This morning, as rain poured down in Portland for the first time in months, Valarie mentioned that it reminded her of an unexpectedly wonderful moment during our visit to Amsterdam last year. Turns out it was a year ago today.
We had visited two well-known museums (Reijksmuseum and Van Gogh) in the southwestern part of Amsterdam and began to browse through a series of shops, galleries and cafes when suddenly the rain began to fall hard. We ducked into one sleepy little cafe thinking we'd grab a quick coffee/tea until the rain lifted a few minutes later. We ended up staying for an hour as the shower turned out to be more than a shower.
After seeing the proprietor fry up a massive Dutch pancake for another customer, I ordered one for myself. But first, I had fun filming the entire process, as she worked a massive fry pan and continuously flipped my pancake, which was more than a foot wide. After a healthy dollop of melted chocolate, I happily gobbled it down and sank into a food coma.
Valarie, meanwhile, had made friends with the resident cat, Mickey, who crawled onto her lap and proceeded to stay for virtually our entire stay. In fact, we stayed longer than expected largely because Valarie didn't want to make Mickey get up (which I concurred with). So after my pancake began to digest a bit more, I ducked outside to snap a few quick photos. I wound up discovering a huge bird in a tree just outside that I think was a stork or heron or something like that.
Everybody complains about the rain, and when it came that day in Amsterdam we were initially frustrated to be thrown off-track from sightseeing. But it made for an unexpected moment of bliss, the kind you can only enjoy when the gray skies and dropping water force you to explore not just a different plan, but a different way of being.