October 14th, 2009
It’s been officially one week and a day since I ‘moved’ to Amsterdam. The ‘moved’ is in quotations because I was completely absent during any sort of physical element involved in said move. All the packing, bubble-wrapping, box-taping and multiple trips to Connecticut for storage were blissfully done without me (Thanks Fris!). It all went down when I was on the road in Asia and Africa. Admittedly, it was nice to avoid the episode with the crack-bearing moving men, but my lack of action and complete void of personal involvement has left me in a bit of a current fog. Where am I and why is the only constant thing in my life this ugly suitcase?
Luckily, my husband’s work has moved us to a pretty amazing city – one that has already provided me with all sorts of visual and physical stimuli. Everything from the canals to the gabled architecture to the mystifying fashion has kept me present, jarring me from my haze. (Btw, I am not talking about a post coffee-shop buzz. I promise. The majority of those places look far too grubby to even encourage any slight consideration).
Naturally, I’m eager to fit in here and instantly convey a local know-how despite my overwhelming confusion. So, first things first, I bought a bike.
I was instructed to buy a used bike since there’s about a 50-80% chance my bike will get stolen on any given day. Despite the language barrier, I was able to try a few out with test runs and even negotiate a price (yes, it awkwardly involved writing numbers down on a pad with a grease-stained, old man). Nevertheless, I left the shop feeling quite proud, smug even, no matter that my bike’s colors recall those of My Little Pony. I was initiated and on the move.
Now, the Amsterdammers (Amsterdam residents) don’t just cruise around on bicycles because they like to look funny. (They do soooo many other things for that!) They see it as a more malleable form of transportation. How else can you simultaneously dodge between cars, intimidate pedestrians and presume an air of elevated superiority? I have to admit – especially with the trendy eco angle, it’s altogether genius. I’ve taken to it like an eager teenager and already upgraded my seat to a plushy, gel version. Next come the handlebar streamers…!