Amsterdam is a big small town, people say. And they’re be right.

Everytime I meet someone, I usually find out that they worked somewhere I worked, or know a friend of a friend, or something along those lines.

For example, at our housewarming party I had the chance to meet Chiara’s boss for the second time – it turned out we had chatted at our landlord’s housewarming party a couple of weeks earlier, and had no idea that I was married to his newest employee.

A filmmaker I’ve been making plans to meet with (who is already a friend of a friend), has just informed me that his girlfriend knows me from the Storytelling Nights.

And so on. There are many of those types of stories. It’s one of the things I love most about living in Amsterdam – the easy transference of friendship and goodwill and familiarity. It just flows like the canals all around the city.

But by far the best smalltown moment I had here was yesterday.

I was cycling home after a day of filming in Belgium. It had been a long day, but I needed to stop at the Albert Heijn on the way home to get some dinner. While I was locking my bike up and listening to The Champs podcast, I became vaguely aware of a voice calling my name.


And then again:


I looked up, and there was my mom. My mother! She was doing the recycling outside the supermarket. It’s probably been twenty years since I bumped into my mom at the supermarket. And so we went in for a shop together.

And I know that probably won’t happen all that often – as my folks are only visiting for a couple of weeks, so I made sure to really savour the surprise of spontaneous grocery shopping with my mom, because it may be a while before it happens again.