the world, and I have become even more convinced that I've found my professional slice that fits within the globe. Everyday at work, I get to play with pictures and words, and tell stories. Life is so wonderful; I will always remember that, no matter what. I mean; we're alive!

And speaking of being alive; I am really coming to understand my body, how it works, how it moves, how I can control it, and how–with this aspect being the most important–how my body is connected to my mind, and how the two function together. I have come to learn which foods my body can easily digest, which foods stick to me-no matter how often I run, and just how beautiful the human body is. But at the same time, not. At the end of the day we are just animals; to quote Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, we're all just 'reacting to each others smell.' Is that true? Pheromones certainly do play a part in life-I'm convinced. Hence why I wear this; because it smells that damn good. And it makes a bold, yet subtle statement, and lingers in the room, even after I've left. Thank you Tom Ford.

Li Edelkoort's main forecast for 2012 touched on how the world's population (though most probably she means the West) are entering the emancipation of men, and how the archetype of the man is changing; slender, Germanic, and in touch with his feminine side; as all men were once first female in their mothers' wombs. Apparently, humans are growing a closer bond to animals, perhaps, as we try to understand the animal in us. And therefore, this season, and next, anything animal sells. So...as Wednesday was a regional holiday in Madrid, I went shopping, to take a break from the chaos of unpacking boxes and perfectly hanging oversized panels and purchased the most over-the-top knitted ski hat, complete with 'fur' trim on the interior. And here in Madrid the weather has been mostly pleasant, however-it has been colder than I expected Spain to be, during the autumn/winter cusp. It's been about 12C and slightly sunny, and apparently winter has struck Amsterdam. So, I am anticipating colder temperatures once I return home–if only to break-out my new hat, as I try to understand the animal in me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Madrid:

I am in Madrid at the moment–setting up an exhibition. This is my first time to the city, and I spent my birthday here, which was Sunday. Madrid is the third largest city within the EU, after London and Berlin–who knew?! It is, beautiful.