A few days ago I got a wordpress notification letting me know it was my 3rd birthday within the community. It was funny to realize that I started the Amsterdive project precisely 3 years ago and that I only really went for it this year. That’s quite a delay.
Right now, I’m sitting at Rum Baba, at the Pretoriusstraat in Amsterdam East, as I used to, when I lived in the area, and I just had this epiphany of how this place played a special part in the Amsterdive’s kick-start.
I started coming to Rum Baba at a time when I had this ‘sketch of a blog’ with a hideous design, to which I had written a few articles on Amsterdam, to help friends out, who were visiting the city. This was a project I couldn’t stop thinking about. It had become an obsession. Problem was I felt totally overwhelmed by all the brilliant ideas I had, for the sole reason that I didn’t know how to make them happen. I was basically a disabled person – technologically speaking. I was no expert in photography, although I insisted on doing it myself. And how would I possibly manage all the social-media involved in the process? And would I EVER to be able fully express myself in a language which was not my native one? It was like a mental war phase.
So I started how I always start. I searched for a place where I could get in the right mood to make something happen. Because something quite crucial had to happen in my life. I just didn’t know how. So I turned to coffee.
Looking back, I felt I could only work at a place that generally looked as creative as I felt inside, and that would feel cozy and welcoming to wonderers like me. So when Rum Baba happened in my life, I realized that such a premise actually existed. And the whole “neighborhood-cafe” idea got a new standard. For instance, I learned the meaning of “banana bread” – I think half my blogposts were written on banana bread fuel, by the way.
But maybe the most impressive in all this, is the unpretentiousness of the place ( a rare characteristic in Amsterdam 2016). First of all, the people behind the counter don’t think brewing a cup of coffee is giving birth to the holy-grail. They make you feel YOU are more important than the coffee (imagine that). Second, this is a venue where color is king, something that clashes with the minimalistic trends all over universe, but that makes me feel home and inspired. It also has wooden tables, lots of light, newspapers, wi-fi, plants, and the smell of fresh baked goods. And finally I was surrounded by other people working behind laptops, so I didn’t feel like the only robocop in town anymore.
Here I sketched the design and logo of my blog, I brainstormed ideas for blog posts, and crucial meetings took place. Countless ones with my friend Jan ( who is also my adviser for everything blog, technology & social-media related), and it was also at Rum Baba that I met Andra from Amsterdamming, who has been a great source of inspiration and stimulus. So, as you see, emotional connection is everything for me.
Last words of praise for Rum Baba: filter coffee, banana bread, cappuccino, vegan bars, avocado sandwich.