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A smell of spices and coconut

Through the eyes of a G(raduate)

My feet follow a daily routine: they take me from the inner city library pass the medieval streets and over the bridge to the other side of the Maas. Again, I had lost track of time and ended up spending my day reading. After three coffees, a doughy oatmeal cookie and a lot of knowledge, that I tried to strategically stuff into my brain, I found that a sunny day had turned into ‘night’ as it already gets dark so early these days. My class readings are still grumbling in the back of my mind when leaving the library behind me, but are slowly shaken off. It turns out to be a crispy and calm evening. As I look through the windows of stores and boutiques, I realize this year´s winter preparations have begun: little ‘Zwarte Piet’ dolls decorate most shops, next to golden Christmas balls and pinecones.                                                 

The only thing that is still missing is Wham´s notorious Christmas tune, a melody that is pretty annoying but triggers a similar feeling every year – “it is this time of the year again” when the days are getting shorter and darker, which can be a little bit depressing.  Still, the streets are lit up, decorated and festive, which makes me look forward to the family reunion at the end of the month. More than that, it might just transform every hard working student into someone who starts baking a lot of ginger bread and drinks a lot of mulled wine, whilst turning up the radio. If that music does not set the right mood, you might just be Misses or Mister Scrooge yourself or there is a chance that something when wrong with measurements for the wine, double-check the recipe.

The bridge leads me to the other side of the Maas and I find myself in Wyck. A smell of spices and coconut accommodates me when opening the door of the ‘Tasty Thai’ restaurant. I lean over the cashier to grab a menu, skimming through recipes, until my finger stops on my all-time favourite dish ‘kaeng massamaan’. The diner-like restaurant serves everything from spring rolls to fried rice, soups and salads, however I personally believe, you can never go wrong with a curry. I order ‘take-away’ and take a seat and start flipping through a Dutch fashion magazine that is lying around: ‘picture reading’. Whilst studying in Maastricht, this place has become one of my ‘classics’ and comes just after my favourite Thai restaurant in town, the ‘Pet Thai’ a rather small cosy place close to the market. Whereas the former one is definitely a place you can take a date or your parents to, ‘Tasty Thai’ is a quick fix and the food is delicious. It is convenient and the staff is very friendly - the perfect evening solution for someone who happily kicks of his shoes after a long day at the library only to realize that there is not food left in the fridge.                                                         

While I wait for my order, I am leaning back in my seat and there it is: “Last Christmas I gave you my heart but the very next day…” - Wham's cheesy love song.  It was some kind of remix version but it had the same effect: even though it might not be that cold yet, winter is coming; Christmas Eve will be here in a month´s time. Whilst I am already making plans to bake ginger bread and drink mulled wine, I close the restaurant door behind me to step into the rather mild evening breeze. I wrap my scarf a little bit closer and start walking, a doggy bag in my hand.

Lea Schäfer

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