an ode to AMSTERDAM
having grown up in Estonia, Tallinn, before this, I wasn’t unfamiliar to meeting acquaintances, friends from kindergarten, distant relatives and whoever else you could imagine, almost daily. even at places where I would rather have been alone. it could be just me, but I’ve always preferred my own company to that of someone I was not that close with. Amsterdam was my getaway. I knew barely no one. and if I did meet someone while strolling or cycling about, it was a pleasant surprise. (everyone there is so laid-back, smiling and friendly, no one is bothered by you wearing sweats all the time. they all do it)
so I fell in love with Amsterdam. on my free time I would wander about the city, cycling to the furthest destinations, stopping along the way to take pictures of whatever I found interesting. I dwelled into the details of the old Dutch canal houses, memorised the gables and imagined living there after some time (I still do). & most importantly, I met the most amazing people on the way.
being an international student, I made friends with people from all over the world. we lived, laughed and cried together (for realz), and I miss them all daily (you know who you are, lovelies). but this kind of friendship never stops. it’s paused until we meet again. and that will be sooner that we know.
by year 2 I felt like a local. I knew where to go, what to do, which places to avoid. I lived in a tiny studio apartment near Vondelpark, my favourite park in the world. it’s like this jungle in the middle of a city. there are bright green parakeets living there that were set free by a guy in the 1970s. tulips that grow on trees. I used to go jogging there, laying on the grass and looking at the clouds after I was done. every day was beautiful.
and my home street was no less amazing. it was more like a village honestly – the guy from the Turkish bakery would always wave and say hi, give you an extra croissant fresh from the oven. the fruit monger always helped me by telling me which fruit was good and which was not. the guy at the cafe across the road from my place would invite me in an draw bears on my soy lattes. not to mention the people at the market – the hummus guy would have tasters ready for me once he saw me. it was all so amazing and heart-warming, and whenever I was feeling down, I knew that going outside for a walk, even if it was raining, it would still cheer me up. and it always did.
year 3, I turned 21, and Amsterdam was getting too small for me. I knew everything about it. all the nooks and surprises were gone. even though I still loved wandering around, I always found something interesting, it didn’t matter that I’d seen it a thousand times before. but I just felt the need to see the rest of the world. Amsterdam would always be waiting.
so in June 2014 I moved back to Estonia. I had a degree in my pocket, love in my heart and my spirit craving new adventures. during the three years I stayed in Amsterdam, I lived in 6 different places. met a lot of new people. became smarter, grew as a being, found something positive during the most dreary times and discovered what is important to me (and what not).
if I’d start to write down all the adventures, happenings and everything special that happened during those years, then I would probably run out of blogging space (that’s impossible, but you know what I mean). so this post is not to tell you about my memories in Amsterdam. it’s to encourage you to go make your own. step out of your comfort zone, avoid the tourist paths and see where it leads.
this is what keeps me going and endlessly excited – the wonderful world we live in. the undiscovered places and memories to be made, emotions to be felt. and I’ve only seen such a tiny part of it. so while I’ve still got the urge to discover and learn, I’ll be roaming the world as much as possible. and then I’ll go back to my dearest Amsterdam.