Saturday, March 21, 2009

I am going to miss it.

A long overdue update! Here are a very few pictures from Sweden. The pictures do not do the beauty of this country any justice. Plus, because I had only carry-on luggage, I did not have room to pack a nice camera.
This is the Swedish Kronor. I love European currency. It's like Monopoly money!

This is Vaxholm, the small fishing village we told was a "must see". It wasn't.

Our confusion about why anyone would recommend that we spend an entire day here.

But! We took a ferry back to Stockholm, which included lots of wine that we smuggled out in water bottles. All the liquor stores close on Sundays, and we needed some drinks! It was our only option.

Frozen wonderland in front of the Royal Palace. That's a frozen lake in the background.

Royal Palace

A frozen waterway.

And these are from my class trip to Amsterdam North!

This Catholic church is one of the most prominent buildings seen when exiting Centraal Station. It's crazy that only across the IJ waterway, there is this tiny quaint part of Amsterdam, separate from all the hustle and bustle of the city.

These houses are where the ship captains used to live.

Pretty thangs.

A giant cruise ship in the IJ.

This is low income housing. I want to live there! The area was fragrant with flowers and so so cute. Better than any low income housing I have seen.

Back across the IJ near the Nemo. Old ships.

I've started to cope with things I miss. To replace Mexican food, there is Turkish pizza, Surinamese, Lebanese, Chinese, and all other sorts of different international cuisine to choose from that is just delicious. I've also started to realize who my real friends are. And those who haven't made an effort, they aren't missed. I have no TV, no car. I ride my bike everywhere (20 miles yesterday!) Life is simpler. I am happier. SO much happier. You wouldn't even recognize me.
and some news: I bought my plane ticket to Paris in May! Cooper and his girlfriend are flying there, and then working their way up to Amsterdam, so I am going to spend a long weekend with them in Paris at the beginning of their travels.
Also, Kat and two of her guy friends are coming from their exchange in Spain to stay with me in two weeks! Four people living in my little shipping container. Will definitely be a lot of cuddling. and TOO MUCH FUN.
And I bought a ticket to go see Andrew Bird and Laura Marling at Paradiso. It's going to be an AMAZING show.
There is a boy that I have dubbed Angel Face that I have seen around several times. Something about him intrigues me. I still haven't talked to him yet though.
Mama bird comes to visit in less than a month! April is going to be busy and exciting. We are going to Rome one weekend, then the second we are going to just go all out in Amsterdam.
And lastly, I have a mouse that lives under my refrigerator. I just had to kindly ask it to disappear, as it peered out from under the fridge, looking for crumbs. I probably need a mouse trap, but that just feels wrong. He doesn't bother me so much.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

cha cha, cha cha, cha chaaaa.

Seriously, are any of you listening to Jens Lekman yet? HE IS SETTING MY HEART ON FIRE!
I went to Stockholm last weekend. It is SO beautiful there. The landscapes, and especially the people. Jens was especially enchanting to listen to there, as he is Swedish. I seriously don't know how I got to be so lucky as to have this opportunity. Back home, I went to my parent's house for the weekend. Here, I actually LIVE in Amsterdam, and plan weekend trips to Belgium, Sweden, Spain, England, Ireland, Italy, Germany...the possibilities are endless!
Arriving by train back into Amsterdam after a few days away always gives me butterflies. I honestly think I am in love. In love with people, with places, with how I feel. I embrace walking out of Centraal Station into a light mist and overcast skies. Even though my bike is a piece of shit, I am starting to love it. The weather gets a little better with each passing day. The only Starbucks is in the Schipol Airport. The soup kitchens are precious. Buying a herring sandwich at a stand in the middle of a square is a must. HOT CHOCOLATE. The fashion (THE SALES). People watching. All of the different cultures all packed into the city. Amsterdam is the most culturally diverse city in the world. One minute you're walking down a typically Dutch street, then the next you are surrounded by Caribbean influence. Coffee houses and "coffee shops", I love you both. Going to the zoo stoned. Endless parties...every night. Sexy European men. And above all, the strong sense of independence I have here. You'll have to drag me kicking and screaming away from this place.

"Can you hear the beat of my heart?

Sweden pictures soon!