How have you been, sweetie? I hope the past 2 weeks have been fabulous for you. They truly were for me. I had some crazy adventures visiting my friends and family in NYC and Chicago, and wow…it felt so good to be back in the good ol ‘ US of A. I had so many adventures – too many to mention, but I did make my Top 10 American Takeaways (aka Carryouts) for you. Here goes:
- I worked out every day in Brooklyn – half of the people in my Boot Camp class were hipsters (tattoos all over the place, nipple/nose rings, blue hair, etc) and the other half were Orthodox women, joining me for crunches and squats donning black tights, long skirts, wigs, and hats. We all sweated, laughed, and smiled together. Sweat unites all. Keep sweating with strangers, and you’re bound to make new friends soon.
- I had a Cragel. This is the Cronut 2.0. Say what?! A Cronut is when a croissant and a donut have a baby. It was invented in 2013 and people would form a line around the block for a Cronut when it hit the foodie scene. The Cragel is the follow-up and it’s when a bagel mates with a croissant. It was lovely, but I wouldn’t wait in line for hours for one. (I was amazed that I bought it from the creator himself, and I was the only one in his shop….maybe the fad is now over?)
- I spent 15 dollars (!!!) on a cold-pressed green juice (I missed them so much – I make them every morning at home, and will sell you mine…for just 4 euros!) and a hemp latte (how hipster can you get?!?). They were marvelous but my wallet cried. I really appreciated and missed my slow juicer. And so did my wallet.
- I took my kids to some of my favorite places as a kid – Central Park Zoo, FAO Schwartz, and the top of the Empire State Building. I also took them to the 9/11 Memorial to honor my friends who died. I cried for a long, long time there. It felt good.
- My BFFs in the States have not changed a bit- and now our kids are BFFs too. It’s so beautiful to see how love transfers and grows form one generation to another.
- I’ve been called a ‘workaholic’ many, many times by Dutch people. I work hard, and have long days. Just about every day. However, you’ve never met my friends and family in the States. No one sleeps much, no one stops, and no one ever complains about how busy they are. It’s just how they live. They make me look like I’m on a constant yoga retreat. Why is it that being busy is often considered negative in Holland? In the States, if you’re busy, you’re living the dream/making money/getting shit done/having fun/spreading the love/expanding your career/ all or most of the above. I’m sure it’s just a matter of hours before someone says to me (again) ‘Waarom doe je zoveel? Je werkt veel te hard!” Come spend time with my peeps in the States. Then you’ll know.
- I was having dinner with my brother’s wonderful family when my nephew announced that he had water polo practise the next day. At 5:45. My sister-in-law said “Ok, I’ll make you dinner before you go.” Emmit said ‘No, mom, it’s 5:45 in the morning.” Without batting an eye, she said “Ok. I’ll make you breakfast before you go.” Mother of the Year goes to her! (This happens all the time – the kids, aged 12-17, have days from 5:45 am to 9:30 pm sometimes, filled with after-school activities, sports, clubs, volunteering, etc. Are they student-aholics, then, I wonder?) 😉
- I am probably the only person who made a video inside the staircase of the Empire State Building. On the 80th floor we were given the choice to wait about 20 minutes for the elevator, or take the stairs up 6 flights to the 86th floor observatory. We opted for the stairs (because we needed a workout because we had cragels). On every floor for the next 6 floors there was a man in a red velvet uniform standing there saying ‘go on – just X more flights! You can do it! Keep up the good work! GO GO GO!”. This optimism and cheerful attitude was something we saw everywhere we went. We always do. You’ve seen it too if you’ve ever been to the States. People smiled and wished us ‘a great day’ everywhere, and although many people visiting the States feel it’s fake, I’d rather be surrounded by fake optimism than genuine negativity any day. It really works. It’s hard to be a sourpuss when the person selling you your cheesecake calls you ‘sweetie’ and says ‘have a great one’ as you leave, and wants to high-five your kids. (Or doing a group ‘YEAH, BABY! WOOOOOT!’ at the end of a hot yoga class. I’ve never cheered during one of those before – yeah for us! #teamsweatunited)
- It’s a very good thing if the gym opens at 5 am every day. Because the Dunkin Donuts opens at 5 every day too.
- I feel really at home in the States. I feel really at home in the Netherlands. However, I’ll don’t think I’ll ever feel 100% American or 100% Dutch. I’m always on the outside looking in, and I love what I see. I’m so very grateful to have spent a wonderful time with some of my favorite people. And the next time you feel busy or overwhelmed – try my new mantra – “I’m too blessed to be stressed!”
Have a super week, dear! I’m so happy to be back in your inbox again!
Wit lof xx buffi