I already wrote last week that Gouda still feels like home for me. So, being down with flu and manuscript fever, it was the perfect place to do a bit of last minute Sinterklaas shopping.
I do visit Gouda almost weekly. The cheap supermarket there has good parking space (better than the one near me), I love their thriftshop and I also go there to buy office supplies.
And I've been to Gouda to visit a dear highschool friend. She found me through Facebook and she is living in Gouda now. Which is kind of weird since we grew up in a very different town, far (for Dutch measures) from here. It's a small world.
But I hadn't been to the old town for a while. And yet I immediately felt at home. I knew where to find the good shops and I knew where fun little shops come and go each year. I smelled the incense of "that New Age shop" (that still is going strong where it's always been - as is the Christian bookshop) and strolled along the canals like I did twenty years ago. I saw myself walking down the Kleiweg, first pregnant, then with the double twin carriage, and then pregnant with the double twin carriage. I saw women with toddlers and was reminded of my own kids at that age. That made me feel really nostalgic and could almost imagine myself living two decades ago again (it sounds even longer ago when you say it like that).
Luckily I was distracted by someone that wanted me to donate money for a good cause. She asked if I had children. Oh, that's such a mean trick to make you weak... But than she asked how old my 'little ones' were and I giggled. 'Well, I think they're your age!' That did bring me back to down to earth, all right.
Since I was in the neighborhood, I popped in at my optician's. I had to have a checkup, but forgot to call to make an appointment. But she had time. A lot of time, since we chatted away for more than half an hour. We have known each other for fifteen years, I think. My eyes were a bit better again. But that's not good at my age. If this keeps up, reading glasses may be needed (or bi-focal contactlenses, but I really like the contacts I have right now).
I got all philosophical and thought that this is proof that people change a lot faster then the places they live and I had few vague thoughts about the transitoriness of men and the lastingness of towns like this (Gouda is almost 800 years old).
But then I wanted to take the passage next to the C&A back to the car park and that was not possible. That whole little shopping center was gone. Oh well. Nothing lasts forever.