Yesterday, I returned from Amsterdam after an absolutely lovely weekend with four friends. I do have to admit that I didn’t really know three of them before we were on our bus to Amsterdam but that’s the beauty of being an exchange student. You just get along with people, and even if you don’t, you can always whine about your host country and cultural differences together. Who’s gonna understand better that someone going through the exact same thing, right?
Amsterdam’s canals are so captivating yet so simple and serene. It’s a part of daily life, but then again, so is the marijuana. Our trip was mostly full of trying to figure out tram systems and being independent mature women (who also drop about forty coins in McDonalds when asked not to draw attention). While we did not have the opportunity to actually visit the Anne frank house, we did however feel the shadows of the holocaust wherever we walked, but I think that’s true for most places in western Europe, the horrors or war are not quite as easy to get rid off.
One thing that you must know about being an exchange student, is that we are very cheap people who do not mind sleeping while rolled in a carpet if that means that we have to pay ten euros lesser (yes, that did happen) or getting pooped on by a bird because we refused to ask for help. Albert Hein, the main supermarket chain in Amsterdam was our god. While I’m sure I could have made healthier decisions, I succumbed to my inner junkie and had a bag of Doritos for lunch. I did however make up for it by having strawberries and orange juice for breakfast (P.S Mom are you reading this?).
I personally loved the vibe of Amsterdam, a perfect mix of classical, ringing with historical architecture yet so chic and hip. We saw people with funky hair colors and amazing tattoos to the most fancy clothes I have ever seen. We even chanced upon what we thought was a wedding ceremony of a very wealthy family (seven SUVs as escorts is a bit too much, no?) but the woman that stepped out made me feel like I was in a royal courtyard in the 1960’s.
There’s something about travelling to big cities alone. A sense of freedom and liberation. That is the feeling that makes you want to turn the world around and breathe in all the beauty that surrounds you.
I know I do.