Monday, February 09, 2009

2/8/04: Amsterdam

In the spring of 2004, I spent a semester in Dalkeith, Scotland. It was a time of searching, exploring and maturing for me. I planned the trip for over a year and made the commitment to keep two journals. One in a calendar to keep track of daily activities, and one in a journal, journal. I poured my heart out to my beloved blue journal, endlessly. Occasionally, I like to look back and see what I was doing "today" in 2004.
Here is a snippet of my journal entry from February 8, 2004:

[Editor's note: this was written while visiting Amsterdam, Netherlands.]
Today is McClain's birthday. I hope he is doing well.

[...]

On Friday, we got up early and went to the Anne Frank Museum, which is one of the most depressing thing ever. They've set up the old house that they hid in to be just like it was when they were hiding, and it was so well done that you couldn't help but feel like you were trespassing in someone's private life. I was very moved at the end of the tour when I realized that Anne's father outlived her. I don't know what I thought, but not that. He was the one who published her diary, which made me so sad, because I imagined my own father reading my journal for some reason. I don't know...it was just very touching to me that he was able to finally know his daughter so intimately--after hear death--and decide that her thoughts and feelings were print-worthy.

[...]

People come to Amsterdam from all over the world, which I find strange. [Many of them are] coming to participate in a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. I'm happy to say that we leave tomorrow, and I've managed to maintain my purity: I have not seen the red-light district, and I have not smoked anything--nor will I!
I'll never forget how many people ride bikes in Amsterdam, or how much anxiety crossing the street causes me, because neither bicycle nor automobile are quick to stop if you are in their way. Also, every country I visit, only Americans and old women wait for the light to change at the crosswalk. Go figure.
I think I should describe where we are staying. We're at #43C Plantage Straat, Amsterdam, Netherlands. It's basically a flat with two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen/dining area, AND a patio [Editors note: I remember very, very little of any of this.] There are three beds, two couches, two easy chairs, a tv, and a dining area in the one main room. Then in the other bedroom there are three beds, and my room has a double bed. We have two bathrooms that make up one. Toilet and sink in one--no mirror. Tub, sink and mirror in the other. [Editors note: I do not remember bathing at all while visiting Amsterdam.] We are on the top floor. The woman below us is old and crippled, with a little tiny dog and she yells at us to not make noise coming up the stairs because her baby is sleeping. Weird. There are very strange people in this city.


I'm not sure why I felt like sharing this. It's something that captured my heart tonight.

3 comments:

Kelli said...

It's a good thing that you kept the journals. Now you have proof that you bathed and what it was like there. Thanks for sharing them.

P.S. If you ever go back to Scotland, would you take me with you?

erin said...

Aye.

angie said...

i love this. it could be a PBS special (and that's a compliment.).