When people asked me what I was going to do in Amsterdam, I had trouble coming up with an answer. I wasn’t planning to “do” anything per se. I was planning to just “be.” I love Amsterdam. For the last twenty years, it has always felt like my second home town. I know it better than any town, except the small town where I grew up.
I wanted to go to the grocery store and have some orange juice and mint tea. I wanted to walk around and sit, sleep and drink.
This has been everything I wanted and more. Today, I left Zoya with my friend’s kids and a babysitter while I spent two hours walking around the city. Amsterdam really isn’t that big. I covered a good deal of it. My goal was just to get my bearings. Before the walk, I couldn’t quite figure out where I was in connection with everything else in Amsterdam, but as I walked, with each step and at each step, I broke the ice with this city I have loved and began my relationship anew.
There is something comforting about a place where very little changes. Construction has shifted a few blocks here and there, Dunkin Donuts has arrived, but most everything else is where it has always been.
People are a little more colorful. It isn’t just black and white and grey. Maybe we are just having good luck, but they seem a little friendlier too.
There is so much I love about Dutch life. I left during a cold winter, during a stressful time, after some hurtful things happened at my church. I didn’t leave because of those things, but I moved back to American in the middle of those things, so despite my life long love of this city, I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth for years. Today, that bad taste slowly washed away as I became reacquainted with my old love and slowly let her back in my heart.
I love so much about this city. I love that we are outside nearly 12 hours each day and always within feet of wall size windows. As exhausting as it was having to bike everywhere in the rain, ice, and cold, as a poor student, I realize I know this city so well because I’ve walked every inch of it so many times. I love that you don’t have to “exercise” per se, my room is on the fifth floor and we run up and down between floor three and five all day long. At home I literally lay on the couch for hours. Here I am walking, and biking, and walking stairs.
I just deleted four paragraphs trying to explain my love hate relationship with this city. I can’t explain it because I don’t understand it. There are things that I haven’t liked, but I have never stopped loving this place.
I always want each day, each experience, to have a meaning, a purpose. I’m dropping that here. Not that I don’t think there is a huge purpose to this trip, but for now, I am not searching, I am just enjoying and being, and that is enough.