Last night my gorgeous friend Anneke and her parents came for dinner. We had champs in my dad's mancave in the garden and when I looked around the room at everyone laughing and catching up I suddenly felt really fond of my fellow Dutchmen and their straightforward friendships. My dad loves having people round - he grew up in a huge family and last night he recalled how his house was always full of people when he was a boy. There would be neighbors, cousins, poor and wealthy people, learned people, footballers, business associates, girlfriends and boyfriends, and many others around the clock. My grandmother's housekeeper always had something cooking on the stove, often hare or pheasant from the hunt.
Last night when he was proudly pouring some of his best wine, I was reminded that every guest is a treasured guest in his house, regardless of their bank balance or social status or whether they can add value to his gathering. I have been a big city girl for twenty years now and I often miss these simple get-togethers with all kinds of different people. I love being part of a bustling big city like Hong Kong but (and I will use a bit of Dutch frankness here) generosity, loyalty, and inclusiveness are not exactly the pillars affluent big city social life is built on.
Nostalgia is always deceptive of course and I am sure the Dutch countryside is not all rozengeur and maneschijn (the scent of roses and the light of the moon - or in grammatically correct English: a bed of roses). But yesterday's lovely simple dinner made me think a little bit more about where I came from and where I am going, about values important to me and things I want to convey to my children. Thank you mum and dad, Anneke, Henriëtte and Joep for a lovely dinner.
Anneke shares my love of shoes and was a very willing participant when I asked for a blog picture of her Marc Jacobs mouse flats.
She wore them with skinny waxed jeans and a white blouse with pleating around the collar.
These may be my favorites of her extensive collection...
Some of Anneke's mouse flats - it's a good thing she has a part-time job at a shoe shop!
(the shop is Marjon Snieders)