06 March 2008

day one

today is my first day on my own here. i walked scott to the train station (about a 15 min round trip) this morning as he went off for his first day of work. to be honest i slept most of the morning, as i'm still not quite caught up...the 20 hours it took to get here did not help in the acclimation process!! but when i got up, i made myself a cappuccino ;-) and a little list of things we needed at the market. we literally have a grocery store, a "bartells", a wine/liquor store, a card/magazine shop (with a clerk who was smoking behind the counter today!), a fresh produce market, a bakery, a butcher, a flower shop, and an amazing clothing boutique across the street! we look down on them from our living room windows and bedroom balcony...it's pretty nice for me! so anyway, i spent about two hours today looking at things in all the shops trying to figure out what's what. they have everything in tiny little packages, just meant for one or two servings--no waste! as for the food, they have everything i could ever need...i just need to learn a little dutch so that i can figure out what they hell things are, and how to cook them. just going by the pictures has already made for a couple of funny surprises!

i have to admit, scott is a natural when it comes to talking to the locals, but it's not quite as easy for me. it's going to take some "stepping outside the comfort zone" on my part for awhile. i'm determined, though. ;-) i could not have asked for a more perfect place to be. diemen is an upscale suburb with the most darling houses, gardens, tiny little rivers, and tons of families...moms, kids, and bikes everywhere! and so clean, and neat! i feel very safe here...no one even locks their bikes or mopeds. it's purely dutch people here...which is pretty cool. our apartment (flat) is huge!

it's bigger than my apartment in queen anne and it has two balconies, a dishwasher (the dishwasher, freezer, and fridge look like the rest of the cupboards until you open them!!) and a washer and dryer, and more storage space than i know what to do with! it's full of windows and natural light, which is good because it gets dark earlier here (it's freezing, btw...very windy) and the lighting in our flat is dimmer than i'm used to. ikea lamps here i come...

we went into amsterdam yesterday and covered some serious ground. from diemen, it's about a six minute train ride into centraal station. once we got out of the super tourist area i was able to take it all in a bit more. this place is gorgeous. the architecture, the wrought iron work on all the windows and railways, the canals, the bridges, the super chic girls on their bikes, the bread...oh, lord, the bread!!!, the flowers EVERYWHERE, the museums...and on and on. the thing that struck me a bit was how quite things were...hardly any cars! just bike...lots of bikes. ;-) it made it more relaxing...as long as you look both ways!

we went into a cafe called lust which turned out to be very posh, and having no money, we just ordered coffee...the best i've ever

had...no sugar needed...and the waiter could not have cared less if we sat there all day. i'm pretty sure it would never occur to him that we should order something else. what a nice feeling! i went into my first coffee shop, and it was horrible. luckely, i went into a second and third coffee shop, the they were much more my style ;-) i also found an amazing paper shop and a print and antique map/botanical shop...those are enough to make me a very happy girl!

scott and i are both sore from all the walking already...we have a ways to go before we catch up to all these life-long active amsterdamers...regardless of age they are ALL hip, thin, active, and seemingly very content and happy with life. what a concept!

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