The International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam begins today (20 Nov)! I have been swamped at work lately, which means I haven't found the time to sit with the program and read about every single film, circling which one I want to see, and order tickets in advance. Note to self: next year, take this time off from work.
I'm in the midst of one of the busiest periods I've had in a really long time. Other than pulling a lot of really long days and nights at work, I just started a new round of Dutch classes (every Wednesday night) and signed up for private Italian classes twice a week. I'm starting to miss my apartment... the idea of spending time at home with a DVD or book on a Friday night is sounding better and better (though let's be honest, it probably won't happen).
I've mentioned this before, but it's something that has struck me every night this week as I'm rushing to class or work or pedaling home at midnight - as soon as I get outside, into my city, I'm feel relaxed. At the end of a busy day, I have that time on my bike to cycle though Amsterdam. My ride home is always peaceful and quiet. I sing along to my favorite songs or listen to podcasts and often take a detour through the museumplein. The bridges that run over the canals are lit up all year round, and when I get to the Amstel I always have to slow down - or stop entirely - to admire the view. That ride home always, always makes the day worth it.
Back in NYC, I used to have to go back and forth all the time from my office to our edit house (for work reasons) on the subway. I took that F/V train from Broadway/Lafayette to 23rd street at least a zillion times, cramming myself on to packed subway cars, dealing with delays, construction, the after-school crowd, crazy people, skipping stops and ending up in Brooklyn, or whatever else the MTA (that's the name of the metro system in NYC) wanted to throw at me. Here in Amsterdam, when I run back and forth between an edit house and my office, it's a 5-minute bike ride.
That right there makes all the difference. I'm still busy, I don't get to see my friends as much as I would like, I don't travel as much as I want, I have to cancel plans at the last minute, I'm always wishing for more sleep - but busy here is still drastically different than busy in New York City. I prefer it here.