Antwerp and Its Diamonds are Calling…

Advisor Girl, the business consultant demanding I ditch the pearls, visits my home yesterday and makes a curious observation. There are readers who voice displeasure with Advisor Girl’s admonition of pearls. Take a breath girls. She does know an important thing or two, namely business expansion and wealth accumulation. If that means a day or two without my beloved orbs from the sea, so be it.

Advisor Girl is the co-mingling of badass business woman rooted in reality and chick with a strange and unnatural ability to delve into client thoughts, pasts and futures. She is unnerving, exasperating and almost always right. Damn. She pushes me over the cliff time and time again chastising both fear and doubt. She forces clients to a higher level of productivity and success. In the process, she pisses them off. Having turned her loose on a few friends; they report the same frustration. Meantime, their businesses grow and prosper.

She wants to look about my home. Get a feel for it, she says. This could mean anything from a feng shui tongue lashing to a distaste for my taste. Egads. She notices closet clothes arranged by color and does not poke fun. She says my abode is cozy and looks like me. She reflects over a photo of The Norwegian and myself, pronouncing, “This man adored you.” I decide she can stay.

We talk of this story of transformation at her hands being a next book. We touch on my obsession with image and manners taking their rightful place in the world. We explore a school that does just that–a kind of cotillion on steroids. My heart soars at the thought of all people knowing to which side of the plate rests their water glass, fork use and the return of gloves as a fashion staple.

I watch her eyes take in my living room resting here and there and she says the style reminds her of Belgium, Antwerp in particular. Whaaa? I am taken aback. Is she sure? “Yes, you belong in Antwerp.” Her candor and exactness in past advice teaches wariness of dismissal. She has yet to be wrong and so research on Antwerp is of the essence.

If Parisians speak slowly enough I can understand them, though they laugh at my responses. They could use a day at the Image School non? The Italians are so very friendly and their men so very beautiful, one barely recognizes the existence of a language barrier. But Dutch? I know not one word–unless you count “tulip.” I press on in acquiring knowledge of Belgium.

Of course there are the waffles, which are not for breakfast in their land of origin. Instead, they are an afternoon treat to be had with strawberries and coffee. Anything involving afternoon coffee works for this girl. Antwerp boasts the diamond trade. Getting warmer. It is also known for its artistic pursuits including writing and painting. Most notable is Rubens–yeah that guy–the one of naked cherubs and girls with big butts. Could this be the land for which my ass yearns?

There’s more. The Railway Station is a work of art. The zoo is one of the oldest in the world housing over six thousand creatures. It is the second largest city in Belgium and the biggest port. And, hold on. It is a rising fashion city; meaning a girl may be able to don pearls and walk about willy nilly with nary a care as Advisor Girl will be in America advising ladies and gentlemen on bringing in new clients, business expansion and wealth enhancement. Ha!

One travel writer deems Antwerp, “a hip cocktail of Milan, Paris and London.” Photographs depict medieval streets and Renaissance monuments. The heart beats faster. There is a massive book fair each year and Robert Browning, of Elizabeth Barrett fame, spent writing time here. There are chocolates to die for and little biscuits sent from heaven. And then, leaping from the computer screen is a morsel of such import, it elicits a gasp. Belgium is the birthplace of Audrey Hepburn. Whaaaa? The country which produced Holly Golightly has been pronounced my haven?

Done deal. My over large ass has spoken as has the ghost of Miss Golightly. Antwerp and its diamonds are calling. Who knew?

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