i love spontaneity. and the best is when you have people around you who are also spontaneous. on wednesday, i put spontaneity to the test.
i had coffee in the afternoon with a friend that i’ve known for almost 3 years now. he’s from the netherlands, and we were in a swedish for immigrants class together. so, both of us were new to sweden. both of us were trying to understand how we were going to make a life here, but were also excited about the possibilities, and certain that things would work out for each of us. we were pretty much the only two “western” people in our swedish class and we’re basically the same age, so it was natural to be drawn to each other in conversation and such. though he is european and i’m american, we had way more in common with each other than with the others.
in addition to the obvious third-world similarities, we connected at a soul level as well. i found, in my new friend, someone with whom i could talk about philosophy, the meaning of life, spirituality, dreams, and goals. we are something of kindred spirits, i believe. and it felt amazing to have met someone that i considered my first friend.
while i was figuring out my place in swedish society, and having good luck with that thanks to my amazing wife, my friend was also having good luck. a man who’s been part of the restaurant business in the past, my dutch friend found himself working at a local italian restaurant. pretty soon he moved up to a management level and moved on in life. we kept in touch here & there, but not as often as i would have liked.
still, we have been able to squeeze in time for coffee, drinks. or perhaps i might just pop by the restaurant whenever there is time.
after our planned coffee meeting – an inspirational conversation, as always, i decided to ask my love if she’d like to invite one of our american friends in town to meet us at my dutch friend’s restaurant for drinks later on in the evening (did you follow all of that? hehe.). of course she wanted to! so, a quick text and a message on Facebook, and we spontaneously decided to meet at pappa grappa for drinks at 9 pm. not only were we meeting our american friend, but my dutch friend’s dutch wife (who i also count as a friend) was coming too. perfect!
as the city hall clock struck the ninth tone, my love & i opened the door to the italian restaurant where my friend is in management. his wife was waiting for us, and our american friend was waiting in the casual pizzeria area, adjacent to the cozy, dimly-lit trendy restaurant and bar. we took our seats in the bar area, on cushy burgundy sofas and ottomans. a chandelier hung over our head, and the background music was jazzy and smooth, like the place itself. it may feel upscale at pappa grappa, and it is sort of, but it’s relaxed. one knows that there is a high standard for food and service. in other words, you’re gonna be taken care of and you’re gonna feel like a vip while you’re there. still, it is a place for real people, any day or night. it’s a place for a good time, for good drinks, and a place meant to break bread with each other and engage in conversation. it’s a place meant to enjoy something good in life…. the simple things. food, wine, friends.
my friend is working hard to create a specific atmosphere at pappa grappa, and i think he is well on his way. his vision, as i understand it, is a place of elegant relaxation, where good food, good drinks, and relationships are important – for those who are patrons of the restaurant and for those who work there. and he is determined for it to have an international feeling, which is manifested through music, food, and art. he desires to grow the restaurant into a place dripping with culture and finesse. and he hopes that it is not only a place where people buy and consume food, but where people connect with each other, with the community, and with the world.
in other words, a place with soul. those are his words: “a place with soul.”
as someone who seeks peace and meaning in regular everyday life, i must admit that pappa grappa is a place that not only feeds my cravings, but also feeds my soul – through the atmosphere, the friendly and caring personnel, and the yummy, elegant, top-notch food & drinks.
if i sound as if i’m a gushing food critic, then i guess that’s how i sound. i’m not writing this post to be a critic, but i am writing to get the word out. and to support my friend. because anyone who seeks to have soul be the driving force behind what they do, deserves a little attention.
so, if you live in norrköping, head on over to pappa grappa for drinks, or dinner, or pizza. do it on a random wednesday night like i did, and find a reason to celebrate life, for no other reason except for the fact that you are alive and you want beautiful, soulful things around you.
and if you don’t live in norrköping, then go to a restaurant or cafe or bar in your city that touches your soul. sip on something and enjoy a few moments of the good life.
let your soul be nourished.