Last two weeks near Amsterdam with family were great fun, somewhat surprisingly. One and half years ago when I graduated and moved out of the Hague, I promised myself that I would not visit the country anytime soon. I guess I was desperate to leave that part of my life behind and not relive the bittersweet memories that I still occasionally recall unwillingly. I visited the Hague last spring as well for two days, but it was a quick trip during the country’s craziest festival (King’s day) so it went by without me even realising that I had ever actually been in there. This time it was different. I guess two weeks is enough for me to realise that I am no longer in Helsinki where people speak language that I understand.
I did not do very much during my holidays. I ate a lot, because my aunt loves cooking and she makes great food. I also visited Amsterdam quite frequently and as I wrote to her, I think I might have fallen in love with her again and this time permanently. Every visit required me to take a metro 51 from one end to another end and the ride lasted about fifty minutes. Obviously with a foreign SIM-card my iPhone was a useless piece of shit as I do not own any games, but it did not bother me. I had a book or journal articles with me and every time on my way to Amsterdam, my heart was beaming with excitement. Mostly because every time I went there, I got see a friend that I would have not seen in a long time but even the two times I visited the city just on my own my heart could not hold back the exhilaration.
Those metro rides were pleasant and when I think about it, I think I really miss sitting that fifty minutes in the blue/white wagon, reading my book, listening to the music that caresses my ears and once in a while look up at the people and wonder what their stories are. Sometimes I’d get lost in my mind so deep that the person I was thinking of would had already exited the metro without me even realising he left. At times like I think it was mostly because he was so handsome that perhaps I was thinking our wedding or something silly along those lines…
I was really happy to see so many of my friends while visiting the Netherlands. I saw Marianne, well, in all honesty I have seen her quite frequently this year but every single time in a new place (Helsinki, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Brussels, Lisbon and now finally back in Amsterdam!). I cannot believe she is moving to Australia next year, though. I know I should be happy that she gets to fulfil her dreams, but it doesn’t have to stop me feeling a bit selfish that I cannot have her in this continent. Luckily she will come back after a year.
I also got to see Sofia who visited me in Helsinki, Xiao that I saw in London and Dave who I have not seen since I graduated. With Sofia we ended up walking endlessly to find a restaurant and ultimately we just ended up eating at a Chinese fast-food chain (Wok to Walk), which was pretty decent. Xiao and I pretended to be tourists and realised that in fact neither of us had seen the famous iamsterdam-sign so we went looking for it! And Dave, let me not even start how our nights went! We had fun, that is for sure.
I was at my worst when I lived in the Netherlands. The experience, from the beginning to the very end, was distressingly the sorest period I have endured. While I tend to romanticise the past to a large extent, I do not remember fondly the time I had to spend there.
However, I guess I have realised that despite the gruesome character of my undergraduate studies I have been quite lucky. I made amazing friends, that I have actually succeeded to see even after the graduation when we all departed our separate ways. I genuinely did not think I would see most of them ever again, although many supported me through the roughest chapter of my book. Partly because I did not know if I wanted to reminiscence the time we spent together in the Hague, but mostly because I was accustomed to losing touch with the great people that I am blessed to meet and befriend. That time I had succeeded to live in six countries within seven years and I was not left with much from all my visits. Even the most permanent thing I thought I had achieved, a person that thought would stay whatever would happened became just a memory. I was prepared to the same.
But things worked out quite differently with the friends that life rendered me while living in the Hague. For now at least. I know the future will not be the same, but also I regained the strength to believe that even if I met a dear friend of mine after decades of separation and silence, we would be able to pick up from where we left. Because in all honesty I am not the most social person in the world, I do not do small talk and I am often awkward. But if I become friends with someone, it is special. And usually the process of befriending is instant with me. You just know.
Now I do look forward to visiting the Netherlands. Not so much the Hague still, because Amsterdam is what I love and cherish despite the reservations I had when we lived nearby each other. I just love the city so much.
So New Years is gone and this year I made no lists for myself, it is the first time since 2011 I did not write a list of things to accomplish and I feel rather liberated. I do have a couple of things in my mind like reading more books, gaining more self-confidence and more general stuff but nothing really concrete. I do want to read more novels this year and therefore write more, which explains why I am writing this very text right now. Often I think I do not have anything to write, it is all too boring, it is irrelevant and I have become quite reserved when it comes to writing but now I am just not giving shit anymore. Well, ok, trying not give a fuck would be a more accurate statement. And I think that is pretty much the most perfect resolution to make if one has to make a promise.
New Year’s Eve went smoothly. I still love fireworks and I was rather surprised how much light exploded in the sky in the neighbourhood where my aunt lives. It was a beautiful sight. I have an incredible weak spot for fireworks.
While I was in the Netherlands, I also got a call from Finland! I was not expecting the number to show up on my phone anymore, but there it was and for a split second I thought of not answering because I was afraid they were calling all interviewees and I like everyone else in this world doesn’t like to receive bad news, especially over phone. Anyway I picked up the phone and trying to sound all normal, which consequently makes you sound as absurd and bogus as possible, I say my name pretending not to know who was calling me. The women on the other line stated her name, mentioned our interview and continued that they had just held their latest interview and unanimously agreed that they would like to offer a position to me if I was still keen on taking it. I might have gotten a bit too overexcited, but at least I didn’t sound phony anymore.
So I will start working at Amnesty International in two weeks as an assistant to the gender and sexuality expert! It is a six month post and includes lobbying, researching and writing statements and I cannot believe I got the place. In other words I guess my days at university are over… did not last very long considering I only started my graduate studies last fall, but I cannot miss this opportunity. And I am still in fact planning to do a full amount of credits for this semester, but just with independent work because I no longer can attend lectures or seminars.
This year looks pretty good! An excellent job, no serious new years resolutions and a couple of good-looking Tinder matches. What else could you wish for?