I can feel it, see it, smell it... the arrival of Spring. The flowers are blooming all over the city, my laundry is hanging to dry on the balcony instead of inside the apartment, and best of all, I'm leaving work when it's still light out (I leave work around 7pm). A few nights ago I rode directly home when I left work (which doesn't happen very often) and kept my jacket on. I dashed through the apartment, grabbed a beer and Gian, and insisted that any plans for the evening had to wait until the sun had set. The very first sunset I've been able to watch from my balcony after work! It's going to get even better in a couple weeks, after Daylight Savings time takes effect... 8.30pm sunsets, starting on the 29th of March.
It's not overly warm (averaging about 10-11ºC/ 50ºF), but it has been quite sunny for the past few days. People are sitting outside at cafes, having picnics along the canals, and the tourists walk around delighted with everything. They (mostly) make me smile, because I was that tourist several times while visiting Amsterdam in the Spring. Ok, the almost-spring. I don't care, there's flowers blooming everywhere and sunshine has been pouring through the windows all day so, it's spring now!
In less than a month I'll be back in the US - my first trip back since I arrived last April. I'll see friends and family that I haven't seen in a year, which seems almost impossible. I hope it doesn't feel like I've been gone a long time. I hope when I see my friends again it will be like no time has passed at all - that's what I'm assuming is going to happen.
When I arrived in Amsterdam last year, it was just as Spring was beginning. Only a few days after I arrived, I wrote:
I just love it here so much that it scares me, because I just feel like maybe I really did find home. But there’s still a very, very, very good chance that I won’t just get to stay here indefinitely. If I can’t stay, I can’t stay. I’ll just have to accept it and make the most out of the time I do have here. But ... I really want to stay. It's just all too good.
And I still feel exactly the same way now, 11 months later. I'm watching someone go through a similar process that I was going through last year, the part where you're not sure if you can stay and you really want to but everything is so up in the air with jobs and money and apartments, and you can't make plans for the future because the future is so uncertain, and you just think "but if it all works out..."
When it all works out, it's so worth it in the end.