Who would have guessed that the highlight of a trip to Nijmegen would be a furniture store.

My somewhat underwhelming excursion to Socialist Nijmegen last early Sept was punctuated by unkempt bus stops, roads with no visible driving lanes, and more homeless people than I can remember seeing in this country in total. Combined with the unenviable weather and my laptop eating up all the photos I took, there was little to remember of the city apart from one memorable store that fed that one sin I’ve always fought against. Envy.

While walking the nondescript shopping streets in the old section of town, I discovered a design store with one thing that promised to fill a void in our flat — a cover for our all-too-white walls. I’d long wanted something personal, something interesting, and fingers crossed, something not too expensive — and after years of searching and waiting, I found something just that. Vermeer, the Dutchest of Dutch artists, a man once played by Colin Firth, and painter of Girl With A Pearl Earring fame, was all it took.

After purchasing it online five days ago, my very own Girl With A Pearl Earring in all her pixelated glory now graces our wall. Thank you, Ixxi. It took all day to set up but you’ve certainly made my life Ixxi-er, more interesting, and just a little bit more personal.

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