Thursday, August 02, 2007

Taking a Break

I've got the week off in Amsterdam which is nice because the weather has been spectacular. A few people have commented that i seem to be having a lot of ups and downs. That's definately true. In the relief world, we talk about the five lifesaving needs: food, water, shelter, hygiene, and healthcare. Some of those have been threatened in the past month making me extremely anxious. The coping mechanisms don't seem to be working like they used to. But having Alec, my bestest buddy and concrete wall of support, visit me for three days makes me feel renewed and in love with this city again.

While i don't want to bore with the particulars, here's the goods and the bads of three months in Amsterdam.

  • Exploring the city on my bike - remembering what it felt like in the pre-car days of zipping through the streets at night with the wind in your hair.
  • Cool restaurants, bars, cafes, parks, museums, and galleries - definately a wonderful city
  • Meeting new people - meeting my new Dutch friends and other expats
  • Renewing friendships with old friends and their kids.
  • Being challenged at work - meeting really dedicated people who are working under hard conditions to help others. feeling proud whenever I tell someone where I work and they react positively - I'm learning new things almost every day which is good.
  • Losing some weight from exercising and feeling healthy
  • Long summer evenings
  • Riding small boats around on the canals drinking wine with friends
  • Very good inexpensive wine in the grocery stores
  • Great cheese everywhere
  • Fabulous breads
  • The option of taking a boat ferry for a commute!

  • Mosquitos - the Dutch mosquitos are the only ones in the world that have ever bitten me.
  • Being awakened at 3am by my neighbors fighting, a mosquito buzzing in my ear, the water heater over my bed cycling on and off constantly, and simon chasing the mosquito - falling asleep at 5am and having to awaken at 5:3oam to ride to the train station in the pouring rain.
  • 50 degrees and July.
  • Learning that I will probably be evicted from my apartment in October so having to do the apartment hunt all over again but in August when everyone is on vacataion - fear of being tossed out on the street with my cat.
  • The office politics of where I work - lots of french male egos and obscure regulations
  • Dealing with new systems for the daily life (bank, travel, health care, shopping)
  • Being in a whole different timezone from my family and friends
  • Feeling like noone here really understands me yet - still constantly in small talk mode.
  • Feeling anxious to prove myself at work and do something worthwhile but afraid of running afoul of all the egos and the obscure work regulations and inadvertently causing a negative reputation.

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