August in Amsterdam

The spring in Amsterdam was just perfect. I was in boats, parks, cycling to the beach, taking my clothes of in empty fields (in the north) in the middle of the afternoon, wearing dresses, putting on sunblock. Then I went to NY, where the humidity and heat had just kicked into full gear. Came back to Amsterdam around 9 June, and since then haven’t felt a real summer in this city.

Sure, there were days in June… maybe even weeks. I know I had some good times at bar terraces and I wore sandals all month. There were even a few really hot days, I remember having to leave my house because it was so warm and wishing I owned a fan because sleeping was uncomfortable.

But that was a few days here and there. that’s it.

Enrique and I escaped to Italy for over 2 weeks July, where it was real summer. Tank tops, shorts, skirts, wearing sunblock, clothes drying outside in a matter of hours instead of inside on drying racks for three days. we swam and got tan and would only go inside due to mosquitoes, not due to cold. So when we got back to Amsterdam, the cooler temps didn’t even bother me at first.

Now it’s August 29th and I want to turn on the heat in my house.

If I end up leaving Amsterdam, it’s not because I dislike the city. I adore this city. I love my group of friends here, I love the prettiness of it, the cycling is obviously unbeatable, it’s the cleanest city I’ve ever lived in, work opportunities are abundant, interesting and cool projects are all around me, and I have a giant apartment with no neighbor issues in a great location.

If I end up leaving Amsterdam, it’s because I. Can. Not. Deal. With. This. Weather. anymore. I’m freezing. I had an entire weekend off and I did nothing with it. I didn’t go cycling anywhere, I didn’t have a picnic in the park, I didn’t go on a boat ride, I didn’t drink beer on a terrace, I didn’t do any of the things that I like doing in Amsterdam because of the awful weather. What good is it to have a city full of awesome things if I don’t go out and do any of the awesome things?

I wouldn’t be this dramatic if it was just one bad weekend. I can handle a bad weekend. I can handle a bad week. I can handle not having it be perfect; I don’t need Barcelona or Rome weather to have a good life. I’m being this dramatic because it’s been a bad MONTH, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better. That’s it folks, summer has been pretty much over since the beginning of August. Tt won’t get about 20C/68F again, and I highly doubt there will be too many days when it’s above 16C/61F.

Two months of beautiful weather in the spring is not enough for ten months of crap.

I’m going to put on my gym clothes, my hoodie, and my rain jacket and go to the gym. after my workout I’ll sit in the sauna, where it’s warm. At the end of August I should find the idea of sitting in a sauna absurd, yet here I am.

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Living in the exact center of Amsterdam

These days I’m living on a busy, touristy street in the middle of the center of Amsterdam. It’s hard to be more central, my place is literally 300 meters from Centraal station, a neighborhood I never envisioned myself living. I’ve lived in the south, the center/east (near Weesperplein), two places in the pijp, and a canal-side apartment off the Leidsekade. Now I’m in the exact area that I thought I’d never live in – on a busy, super-touristy street that smells like pot smoke and fast food.

Honestly, it’s perfect. It’s big (90 sq meters, two floors!), I only share it with my boyfriend, and the absolute best most wonderful part about it is that I have zero issues with the neighbors. Whenever I walk down the street, I smile and wave at the men and women who work in the coffee shops, kebab stands, sex stores, and tourist-friendly restaurants. My neighbors across the street have at least two or three young kids who are always at the window looking down, waving, shouting, and playing. A few days ago there was a gigantic rain storm in the middle of the day, and my boyfriend and I ran to our front windows to watch the people on the street either try to hide or just take off their clothes and run around in delight. The kids across the street did the same thing, and we waved and yelled hello to each other.

I used to wave and yell hello to my neighbor across the street when I lived on the Saphartistraat as well, and one time we even ran into each other on the street and finally said hello in person. It’s so easy to see into your neighbors homes here in Amsterdam – partly because it’s a city and we all live so closely together, but also because Dutch people aren’t in the habit of really closing themselves in. It’s strange, one could say the dutch are a “closed” type of people, but at the same time they’re perfectly find leaving their curtains and windows and doors wide open whenever possible. I like this, because I like sticking my nose in everyone’s business. Most people pretend they don’t look into other people’s windows, but the kids across the street and my former non-dutch neighbor actually enjoy the fact that we can see and hear each other. It’s part of why we live in a city and not the middle of nowhere.

It’s a fantastic place where I live – the building is old, the house is leaning over (like you see in postcards), I live among a lot of very dutch people and a lot of very foreign people and while my street is busy with tourists and music all day long, cars are not allowed down my street. My boyfriend (who isn’t Dutch) and I were welcomed the first day we moved in by people in the restaurant across the street, who told us that they only accepted cash (we didn’t have any, only bank cards) but not to worry, we could come back some other time to pay them. This is my 6th apartment in three years of living in Amsterdam, and it’s the place that feels the most like home. I didn’t expect to like the neighborhood as much as I do, but I’ve never felt so at ease anywhere else in this city.