It’s April 23rd 2009, which marks exactly one year since I’ve been living in Amsterdam. And oddly, 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.
I’ve been outside of New York City for one full year. I’m just here to visit this time around (not moving back!), 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 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. So all those freakouts, all that stress, all that uncertainty, it was all worth it.
Happy one-year anniversary to me!