Adventures in mould and other small things

Charlie (Charles) McDowell
February 16, 2017

What to do if I accidentally ate mouldy bread?

The answer to the question is nothing. Nothing will happen if you accidentally eat moldy bread, except you’ll feel like the worst excuse for an adult on the planet. At home I’ve never accidentally made and eaten a sandwich before realizing there was mold on it, but the event in and of itself is a perfect example of how my two weeks in Amsterdam have been so far. Somehow everything seems to be moving by so quickly, but at the same time it feels as if I’ve been here for months already. Long enough for bread to mold, but simultaneously only an instant has gone by.

Everything I do is an adventure, and while some things seem to be the same as back home it is really just a clever illusion. A trick, meant to make everything feel as if it’s been moved two inches to the left. The differences are never too startling, but it makes every day almost like a game. So far, I’ve battled my tiny shower for the correct water temperature and pressure, been defeated by my bicycle, cracked the code of Dutch addresses, and been forced to navigate the labyrinth of aisles at my local grocery store, Jumbo (which despite the name is relatively small).

Sometimes these adventures look like a trip to Rotterdam, and hopelessly looking for your friends on the trip back after realizing you don’t know where your train is going. Sometimes these adventures lie in trying to figure out how to weigh your bananas at the grocery store. It is finding adventure in every moment that makes this experience fun. While my transition has been relatively painless, there is still a cultural gap. Things that would be easy for me to do in America are not always as easy in the Netherlands.

Sometimes I feel bad or not going on bigger adventures, for not exploring the city on my days off or planning trips outside of the country just yet. These are big adventures, and ones that I mean to complete, but not all adventures have to be huge. I can still be the person that likes to spend my nights reading and sleeping in until the sun is fully up. I can find adventure in grocery shopping or biking to class, and some days that’s all the adventure I need.

I made it this far in my journey and I’m not going to stop now, but sometimes the adventure comes in the small things. I’m not going to hide from that either. Every new experience teaches me something different about myself. I’m good at navigating public transport, bad at talking to people, and have a better appreciation for why people like soccer so much. I’m also 85% good at making rice and like hummus a lot more than I thought I did.

I’m embracing every experience I have, because this is the journey I have decided to make. I’ve already learned so much, and know I will only continue to learn more with each passing day. I can’t wait to see what else I accomplish by the time my bread molds again.

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Charlie (Charles) McDowell

<p>I am a 20 year old Psychology and Intercultural Studies major escaping the suburbs of Chicago in search of an adventure. I can be found reading or writing most of the time, and love to talk to people. I&#39;ve been daydreaming of traveling the world since I was a child, and am so excited that the time for that is finally here! Thank you for stopping by, I hope my stories are as helpful to you as these moments were for me.</p>

2017 Spring
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Elmhurst University
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