Amsterdam. You’re absolutely phenomenal. I’d heard rumors and now I know it’s true – I think you’re my new favorite place (sorry Krakow)…
Everything looks like it was made-up in the mind of a child that was designing a perfect place for people to create, live and be.
I love the canals, the constant presence of water as a lifeline into the city. The freezing cold wind and the almost inaudible sound of many push-bikes making their way over cobblestones.
On my first morning, as I walked to work, I smiled broadly. The kind of smile that comes directly from the heart. I was genuinely truly happy, and I felt at home. It was a magic moment. One of those ones that you carry with you for the days that just aren’t so great.
I love the Dutch culture. The food (including Fritas, bitterballen, raw herring(!) and cheeessseee) was unique and satisfying, the conversations exact and fully engaged, the art varied and challenging. The parties are INCREDIBLE.
It’s not just Amsterdam though…The Netherlands has a lot more to offer.
I loved the flatness of the train ride to Delft and the plethora of public transport options when the train line had a fault.
Delft itself was very quaint, full of students and a charm that felt ancient. The library at the university is well worth a visit, if not just to marvel at the engineering feat of the building in front that looks like a spaceship.
My time in The Netherlands was going to be split between the city and the countryside. On our team retreat we had the joy of traveling nearly to Germany (Holland really is tiny).
So, on the Tuesday evening five of us crammed into a car and drove a couple of hours to Twente.
Twente is another small university city, with a once great football team. We stayed at the edge of a golf course that was entirely deserted as snow lay on the ground and temperatures plummeted to around 6F.
Stoking the fires, and cosying down to some serious strategy-team time was also magical in its own way.
It was here that I sat and reflected on how many different paths life can take us on Saturday afternoon.
How bright and vibrant and full the experience really is. Even on the trip to Holland I had already experienced high peak and low trough moments. Within one week all things can change and stay the same simultaneously.
I couldn’t actually have dreamed up how my life looked on that Saturday.
There are so many surprises, heart breaks, heart makes, chances to make right, chances to do wrong…
For a few hours though I thought back to the from-the-heart smile and knew that it was always possible to return to that state. That there’s always something to be grateful for. I have an AMAZING life. FULL to the brim with love, growth, challenge, joy.
Thank you to those who have chosen me to be intertwined in their lives in all the real ways and particularly to those who have continued to choose me despite distance, circumstance or hardship. It means the world.
AND Thank you Amsterdam for taking to the roof tops (literally) and carrying me through the valleys. What a place. What a joy.