here, there, everywhere

The Best City in the World

In Europe, The Netherlands on March 28, 2006 at 9:39 pm

In 1996 I moved to Amsterdam to work in the Red Light District in a Christian Youth Hostel.  It was the best year of my life, the drama, excitement, intrigue, adventure, and everything else put all my sense on heightened alert.  That and I was working with a bunch of other people just like me, people who loved the dodgy-ness of life and the high excitement of the unknown.  Because it was such an amazing year I’m fairly certain I left a huge part of my heart there when I left.  Whenever I come back, which is as often as possible, I immediately feel grounded and whole again, as if I’ve been reunited with my whole self.  I met up with some of the friends from the Shelter days back in the hostel.  There have been a lot of renos but the smell is the same and as we walked in the front door we were immediately transported back those 10 years.

Rosemary, 2m Pieter, me, Anneke, and Henni in the cafeteria of the Shelter. The mural was painted by Jessica in the time I worked there.

I also headed to Zwolle to visit Arnout whom I hadn’t seen since I got off the truck in India 3 years earlier.  It was great to see him and even more interesting to hear his perspective of the trip.  Since none of us live in the same place none of us have talked about our experiences with the others.  It’s cool to hear how he saw some of our adventures but it was also nice to see him in his home environment and meet his friends.  The two days there were well spent and too quick.

Speeding by power lines on the train to Zwolle.

Arnout and me reunited at the train station in Zwolle, probably the cleanest we’d ever seen each other.

Correct me if I’m wrong, Arnout, but I think this is the view of the church in Zwolle.

A sidewalk in Canada is a main street in Holland.

After I got back to Amsterdam Gerla and I jumped in a car and headed to Brugge for a couple of days.  As we sat in a nice restaurant eating a decent dinner, I thought about our lovely hotel room waiting for us later on.  This was spurred on by seeing backpackers cruising the streets looking for a cheap place to stay.  While I’m glad I had those experiences myself I am more than happy that I’m at a stage in life where I can afford the finer things.  And I’m grateful that after all these years there are still good friends to share the memories with.

Snapping shots of Gerla for her upcoming missions journey in Madagascar.

A canal in Brugge, possibly the one where Colin Farrell jumped out the window in “In Bruges”

Another canal in Brugge.

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