Archive for the 'Amsterdam' Category

Watching Spring Spring

Vondelpark Amsterdam

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon — or even, ahem, even a Masters level counseling graduate — to know that weather affects mood. We always talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka, how people get depressed in Seattle, but have we focused sufficiently on Spring Syndrome, the condition by which everyone is in a ridiculously good mood on the first few sunny warm days of the year?

I’ve had the privilege of being in London, Vienna, Prauge, and Amsterdam on those “first spring days” over the last couple of weeks. The parks are flooded, people are wearing far too few clothes for the barely-warm weather (especially in London. The British in spring are like Iowans in March. Forty degrees? Shorts!), and everyone’s smiling. Optimism abounds. In Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, so did Heineken and marijuana, but I think those were the tourists.

I want to capture that spirit right now. I don’t want the weather to dictate my attitude. I’m choosing today to diagnose myself with Spring Syndrome for the foreseeable future. Symptoms? A commitment to see new life everywhere I look, a blatant disregard for anything negative, and hope springing stereotypically eternal. No emotional April showers for me. Let the clouds be burnt off my the light of the sun.

It’s a new season, indeed.

Needing home away from home

I arrived in Amsterdam last night after six days on the road in Vienna and Prague. I was supposed to spend a couple days in Berlin before arriving here; instead I spent just a couple hours in a suburban train station there waiting for a connection.

It’s funny how your priorities change. The “task-oriented-check-things-off-the-list” part of me, who organised this week, wanted to visit as many places as possible, post as many photos as is conceivable, and show you all, “Hey. I’m doing this.”

Screw her. She is overly independent, not as tough as she looks, and really not all that fun to hang out with. (She’s the unredeemed New Yorker part of me. The kind that would push her way through South Bronx streets with nary a raised eyebrow. She does come in useful sometimes, I must admit, but mustn’t allow her to rule my life.)

I chose to listen to the “warm-fuzzy-I-love-people” part of me instead, especially when I got deathly ill in Vienna, and my place of refuge was a hostel room shared by seven other girls, two of whom were friendly, but none of whom were family. Warm fuzzy chick me said, “Hey, sweetie. Let’s go to Amsterdam early.” She was right.

From the moment the train crossed over into the Netherlands (made obvious not only by the signs seen from my window, but also by the presence of a new Dutch train crew, including a girl so blonde I wanted to hand her a bouquet of tulips and pair of wooden clogs), I felt at home. I have family here: urban family, spiritual siblings, but very real family all the same.

My success metrics to check off the list today? Love people well. Engage in relationship. Be at peace.

Check.


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