April 24, 2009

One year in Amsterdam

It's April 23rd 2009 (or at least it is to me, as I type this), which marks exactly one year since I've been living in Amsterdam. I know, I know, I haven't updated this blog in a really long time. I meant to write about a million things - the opera, visiting a windmill in Haarlem, how it felt when the sun started to set at 9pm, the trip to Paris, the new/temporary Van Gogh exhibit, and so on.

But that's all in the past now, and while I do wish I wrote about it so I could look back and remember, I'll probably never really forget my first opera experience in Amsterdam anyway. So here I am, in New York City. In Brooklyn, to be precise, resting comfortably at the home of some friends in Williamsburg. Whenever I stand on the street here at night and admire the view of the bridge with the Chrysler building in the background, it only takes about 20 seconds before a taxi slows down and beeps at me. No, taxi guy, I don't want a ride. I'm actually just standing here admiring the view, and yes, I realize I'm not in a touristy neighborhood and most people here don't do this, but I'm actually quite content.

It's insane to think that it's been a year since I've been in New York. I'm just here to visit this time around, and when I stepped off the plane, it felt like I had been gone for about 5 minutes. This is an important fact because I had slept about 5 minutes in the entire week leading up to coming to New York, and being able to arrive here without thinking - with knowing exactly how to get to where I was going - it was wonderful.

So my 1-year anniversary of living in Amsterdam is being celebrated in New York City. But I thought about Amsterdam a lot today, about how much I still completely love that city. I love my apartment, my job, my bike, the lifestyle, the sunsets, everything. But the reason I feel that Amsterdam is my home is because of the people I've met. When I arrived in Amsterdam I was totally alone. I was hungover, actually, having just taken the train from Paris with 2 giant suitcases. In some ways, I think this was an advantage - I was too tired to fully understand that I just showed up in a new city where I didn't know anyone, where I didn't have a job, and I had no idea how to actually fill my days.

I got to know people. I looked for a job. I freaked out, many times... MANY times about my decision. The day before I accepted the job offer, I went over every mistake I had ever made in thinking that living in Amsterdam was a good idea. Every person who told me that it was a bad idea, or stupid, or impossible, or if they gave me that look of "oh, so you're another one of those non-EU people who think they can just up and move to Amsterdam, that's so... cute," these people all affected me.

But it turns out I was right the whole time, and I love being right. Amsterdam is the city for me. It's home. I love it there. So all those freakouts, all that stress, all that uncertainty, it was all worth it.

I'm home here in Brooklyn, but when I go back to Amsterdam, I'll also be going home. How lucky am I, that I get to have more than one home?


Happy one-year anniversary to me!


Mlle said...

Congratulations :) I just moved from Brooklyn (Fort Greene) to the NL a few months ago, and I really miss it.

I think what you've done is amazing and inspiring and reading this confirmation of how good the decision was for you to move here was seems like a huge load of icing on an already awesome piece of carrot cake :)

A Touch of Dutch said...

Happy 1 year anniversary to you! And what better way to spend it, in the once "New Amsterdam!" I was glad to come across an update on your blog by coincedence, as I was just thinking recently to visit your blog. And what a great blog entry to stumble upon :-) Enjoy [geniet ervan] & have a safe trip back!

Another American Expat said...

Thanks for the nice comments. Mlle, I'm sure you'll feel more and more at home in the NL, it just takes a little time and having the right people around you. :)

holly said...

You are my constant reminder that it can be done. I will do it one day. No doubts about that!! All the best to you on this amazing anniversary. I hope your next year in NL is even better than this one!!

Angela Rhodes said...

This is such a lovely post. Good on you for sticking to your dream!!

I've only been in Amsterdam about 4 months now but I totally feel the same way. It feels like home here. I love the people and I love the atmosphere. But I am still in the looking for a job phase :)

Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

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