I’ve officially been living in Amsterdam for a whole week!
And I love it so far! The city is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve spent a good chunk of everyday walking along the canals and admiring all of the skinny houses while trying not to get run over by the racing bikes. Luckily, the Dutch weather gods have been nice so far and it’s barely rained (though that’s supposed to change soon).
I arrived last Wednesday and moved into my new apartment. Technically it’s a “waterfront” apartment, but the water is an industrial pier and our apartment is a glorified shipping container. Other negatives: the extremely sparse kitchen and frightening shower that soaks the entire bathroom with each use. Luckily, the place itself is pretty large, the rooms are clean, our kitchen came fully stocked and my flatmates are awesome 🙂 I’m living with two girls, a Canadian and a Kiwi. They are both lovely and excited to explore Amsterdam and the rest of Europe.
Unfortunately, I didn’t register for the official international student intro week (must have missed that email) but neither did one of my flatmates, so we took the first few days to do our own introduction! We got acquainted with the city centre, found our classrooms, figured out transportation and visited the Anne Frank Huis.
The Anne Frank Huis was an incredible experience – very moving to actually be in the rooms that the Frank family lived in for over a year. To walk the steep stairs to their attic, touch the bookshelf that hid their entrance and see their slim view of the outside world through a window made their experience come to life. One part that really stuck with me was a video interview with Miep Gies, one of the ladies who assisted the family in hiding and collected the pages of Anne’s diary when the family was discovered. In the interview, she explains how Mr. Frank asked her if she wanted to help the Franks hide. Her answer: of course, yes. That much certainty and courage for such a dangerous task is almost unthinkable and extremely impressive.
These last few days also included a visit to IKEA (first time for my Kiwi flatmate), impromptu birthday celebration of pizza and waffles, cooking adventures, orientations, strolling through markets, a potluck dinner in our apartment complex and the reason I’m actually here: going to class! The semester is a little strange here, but at the moment I only have two classes. They’re both pretty interesting and seem to be off to a good start.
And for the secret reason I’m here: travelling! So far I’ve got two trips booked (and many more in the works). Next week, my flatmate and I are spending 5 days in Milan, Italy! And then in March, I’m meeting up with a fellow UBC-er in London where I’ll be volunteering at We Day UK! So excited to keep booking flights and discovering the rest of Europe while falling deeper in love with my new Dutch home 🙂
Doei! Dank u wel! (The only Dutch I know…)