May 17, 2008

The important stuff: patatje, picnics, frisbee, and waterproof jackets

You might think that now that I've had a few weeks in Amsterdam, I'd have all kinds of things to say. But really, when people ask me what I've been up to since I've been here, it can easily be summed up: picnics, biking, frisbee, beach, drinks, hanging out. Trust me, I could fill up a blog very easily with all my thoughts about cycling here in Amsterdam, but I resist the urge. But it struck me the other day - I spend no money on transportation. It's just another one of those ways that makes Amsterdam fairly affordable.

I think that I've had more weather-related conversations in the past few weeks than I have had in my entire life. The weather in Amsterdam - up until today - has been nothing short of perfect. And wow, do the folks who live here like to emphasize how rare that is. I pointed out the other day that there are other places in the world where the weather isn't that great either, and that actually, if I think about it, the weather in New York kind of sucks. Hot and humid in the summer (and over-air conditioned), bitterly cold in the winter, etc. But there's no arguing this topic with a Netherlands local. The beautiful weather that stretched on for a couple weeks (and is due to return in a couple days) was surely a once-a-year opportunity, and therefore every moment must be spent appreciating it.

Which is fine with me! That's where all the picnics, bike rides, and beach trips come in. That's why my motivation to do any actual work was non-existent. This isn't me being lazy, of course, it's me adapting to this new culture. See how I just justified it? Part of my cultural experience included a trip to Wijk aan Zee, a beach located about 20 km or so from Amsterdam. I took part in the eating of patatje oorlog - french fries with peanut sauce mixed with mayonnaise and chopped onions. The name literally means "war fries," and even though everything about the combination seemed just simply wrong - I sure as hell kept eating them.

I've been meeting a lot of great people through my wonderful roommate, and I went to a couple Couch Surfing meetups, where I met even more great people. I'm not finding it terribly difficult to meet Dutch people who are friendly and welcoming, I haven't had any problems with ... anything, really. The honeymoon stage is still going strong, I suppose. When I woke up today, it was raining lightly and chilly, and for some reason this motivated me to finally get some practical stuff done. I rode my bike over to HEMA, the big everything-you-need department store, and stopped at the Bio Market for coffee, cheese, and bread. I was happy to notice that my jacket and bag really did pass the waterproof test, and I know I'm still in the honeymoon stage with Amsterdam when riding my bike in the rain makes me happy.

A lot of people have been asking about my job prospects, and all I can really say is everything still seems to be going well. I had a few meetings with the same company here in Amsterdam, and obviously I'm hoping that the outcome is that I'm offered the job. Until I know about that, everything is up in the air. I know exactly what I want to do if I get the job, and I have a pretty good idea for how I want to proceed if I don't get it... but it's not really worth going into details until I have an answer. Fortunately, in between picnics and trips to the beach and drinks with friends, I did manage to find the time to do a little freelance work, which is a big help. And honestly, I am really, really enjoying this time to just relax, sleep late, meet new people, and not think too much. I needed a break, and now that I have it, I'm making it a point to have a good time and enjoy living in the present, instead of always making a plan for the future. Of course, that being said, I do kind of hate that I have so many little projects half-finished or just-started. I wonder if the locals would kill me if I wished for more rain this week, so I can actually get some stuff done.

1 comment:

holly said...

yes...wishing for rain is grounds for murder in amsterdam!! so glad you are having a good experience. i hope that good luck keeps finding you and that when you do hit a bumpy patch in your path that all of the new things you've learned will help you sail right over it! still so excited for you and also bummed that we didn't get to meet (yet!)

tot ziens!!