November 17th, 2007

juwelenkist, vanitas

Rich and Poor

Today I was in Amsterdam again for the course on Psalm 119. I was too early at La Verna, the cloister where I had to teach the class. There was still time for a coffee, but there is nothing to go to near the centre. Therefore I walked in the opposite direction of the cloister, through a tunnel under a highway to see if there was something I could go for coffee. There were huge buildings so I asked someone if there was a place where I could go. There was a coffee shop nearby. It was in the building of the World Fashion Centre Amsterdam. When I entered that place my mouth fell open and stayed open. It was so rich and luxurious; there were such expensive clothes. Walking back again to the cloister through the tunnel under the highway and further on, I realized the big difference between the two parts of the street, for the cloister is in a relatively poor suburb. This opposite between rich and poor so near to each other is in every city, but to experience it is another thing than knowing it. 

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Birthday in Zwolle

My mother turned eighty two weeks ago and we celebrated that today with our family. My brother and his partner had already given my mother a chair for her birthday, and we (my family of three) gave her today the Tarot of Prague. I had left it in the package, remembering how special it was to see the stamps of Prague and the Magical-Realist logo on the package when I received the deck for my birthday. We had fun already unpacking it, because it was packed very well and difficult to open is. My mother was very happy with the present. She is been to Prague often with my father and earlier on with my brother and me when we were kids. She pulled a card for the day and it turned out to be the Queen of Wands. On the card is written “Good cheer and let us be joyful”. That was appropriate for this day, and was quite comical as well because we opened it in a restaurant that was situated in a street called “joy”. 


We ended the day with dinner, which was nice, and we were lucky with our table which was round – so every one could get some attention. See the scales on the card? Yes, there was balance. 

During the day we did a quest for adults through the city. We learned that Zwolle has many houses from fourteenth century, tucked away in small alleys; beautiful old houses.It was the entrance of Sinterklaas (St. Nicolas) in the city. 


There was a parade with Sinterklaas, Black Peters and people on stelts. It made the atmosphere in the city cheerful and as if we walked in the middle ages somehow. 

My husband knew all the answers in the quest. Here the scales were not even, but we made lots of jokes about it, in a fiery Queen of Wands style.