As the days get warmer and longer, Amsterdam really comes alive. People are biking and walking from the morning until late at night. As I sit in cafes and day dream while avoiding a certain final paper, I wonder if anyone actually works or goes to school here. The locals always seem to be out an about making their way to whatever destination they are headed to or just laying alongside the canals. I envy their relaxed nature and attitudes. I recently read an article in Time magazine saying that the country with the most part time workers is the Netherlands. Is that why everyone is so incredibly happy all the time? I would not mind working part time and lounging at cafes for the rest of my life.
But let's be real. This last month I have constantly felt like a child who cannot sit still in their seat. Every time I lay out my books and laptop, immediately, I want to get out and do something else. I was always like this back at home because studying is not what I want to do every single day of my life. But it is even harder to focus now because the sun is out, people are out, there are festivals, boats continuously weaving through the canals. It is taking a lot of self control just to sit down and write this blog post. My feet are shaking and I am repeatedly looking outside the window. Studying indoors is not something I am capable of at this moment because there is so much I still want to do. Nonetheless, I have gotten my fill of outdoors for the last couple of days. Yesterday, it was a beautiful sixty degrees with an abundance of sun. Our art class was studying modern art and did a sort of hotel hop. We visited two hotels because they were both built in the twentieth century. The first one, The Grand Hotel, was very posh and our professor told us to behave ourselves. We can get a little over the top, occasionally, because we have a lot of fun with one another. Parked outside the hotel were multiple Jaguars if that tells you anything... The hotel was insanely upscale. Why we went into the hotel was not to feel in-superior but to look at a piece of art hidden away in a separate entrance. Between two entrances was a large canvas that took up the entire wall by a Cobra artist named Karel Appel. The work depicted starving children in Germany after the second World War. I am not one for modern art but this piece really stuck out to me. You would never guess its significance because it looks like a random arrangement of shapes and colors.
Today, another class of mine took a walking tour through Amsterdam to visit monuments. It was another beautiful day with the sun completely making its way out from behind the clouds. The canals were bustling with activity while we walked from one monument to the next. Doing this tour through areas I had already walked through made me realize, again, how little I have seen. For instance, there is a monument dedicated to persecuted homosexuals during World War II just outside of the Anne Frank House. There are three large triangles all in different areas which makes up the entire monument. It was quite special because it had wreaths and bouquets laid out all along the steps leading into the water. After the walk, I was completely exhausted. Don't experts tell you to take a walk outside if you are tired because it will give you energy? I feel like it is the opposite with me. After being out in the sun all I want is a nap. However, once I rest in my bed, immediately, I get squirmy again and want to go out exploring. I guess it is just the travel bug in me.
I think I will remember these sunny days in Amsterdam for a very long time after I leave the city. It is the small things like walking into an upscale hotel and seeing an unexpected work of art, riding through the seeds falling from trees like snow, getting sleepy on a warm afternoon, or trying to balance purple daisies and a grocery bag on a bike (that happened) that I will remember the most. I look back on the amazing weekend trips I have taken to other countries but I always seem to remember more details of the art class expedition one time or a delicious soy capuccino. The days in which nothing spectacular happens are the days I love the most months after they take place.
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<p>Although I am a Kansas native, I can honestly say I have never witnessed a tornado, tended to the farm, or religiously watched The Wizard of Oz. I am a studious college student who enjoys going into the city and testing new ethnic restaurants or going to a symphony performance on the weekends. This explains why my phone primarily consists of photos of food porn and Kansas City architecture. I study international relations and Spanish, both of which offer me a different perspective to the world beyond the Midwest. I often find myself distracted walking to and from class because I hoard pinecones and insist on showing my friends the ones I come across. </p>