You know that feeling when you don’t see someone for a long time? At times you begin to forget the way they look, right? You can remember their general appearance, their hair color and the way they dress. But after a while, those memories fade and it’s difficult to remember what you knew so well. It’s strange for me to say that I feel that way about Amsterdam… Well felt that way. See after about a year of staying at home and hiding out in our own little bubble, we finally went back to see Amsterdam.
And I know that I do actually have friends and family that I haven’t seen for 5 years because I’ve moved away… But Amsterdam sort of feels like an old friend. A friend that says very little, but you always remember what they say. Amsterdam was not the first European city that I’ve seen in my life, but it’s one of the most influential. I have so many important memories and I’m glad we finally went back, felt safe going back.
The anxiety of living in a foreign country
I can’t say that I still feel anxious about living in The Netherlands but the main reason we went to Amsterdam was to complete my reapplication to live here. I needed to update my photo and signature. But all those “what if” situations kept popping up in my head. What if they found something wrong with my papers? They did actually, it was pretty funny. But it was no huge issue! Someone wrote down the wrong date for my passport and the guy who helped me fixed it. He was an amazing dude too! We laughed the entire time.
I’m a nervous person by nature but even after 5 years I’m still learning to feel comfortable. I should be more confident in myself, I’ve accomplished a lot! But I couldn’t have done it if I had stayed in my home town in America. I’m always reminded of those first few weeks when we visit Amsterdam. How I never thought I could find the courage to leave. It’s all in the past now but I look back and smile.
Precious time with Sander
Sander and I have a small flat and that means we’re always in earshot of each other. But that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a break once in a while. And by break I mean a date! Now listen here. During quarantine, the dogs have developed a lot of anxiety and they can’t remain alone.. Which of course can be a pain in the ass. But, we’ve thankful that Sander’s parents love our dogs. So they get to baby sit and Sander and I can have a few hours to ourselves.
It’s also a great way for us to actually spend time together. Otherwise we’re on our phones, watching tv, or something something else. We can’t give each other 100% of our attention. Dates are few and far between now but that’s the way things are for now. Amsterdam has always been the place we enjoy ourselves the most and I’m so glad we don’t live to far from it.
A true test of knowledge
So when we go to Amsterdam, I’m adamant about only using Dutch. We hardly speak Dutch at home so I’m always rusty… And Amsterdam is the best place to “be Dutch”. And let me tell you I will always adore that feeling… When people believe that you’re Dutch and that you belong. I love entering a store and having only Dutch spoken to me. It’s like I do belong, that this is my true home. It’s never been easy for me to feel at home or comfortable where I live.
And I know I said above that I need to be more confident… But this is a different form of confidence. The knowledge that I speak the language, that I’m at home with these people. It’s the best feeling in the world. I know I have my Dutch tutor to thank for that… And I know she reads these posts, so hello Wess!
Cultures from all over
There are times when I feel too Dutch though. The same meals, scents, flavors, sights and sounds… Most of that stuff is strictly Dutch, especially since I come from such a small commuter town. But in Amsterdam, you’ve got everything to smack you in the face. As the capital city of The Netherlands, Amsterdam is home to thousands of different cultures under once roof. I can tell you Sander and I spend a lot of time in the Asian streets.
I’ve found dozens of flavors from my mom’s home cooking on the shelves in such grocery stores. So I’m also thankful that Amsterdam can let me bring a small piece of home. If you ever get the chance to eat fresh burfi, please do! It’s one of my favorite Indian desserts!