The opening of La Buena Vida on the Fahrenheitstraat in Den Haag has given the residents in De Bomenbuurt, something more than just a culinary gift shop or espresso bar, it has provided individuals living here a place to connect with their neighbors. Since we opened two months ago we have a host of “regulars” who remind me of the cast of characters in the TV sitcom Cheers! This is one of the unanticipated joys of our everyday journey at La Buena Vida.
As I write this post, my husband is enjoying his first cappuccino of the day in our tea room (yes, it is raining today!) with one of these folks: Tom. Tom is in his late 50′s, lives alone and comes almost every day to start his day with a cappuccino, the newspaper, and a gab with Paul on recent events.
I have met some wonderful people: take Maude, a woman who has been searching for a home to buy in this neighborhood, and was staying with a friend who had no internet. She came in the second day we opened and has been
in every day since. She comes with her laptop, enjoys a latte macchiato, and chats with me about her progress. Because Paul and I had our own real estate practice when we lived in California, she seeks our opinions, while enjoying our garden patio. She actually found her real estate agent (makelaar) while sitting in our tea room one afternoon. She also asked me one day for a pedicure recommendation, and my mom had just gone to Clarissa on the Goudenregenplein, and sang her praises, so I gave that information to Maude. Maude made an appointment, loved the results and then Clarissa and her boyfriend came in for a coffee after hearing about our place from Maude….and yes, Maude did get an offer successfully negotiated on a place close by and will have her keys mid-October.
One day another regular came in, and I introduced Neve (an Irish woman raising her daughter alone here in the Netherlands) to Maude, and they have become fast friends with a lot in common. We missed Neve the past couple of weeks as she has just returned from a trip to New York City to promote her upcoming book, The Singing Warrior to be published by Summertime Publishing on the 30th of November. I have read an extract of her book and her life journey, and this is a woman who has endured significant pain in her life and yet continues to be one of the sunniest people I have met.
Her tagline for her book is:
The Singing Warrior: Finding Happiness after a past filled with pain
This is a story of survival. Raped inside a wardrobe by the father of one of her school friends when she was just nine years old, an Irish Catholic growing up in Dublin who was called the Whore of Babylon by the nuns because she was left-handed: this was just the beginning of a life of abuse. Singing saved her life and her sanity.
I know I will read her life story when it is published because I am always drawn to people who have overcome some challenge in their life and succeeded despite their travails. But I digress…
Then there are Pio and Ipek: two more gems we have met during our two months here. She works for ReStyle across the street, and always has a smile on her face and something kind to say. Her husband Pio, a jurist (attorney) who lost his job six months ago, has volunteered at every corner to help us with our endeavor…it is because they just “get” what La Buena Vida is all about! Pio spent a whole day in June helping Paul and another friend lay our brick patio. He also worked with a friend of ours who came from the USA to cover our store for five days in July so we could get a much needed getaway to Nice. Then whenever Bailey has a voetbal game, he covers so we can both go enjoy the good life. When we were under a time crunch to get everything priced before our grand opening, both Pio and Ipek came in and worked all day helping us price items, and merchandising the shelves. These are two people who give because they want to, not because they expect something in return… this is how a good life is achieved! They also enjoy one or two cappuccinos a day at our gathering spot.
We of course also have friends and family who enjoy the casual friendly atmosphere here, but it is especially the new people we have met through this journey that add that something extra to our lives…thank you to everyone for sharing the good life. Many EX-PATs enjoy coming here, because of my American heritage, and good English (or more appropriately mediocre Dutch!).
The unspoken invitation of a place where people know your name, the way you take your coffee and the happenings in your life is here at La Buena Vida…come join us for a cappuccino and meet the gang. Also, don’t miss our special upcoming event:
Holiday Gift Basket & Wine-tasting Preview on the 23rd of September from 6pm-9pm at La Buena Vida Fahrenheitstraat 582 Den Haag
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