Amsterdam, finally. It’s been great being back home and receiving such a warm welcome from friends without whom Amsterdam wouldn’t feel like home in the first place. Back on my rusty pink bike, back to beach volleyball, back to hanging out in lovely parks. But being back also feels like being in twilight zone: all is familiar and all feels like home except I no longer have my apartment and I no longer have my job. I’m starting over all over again.
This takes energy and at the moment my reserves are pretty low; I just went through one of the toughest years of my life, topped with one of the most disappointing results in my life. For this reason I will not be dedicating much (any?) time, at least not for the next several months, to my dear Traveling Dirt Bunny blog. If anyone wants to get in touch feel free to leave a comment on any page – I moderate so if you don’t want your comment to show up just mention it. Thank you all for your support and flattery, highly appreciated! If I have made any of you smile then I’ve made the world a better place, and I hope I’ve gotten the message across that following dreams is hard and scary but it’s worth it because we don’t know when we’ll see the sun for the last time.
Right now I’m tired and scared – more reasons to stop blogging! – so I’d like to wave you bye with a smile and tell you about my favorite things about the places where I’ve lived so far:
Brazil was crafted by the hands of God, though it is slowly being torn apart by the hands of man. Incredibly beautiful nature! Everyone in Brazil smiles and laughs, no matter how poor. To a Brazilian being alive is reason enough to celebrate with song and dance. A Brazilian’s attitude is summed up in one of my favorite samba songs: “Life could be better but isn’t it beautiful already!“
2. The USA
Americans’ can-do attitude and generosity, and their ability to identify opportunities in obstacles. Optimism and California sunsets! New York City and its amazing energy, a city where anything can happen, a place where rich and poor can mingle in a dive bar, a city where an immigrant kid can charm a famous millionaire in the street. Beach volleyball in Central Park!
Parisian croissants and baguettes. A picnic on the Pont des Arts in Paris, from where you can watch the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower. A summer night’s walk along the Seine, with Paris all to yourself. The way a Frenchman’s flirtations and flattery can make a cold, rainy winter day feel like a sunny, warm Spring day, and make a woman feel like a giggly teenager again.
The food! The wine! The gestures that can only be learned by living among Italians. Fabulous Milan fashion, gelato near Lake Como, real bolognese sauce in Bologna, the blue waters of Capri and the fact that in Ostia Antica carriages weren’t allowed in town so to avoid noise pollution. The way ancient and brand new co-exist in Rome.
Beautiful landscapes from top to bottom, vinho verde and fresh fish. Someone asking me if I was feeling well in the metro on a particularly stressful day. Generous food portions, awe-inspiring sunsets, with magnificent shades of blues and reds, and Lisbon covered in a magnificent golden light at sunset. Tram 28!
6. The Netherlands
Amsterdam, mijn liefde. My dear Amsterdam. What a romantic city. I love riding around the canals after the cars disappear at night and all you hear is the occasional bicycle passing by. Dutch sense and some of their logic, including legalized prostitution and drugs. Big windows, great bike lanes and gorgeous (however frustrating) Dutch men. The Dutch language, sunsets in Zandvoort and haring!
I once had a party in which I put couches on my front porch and people found it a bit weird so when I saw the Dutchies on their couch (picture above), I realized that nobody’s strange, we just need to find a place where we fit in. For me that place’s Amsterdam and as much as I find the Dutch quirky (and I’m still a bit annoyed at the whole deportation thing), turns out I’ve always been a little Dutch myself. But when someone asked me if I’ll stay in Amsterdam forever, I couldn’t say yes. Right now I’m happy here but I don’t know and I can’t be bothered to worry about what tomorrow brings. I’m learning not to stress out and I really don’t mind just waiting for the winds to change.