As I write this, I officially have 20 days left in this lovely city. Since coming back from Spain, my Amsterdammer lifestyle has been mostly full of school work and large final projects. I try to do work outside, but recently, it’s been incredibly chilly (or maybe Spain ruined my outlook on this rainy, Springtime weather.) Luckily, the weather here is just as hectic as it is in Ohio, so when I go back home, it’ll feel like I’m still in the Netherlands… just with less bikes and more grass. Besides researching and writing all day every day, I’ve been able to get around the city and explore new places.
Last week, I got the chance to go to Trust, a local café in de Pijp that’s built on the owners trusting you. This means that, you get to order anything from a menu that features no prices, and when you’re finished, you pay what you feel the food you ordered was worth. It’s run by volunteers that will also trade hugs for cute stickers. Inside, there’s a large wall called the “Grateful” Wall, where café goers can put up post-it notes about what they’re grateful for. It’s impressively full of the colorful little papers.
I had the best hot chocolate that I’ve ordered thus far in this city at this café.
This past week, I also got to experience something that can very much be called “an Amsterdam problem.” My bike broke, and I had no other means of transportation! Public transport doesn’t let you take your bike on the buses and trams, so I had the opportunity to walk my bike to the repair shop. It was almost two hours away on foot, including ferry time. Luckily, I got my bike back yesterday and am now able to get places again.
Besides the bike debacle and the lovely Trust café, my weeks haven’t been filled with much other than noticing small things about life in the Netherlands. Like, the neighbors cat doesn’t have any manners at all, and he will enter our house to explore inside if the doors are kept open long enough. There is something that light streams through that leaves large rainbows on the floor, but I haven’t figured out where it comes from yet. Tulips are… everywhere- inside and outside, but also not actually from the Netherlands (they’re Turkish.)
With only twenty days left in this wonderful place, I’ve begun to be both excited for going home and sad that I’ll soon be leaving. I don’t know if I’m ever going to get a chance to come back here, and I don’t want to lose my chance to do everything there is to do. Hopefully, the weather becomes nice again before I go.
These past few weeks have been full of classes and projects, leaving me with not so much time to explore the city further. This is my last week of classes before we head into ISP period where each of us work on our own independent study projects and research. Yesterday, I actually ended up getting lost in the city on my way to meet with my advisor for this project. It was a little troublesome, as I didn’t have any service or wifi to connect too, as I was lost in an incredibly residential area outside of the city. Google Maps failed me, and I don’t know if I will ever be able to travel without a hardcopy map of Amsterdam now… Kidding, my reliance on technology is too heavy to turn back now. But! I’m happy to say that I found my way back fairly easily, and I think that means that I’m getting better at navigating this wonderful city. While I was lost, I also found this lovely pink building. I also found the zoo and a pack of flamingos hanging out in a small pond. In the end, the scary moment turned pink.
And for those wondering, no I never got to my intended location. The meeting was rescheduled to a Skype interview… which is much easier to find my way to!
At last, after a week in the Netherlands and a couple days in Amsterdam, we have finally earned our bikes. Since I’m short, the bike shop, Recycle, gave me a children’s bike which is slightly embarrassing, but at least I get a colorful bike instead of a boring gray one. My bike is blue, orange, and yellow, and she’s got a cute little bell on her. I’m excited to explore Amsterdam on a bike and be able to get around in ten minutes instead of half an hour. This city is run by bikers; we (I can say “we” now) have our own paths marked on the streets, our own signs, and if a car hits us it’s always their fault.
I was pretty worried about keeping up on a bike, being severely out of shape and not ready to exercise to school everyday, but my friend and I successfully biked home today! After I got back, I did the conversions to find out how long we biked for and come to find out… the route from school back home is six miles. To go to school and then come back is twelve miles in total, not to mention going on trips to the local museums or to grab a bite to eat during lunch. I’m even more worried about being able to keep up now, though I think that after a couple months I’m not going to want to give my bike up!