23 d’abril 2016

Just the way it is

How annoying is it not to be able to finish your blog reports due to the nomadic circumstances and the lack of opportunities to get good internet connections in some South American countries?
Good news are, I have been taught how to put a video together and my nightmare trip through Paraguay will come out in the form of a video. I hope I can post some more on that great trip, but, for now, life goes on, and life is taking me back where it all began: Amsterdam.

I'll start like this: how strange. I have completed a painless record stay in Barcelona of three weeks without drama. The weirdest thing of all is that after connecting to my roots I landed in Amsterdam and I didn't cry of sorrow upon landing, as I usually do.

Strange but exciting. As soon as I landed I felt grounded. And I got to my buurt, rang in Pats next door and walked in as if I lived there part time (well, I DO live there part time).
The first thing she said when she saw me was: "you just woke me up from the nicest doze" and walked back to the couch. I love long  friendships! Time picks up where we left it and I felt right at home. I ran to the coffee machine immediately to make things better. I admit I had never been so jet lagged from a 2 hour trip.

I have a detailed to-do list, where I have spent hours sorting admin stuff. My accountant came in the next day and showed me the amount of tax I have to pay this year as well. Ouch. And that all without using the country much. How do they want me to stay if they milk me this way? *end of rant*

In the meantime I have been able to see friends and the weekend will bring more to see. And those friends feed me and even let me take tuppers with leftovers because I have no kitchen in the attic. It will take a while until I can use my own kitchen downstairs, and a few months until I am financially stable, but the good news are that I got my blender back, so I am now entering the realms of raw veganism.

Until my cosy flat becomes available again, I have settled upstairs. I like staying here, it is cosy and self-contained. The first night I went downstairs to see the tenant and talk about future plans. I think she tried to poison me with Slavic delicious berry stuff (Eastern Europe=a paradise for berries).

Although it's just the zolder bed, I am stoked to have my own space after living temporarily at other people's places

My tenant poisoned me with this and I was sick the next morning
After the poisoning, I managed to woman up and decided to go for a run. I took my brand new Fairphone 2© because I hadn't seen the Oosterpark's renovation and because I wanted to try its quality camera. The park looked quite the same length, only with access to pretty buildings.
Here a photoshow of the walk:

Castanjeplein, one of the gateways to the Oosterpark. Allegedly my favourite square in Amsterdam. Its simplicity strikes me. I love these giant metal chestnuts!
So, as an ex-resident re-residing, I was looking for the known places in the park: the drunks who always cheered me every time I did a (jogging) round, the statue of freedom that always made me feel better when I was feeling down (often in NL) and the scream, that reminds me of the first day I moved in Amsterdam. I moved to Oost the day the film director, columnist and writer Theo Van Gogh was brutally murdered in daylight. I had planned to explore the area by bike that day, but the access from the Linnaeustraat was blocked and full of forensic police (guys in white overalls everywhere). It was a very weird arrival, I must say.
The barrio of Oost-Watergraafsmeer dedicated him years later a sculpture in the Oosterpark: De Schreeuw, the scream. The Scream symbolises the pain T.Van Gogh went through as he was stabbed in a brutal way during daylight while riding not far from the park.

Check list:

1. the drunks: They are still at the same spots they used to hang out.
sneaky shot. They are fewer, but more spread through the park.
2. The Scream.
no more floral offerings seen :-( I'll bring him one next time

Item nr 3: Vrijheid

Last time I was visiting Amsterdam it felt like good-bye. I am not quite getting used to the weather, it is grim. It is windy and icy. It changes my mood. When the layers of clouds cover the sky I feel tired and I suddenly have the need to fly somewhere warmer. 
I have been doing a round of casual encounters with old friends. I must say I am so lucky to know such extraordinary people, so warmhearted and giving I can't thank it enough. 

On a casual meeting with a guy new to Amsterdam the lady at the café thought I was a good candidate to work in this coffee place. So she offered me a job. Just around the corner from home. 
I also visited the language school I worked for nothing during my unemployed gap year. The owner remembered me and it was nice to chat about old acquaintances. Good vibes, I hope I can teach a few classes soon.
And on this very popular weekend leading to King's Day I got a tourist guide gig. Which allows me to get out of the house and walk around. 
Today, April 23rd, international day of the book, I decided that next to the unavoidable tourist attractions I was going to show my tourist some emblematic book shops. And I went to the Second Hand Bookstore on the Kloveniers Burgwal - Joao, if you read this, the one I sent you to to meet my broer Federico.
And then I found it! 
Proud owner of a book which was long on my wish list: 
Now my next mission is to meet Mr Diamond in person!
Tonight I have organised a dinner in a restaurant managed by blind people where you dine in complete darkness, shutting one of your senses. 

Not a bad week to start off, but still work in process on re-adapting... Will I stay? 
... to be continued