People ask if I moved to Amsterdam because of a new job. Well, I do have a new job here but the will to make this move came from something else originally, before that opportunity came up. The reason can be described more as love or longing, a desire to be in a more international, creative, vibrant and inspiring place, which in this case means being true to myself.
For the longest time I’ve had a sort of vision board (à la word nerds, hence text only) with different cities where I could see myself. All with pros and cons. Easy to get a job, already have contacts, high rents, good kizomba, bad weather, and so on. That board has given me headache as well as strength. It’s been staring at me, waiting for me to make a move. It’s been my reminder that I have dreams and aspirations that have to be taken seriously because I deserve that. Although, even if it was supposed to give direction, it has certainly caused a lot of dwelling and questioning at the same time.
I’ve understood that I need something else but have been unsure where. And how. And as a person who always want to make the right decisions, it’s been difficult to figure that out. So what do you do.
When you feel like the city and country you live in takes more energy than you’re getting back. When you escape traveling every weekend and on the flight back feeling like you’re going in the wrong direction. When you’ve lived there so many years that you know every single street and shortcut, when nothing really inspires you anymore. When you stop swiping because of the uninteresting supply. When ruthless horizontal rain hits your face. When men actually push you aside in order to be the first to enter the bus (yes gentlemen are rare there). When Swedish makes you tired. When you explode of ideas and dreams but the only way to feel alive and in sync with them is when shutting out the slow and grey, disappearing into your own soundtrack with headphones constantly glued to the head. When you bike home through a dull but still nice city filled with a feeling that you don’t belong, and the realisation that something else needs to cure this restlessness and thirst for freedom.
When things are actually pretty good. But you still feel empty.
Then it’s time for change. So the board has been around a while – meaning it took me some time, but with a more defined direction, friends’ support, contacts and coincidences, Amsterdam suddenly felt like the natural choice. Right now. Everything changes as we know so let me emphasise that this is where I want to be now, I want to give this city and job my best and hopefully we’re a good match. How long I’m staying is also a frequently asked question. My answer is how can I know? What we have is now.
And then you might think, isn’t she running away? Isn’t happiness something from within regardless city? Well yes and no. Thing is I am happy. Just not content. And I do believe that cultures and places impact our well-being and our feeling of belonging enormously.
So far, my love for this city grows for every day. I can’t stop smiling. Biking around here feels unreal, every little inch of the city center is so beautiful. I feel calm, and like I’m not longer superior to my city, but rather can grow into Amsterdam and I look up to her. You’re right, might be a honeymoon phase I know, but I haven’t felt pure happiness like this in a while and I’m so grateful. You know the feeling that arises from within, like a tickling feeling in your heart and stomach that makes you smile ridiculously automatically. So right now, I’m resting in that. Aware of that there will be times when I hate Amsterdam or when I will feel lonely and so on. But why worry.
Leaving Sweden was not so difficult however slightly weird. I was in Stockholm this weekend organising a dance event which was fantastic. But to travel north and sort of come back hit me hard. I felt sad when I arrived and relieved when I got back to Amsterdam again. Can also be the weather difference that was notable. Felt so happy to return to this new air. Embraced by mild temperature, a rain that felt like a summer drizzle and the smell of weed and coffee in every corner.
The first time here has been rather hectic, not only because I didn’t have a place to stay (now I have a temporary solution) but also all the small things you have to learn. For being a person with total control I’ve felt blase and very much a rookie. The language is one barrier but also things like you have to understand. I made some improvements. I got a phone holder for my bike so I can see the map when biking, I also realised if I wear the headphones I can hear the directions instead making it even easier, cause you should know biking here is serious business and you have to be very alert. I now go grocery shopping all prepared with a big backpack like the dutchies. I wear gloves when cycling. I don’t cycle on the sidewalk (penalty). I talk to strangers. Then we have this helmet thing… People don’t wear them here. You can spot a whole family on a bicycle, no helmets in sight. Will I be the only person in Amsterdam wearing a helmet? Or will I get lazy and blend in, and not ordering that Thousand helmet I planned to…
Much love <3 Anna