SHAM WITH SIHAM

The soul-sucking routine that’s plagued my entire week this week was finally interrupted by a welcome Friday night dinner with an ex-colleague and her significant other. Siham, a Syrian woman so unfiltered it’s a wonder she’s not a spinster living with a dozen cats and creepy porcelain dolls, is one of the rare people I got along well enough at work and kept in touch with even after she left. After discovering a couple of weeks ago that there was a highly-regarded Syrian restaurant on crazy Warmoesstraat in the city center, apparently the only one of its kind in these parts, all it took was a quick WhatsApp message to set a date to see her and her boyfriend, Sven, months after our last meeting in early December. A Friday night Syrian feast was in our future.

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Leaving work and walking over to the restaurant took a quick 15 minutes, which meant I was easily an hour too early for dinner time. While I risked looking like a streetwalker open for business, luckily the place was ready to receive guests for the evening, and after waiting for Teko to leave work, park the car, and walk over to where I was nervously standing, we decided to both wait for our dinner dates comfortably inside instead. We sat at what I thought was the best seat in the house, by the window facing the canal and Damrak, and whiled the time away chatting routelessly and enjoying the million-dollar views until our guests arrived.

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After a near-endless stream of appetizers and entrees and unladylike dinner talk, the meal ended up being a fun, foggy blur, something which usually happens when good company make time pass by so easily. Siham was her usual candid self, something I still appreciate, and her boyfriend Sven looked comfortably laidback, perhaps the result of a wine or two. Teko, thankfully, enjoyed the meal – mostly – and I relished the fact the filling and satisfying food coupled with the spicy conversation made for a very nice experience overall. Not only did we get to eat well, it was also nice to be able to do so in the center, something that happens rarely if not never at all, and with last Friday’s pleasant American dinner date still fresh in my mind, we might just be onto something special here, something that hopefully won’t do too much damage to our senior financial plans. Occasional Fridays may just be our go-to opportunity to purge and celebrate, and keep life interesting.

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