Today marks a month since the start of my program, which means a month and a day since Amsterdam and I fell in love at first sight. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was back in New York, working 12-hour days to save up for the impossibly far away dream that was study abroad. Being here, having been here for a full month without even realizing it, reminds me that the difficult is rarely impossible and almost always worth it.
Some friends and I took a day trip to Den Haag or The Hague, the seat of the Dutch government, also known as the international city of peace and justice. Beside the stellar bike paths mentioned above, Holland also has frequent and affordable train service between cities. For €7, we were able to see the Binnenhof (Dutch parliament building, also the oldest parliament building still in use in the world), the Peace Palace (home to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice, or an international affairs major's dream come true), and spend the entire afternoon continuously snacking and enjoying live music at a free food festival. If you are ever lucky enough to find yourself in this beautiful country, don't forget that it has more to offer than Amsterdam.
Tonight, I was able to snag last minute tickets to a Beirut concert that has been sold out for months. The show was held at Paradiso, a scenic church-turned-venue that is as beautiful as the music it plays host to. It's difficult to explain the cathartic value of a good show to someone who wasn't just there with you, but tonight was the kind of night when the weather is unexpectedly wonderful and everything sounds just a little more intense and you can't help but feel both alone with the music and together with all the people around you. I can't imagine a more perfect way to celebrate my first month in Amsterdam.
Happy monthiversary, Amsterdam! Here's to many more!
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<p>Hallo! My name is Aniqa Raihan and I am a junior at the George Washington University majoring in international affairs. I'm hoping to take my international education beyond the classroom by spending a semester in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Join me as I meet new people, explore new places, and hopefully, find my home away from home.</p>