Following my Heart Part 5: Manhattan

August 17, 2008


art by Mehdi

Our artist friend Mehdi aka Action Figure James Nice, has visited us in the Pacific NorthWest. His arrival brought back many memories from the magical time we all had back in Manhattan. It was a time where I fell in love with my husband and a time where I was welcomed by an international group of talented young artistic people.

We celebrated our lives with inspirational and spiritual conversations. We shared open hearted friendship. We admired eachother’s art. But most importantly we danced. We danced all together to the rythm of our beautiful lives and times in the most vibrant city I have ever visited.

See you on the dancefloor

Body and Soul1

How impressed I was by New York City when I first visited it in December 2001. There I was hand in hand with a guy I had met on the Island of Bali in Indonesia just a few months earlier. This guy, who is now my husband, opened up a whole new world to me.

It was not a world of glamour, glitter and riches which New York City seems to exude in songs, TV series and movies. It was a world only to be found if you were willing to go off the beaten path, hidden from the mainstream masses.

While holding me tightly by the hand, my new love lead me into the underground house scene of New York City and introduced me to his friends at a party called Body and Soul. It was at this party where I got showered by positive energy, non-judgemental vibes, accepting and openhearted people.

As soon as I set foot on the dancefloor, I felt free. It wasn’t important where I was from, what the color of my skin was, what sexual preference I had, or what religion I belonged to. It was not important how I looked or what clothes I was wearing. It was not important what degree or what job I had, where I was on the career ladder and how much money I earned.

How I danced my little booty off! How I danced and screamed and lifted my hands way up in the air. Weeee!


Finding my peeps

The beautiful individuals I met during that time in my life were all so damn colorful. They taught me how to choose my own path in life, how to pursue my dreams how to break free from conformism to a world I did not feel comfortable in. They also showed my how to create freely and with no hesitation. How to follow an artistic and creative path simply because there is no other way…

It was an interesting group of people who all loved to travel: Latino was from Italy, Linda from Iceland, Ouizee and Grady from Paris, Mehdi from Persia and so many more.

Untill this day I think of them with lots of love in my heart and it is because of them I have decided to turn away from working in corporate business and walk a different path in life.


drawing by me

Their adventurous spirits have inspired me to pack my bags and follow my heart. Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are. All of these people were and are close friends of the man I fell in love with and got married to.

And my life has been adventurous, colorful and so creative ever since then.

Today I will leave you with a song that brings me right back to our underground NYC house scene days.

Solu Music feat. Kymblee – Fade (original mix)

Thank you for reading and untill the next entry!

Following my Heart Part 4: Los Angeles

May 30, 2008


Regular readers of this blog must remember that I started a series called “Following my Heart”. In these series I write about my travels throughout the USA and ultimately when and how I became a knitter. I have been wanting to do this in chronological order but instead I will write about the highlights and lowlights for that matter, or whatever and where ever inspiration takes me.

Today I feel it is time to tell you about my travels to Los Angeles.

Pretending I am a movie star

Barely recovered from my time in Chicago, I suddenly find myself in Los Angeles, California. Guess where exactly we staid..? Hollywood!

I remember how wide eyed I was and how I would soak in all the visuals that this exciting city offered me. “Hollywood, I am in Hollywood…”, I would repeatedly say to myself as I walk down Hollywood boulevard all the while pretending that I myself am a moviestar.


The best thing of my stay in Hollywood was the people I met in the courtyard of our hotel. Every morning I would claim my spot at one of the tables close to the pool and chatter with other guests. And what colorful characters these guests were! How eagerly I would listen to what brought them to Los Angeles.


Danny, a young guy from NYC, had come all the way to Hollywood to become a p*o*r*n star. Will you believe me if I tell you that he even let me read the script he was supposed to memorize? Without blinking my eyes I flipped through it and congratulated him with his part in the movie.

Diane, a professor in english literature and recovering alcoholic, had written a script about her life and was trying to sell it to this crazy cigar smelling movie director. On the day of their meeting, Diane was so nervous and seriously needed a drink. I told her that was out of the question.
But when I saw the crazy cigar smelling director walk into the lobby of the hotel, I turned to her and said: “Let me get you a drink, Diane. I think you will need one”.

Enjoying life

How I enjoyed my time in Hollywood… We would go to beaches, have margaritas, be cheesy tourists and go on a bustour to the Hills in the hope to spot a celebrity.
We would go to parties, watch the rich and beautiful and be amazed at the lifestyle they lead.

I felt light as a feather and beautiful during that time in my life, everything was so super exciting and new. Not a care in the world I had; I had no work obligations, no study obligations… I was a woman of leisure.



It is hard to imagine that I was not a knitter in those days. If you would have bumped into me in Hollywood and if you would have told me that I would become a knitter and would end up working in a yarnshop, I would probably have laughed at you and snobbishly would have replied: “Me knitting? Domestic arts and crafts? You have got to be kiddin’ me”.

Thank you for reading and untill the next entry..!

Following my Heart: Part 3

November 30, 2007

Right after we got married, my husband and I had to get ready for a traveling life. My husband had been offered a job that would entail traveling throughout the USA. We felt so adventurous when we gave up our appartment in Manhattan and most of our belongings!

I vividly remember that feeling of freedom: leaving all that we belong behind, and just take off like that. Just him, me and 2 suitcases….Weeeeeee!!!

Toronto, Canada – Chicago, Illinois


The very first city we traveled to was Toronto in Canada. Just like in Manhattan, there were a lot of high rise buildings and just like in Manhattan, I felt so small in Toronto!

I spent many hours walking up and down Yong Street, wandering through the underground pathway malls, going to the Farmers Market building and figuring out how the transportation system was set up.

Everything was so incredibly foreign to me… I have to admit, I was kind of intimidated… I found everything to be SO BIG!

After a month it was time to travel to Chicago.


Again, everything seemed so incredibly big to me; the streets, the malls, the buildings… just everything. Like a little scared mouse, I would carefully walk the streets of Chicago. I was so incredibly shy and had to get used to the way people were and talked to each other.

I was so happy to see that downtown Chicago was adorned with flowers that reminded me of home: tulips!


It was in this town that I started to take pictures of the things that would catch my eye. And I was especially visually interested in some sort of patterns like these:

Patterns Patterns2

Not knowing why I was so visually interested in those images, I did not think about it and just made a lot of pictures. Now, two years later, it all makes sense…

It was such an exciting time for me… getting married, travel to two major North American cities, seeing so much new stuff. Fabulous for sure, but late at night, when all the excitement would die down, my mind would wander off to the Netherlands to my friends and family… and a pain in my heart was felt.

Af for Knitting
All stitches are picked up
After picking up all those stitches, I started with my rib section: knit 1, purl 1 with full twist, meaning that every knit stitch will be knitted in the back of the loop.

Now I am a fairly fast knitter, often times, my projects just fly off my needles and I make much progress. This k1, p1 ribbing with full twist, however, is so incredibly sloooooooooooooow. My word, it is killing me. What have I done, I ask myself. Why did I choose this painfully sloooooooooooow stitch????

When I see the results, though, I remember why… gasp, so beautiful! I love the crips and tight stitches! How pretty it looks. I am very very happy how this turns out.
crisp and tight stitches 2
Crisp and tight stitches

Just a few more inches…sigh… and then I can start with the second section of my garment. So far, so good!

Ribbing k1,p1 full twist

Thanks for reading and untill the next entry!

Following my Heart: Part 2

November 23, 2007


We got married in New York on a beautiful day in May, 2005. Only our parents and my husband’s brother attended our sweet and very small ceremony.

I remember how a light breeze ruffled my hair as I looked into the big amber eyes of my soon to be husband. I slipped my hands into his hands and as the ceremony began, we were smiling, smiling, smiling!

How did we meet you might wonder? How does a gal from Amsterdam end up with a guy from New York City?

Well, we met in a post office… somewhere on the magical Island of Bali…

Bali – Amsterdam – Manhattan

In August 2001 I traveled with my mom to the magical Island of Bali. How I loved the gentle spiritual and creative energy that was all around present on the island! I was surrounded constantly by enchanting nature, gorgeous beaches, friendly people and so much beautiful art!

One day while I was strolling down the streets of Seminyak, I wandered into a small post office to buy some stamps and postcards. As I entered the post office I noticed that the clerk was carefully packing a stunningly beautiful wood carved art of a Balinese Goddess.

The guy who was sending off this Goddess waited patiently for the clerk to be done while sitting on a bench. Because of his Italian features I assumed he was from Italy and I asked him how much it costs to send of such a big piece of art to Europe.

He rose up from his bench, walked up to me with a light swing in his movements as if he was dancing, and much to my surprise and amusement, out comes this thick New York accent and I could not help but giggle!

Several days later we had our first dinner date and as the sun was setting we found a romantic spot on the beach. I remember how we both gazed at the starry nightsky and how we both pointed at the many shooting stars we saw.

We only spend one evening with eachother on Bali. He was to leave the next day back to Manhattan and I never ever thought we would see eachother again.

We said goodbye to eachother at the end of August of 2001. Little did we suspect that only within 2 weeks something horrific was about to happen in Manhattan on September 11th.

He was in lower Manhattan while the attacks on the Twin Towers occured during that black day in history. Days after he called me and asked if he could please see me again and visit me in Amsterdam. “Life is too short”, I remember him saying, “It can all be over like that.”

And so began our long distance relationship. For 4 years we flew back and forth between Amsterdam and Manhattan untill we finally got married.

How perfect and at peace the world felt while we sat on the beach under the starry nightsky in Bali. And what horror occurs in that same “perfect” world we all live in.

Yes, life is too short… Please enjoy it and please grab every single opportunity to love and cherish every single moment with your loved ones. And please, let us not hate and destroy… bring forth love always and… create.

amsterdam2 NYC2

As for knitting

I am afraid that besides finishing some sock(lette)s, I haven’t done much knitting over the past days.

First sock finished Second sock finished

Instead, I have been very much enjoying ThanksGiving with my husband’s family in New York.

Today, we drove back to Hartford and while I was enjoying the beautiful autumnal colors of the trees my husband put his hand on mine and told me how incredibly grateful he was we met in Bali. I smiled and my heart swelled!

Thanks for reading and untill next time…

Following my Heart: Part 1

Following my Heart: part I

November 16, 2007


Yesterday I traveled to Hartford, CT to meet my husband who is there for work. While waiting in line to check my luggage, I looked around me to absorb the excitement one always finds at airports; the hustle and bustle of people hurrying to catch their flight, people being happy to leave, people being sad to leave. And as I am watching this all, my mind wanders off to that grey and dreary day in April of 2005 when I left the Netherlands.

Come with me as I start the series “Following my Heart” in which I tell you the story of my travels throughout the United States of America and how and when I became a knitter.

Spreading my wings

It was a grey and dreary day that day in April of 2005 when I left the Netherlands. As always, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was packed with travelers and I remember feeling the fast whirling energy of people on the go, nervous yet exciting arrivals and nervous yet sad departures.

Three beautiful ladies accompanied me to the airport to bid me farewell: my mom, and my two best friends Wally and Cartoon. We were giggly and giddy, not because we were happy but because we were nervous and we tried to push away our final goodbye as far as possible.

Wally with her long curly hair, petite as she was yet a grand personality, kept on looking at me with her big brown eyes and bravely tried to hide her sadness. Cartoon, who always has a naughty twinkle in her eyes, kept on holding me, resting her head on my shoulders while her long black hair tickled my cheek. And my mom, her darkbrown eyes soft and friendly smiled as she watched the three of us.

It was with pain in my heart when I decided to leave them, but there was a great joy for the reason why: to marry the man from New York City who I had met in August 2001.

When we no longer could postpone our farewell, we slowly walked to the security gate. How bravely they all pushed away their tears when I started to cry. They were strong, to make it more bearable for me. We hugged for the last time and as I walked away I looked back one more time.

All of a sudden, everything became silent, the busy sounds of the airport died down, and there was only me, Wally, Cartoon and my mom. Motionless I stood there for several seconds as if I wanted to freeze this moment in time.

My mom broke the spell by gently saying: “It’s okay, dear… you’d better go now”. I nodded… and walked away.

When my plane took off I just could not hold it together anymore and I cried so loud that the poor passenger next to me started to panic and so cutely tried to comfort me. “I am leaving my best friends and family”, I loudly sobbed as he petted my hand.

My family and friends knew I had to follow my heart. They knew that there was no other way for me. And allthough they love me dearly, and did not want to see me go, they so unselfishly accepted my departure, supported my choice and let me spread my wings.

There is no greater and no more unselfish love than that.

As for knitting

Great traveling project

Socks are perfect for traveling! While I knitted at the Pdx Airport waiting to board, I chattered away with two ladies I had befriended while waiting in the check in line. When one of them, told me she owned an Alpaca farm in Tuledo, Washington I nearly peed my pants and shouted “Really??? I am a knitter!” Needles to say, we had a lot to talk about.

My trip was long yet very pleasant because of my nice fellow travelers. I wore my textured tunic and got a lot of compliments by women! Even a guy made a nice comment. I was so proud to say: “I made it!” And smiled from ear to ear as I saw their eyes grow bigger in disbelief.

But the best compliment I got was from my husband. When I met him at his hotel, he just gasped at my tunic and gave me a big warm hug.

So now I am in a nice hotel somewhere in Hartford, CT. If you see a lady knitting away in the lobby, with a laptop on her side, come say hi. It most likely is me, Nancy from Getting Purly With It!

Hotel Lobby

Thanks again and untill the next entry!

Following my Heart: Part 2