Am I in heaven?

Really if I could close my eyes and conjure up what life after death entails, Amsterdam is almost IT. And I never even knew until I arrived…

THE FOOD

It’s fresh, it’s organic, it’s everywhere. It’s expensive, so often I just get one meal a day but it’s something to daydream about and look forward to! Bonus: There is good Mexican food to be found in every neighborhood.

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THE BIKING

The paths often run along the canals and they’re quite flat. The city, despite being one of the major urban hubs of the world, is not that big geographically so it’s possible to get to most parts of the city within an hour. There are so many charming towns and areas just outside of the city, all connected to by bike paths totally separate from the highways: very safe and easy and marked by signs.

THE TRAINS

You can get to anywhere in the Netherlands with its extensive train system daily, and to just about any country you want in Europe with an overnight train. Basically the opposite of an isolated island. But you never want to leave anyway, since you’re already in heaven.

THE LIBERALITY

“Come as you are” is the theme of the church I’ve been attending here (Hillsong) and really that’s the message of the city itself: tolerance of all people and backgrounds. I’m not a particularly wild person, but I like for people to have the freedom to be whatever they are so long as it doesn’t infringe on my life, and Amsterdam manages that perfectly. They hosted the Euro Gay pride parade this year.

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THE CRIME RATE

Yet, despite all of the refugees and immigrants and various backgrounds, there is almost no crime or terrorist activity.

THE ENVIRONMENT

It’s clean. The air is fresh. The water is potable. It’s just beautiful everywhere here.IMG_1623IMG_1625

THE LANGUAGE

Despite Dutch as the official language, nearly everyone speaks flawless English and there are English language books and brochures and signs everywhere!

THE MUSEUMS

I’ve been going to 2-3 museums a day here. So much history and art. I’ve seen The Girl With the Pearl Earring by Vermeer, and The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius, both with bestselling novels written about them. I’ve become a newfound devotee of Rembrandt. Why do I love museums so much? I don’t know. I just do and there’s no end of them here.IMG_1647

THE PARKS

Kids playgrounds and green spaces everywhere.

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THE LOCALS

They don’t fit the stereotype of grumpy Europeans. Quick to smile, quirky, practical, to the point and honest, and chatty-that’s been my experience here.

THE VISITORS

Everyone wants to come to Amsterdam, apparently; we’ve had takers and almost-takers on people coming to visit us. It’s easy to reach from most parts of the world—unlike, say, South Africa or New Zealand, also amazing their own right but not nearly as accessible.

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THE APARTMENT

It has a piano, a dishwasher, an oven, a library of books, and a washing machine. Modern conveniences that I never take for granted now.

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CHEESE

There are towns here named Gouda and Edam. Any place that invents cheese, surely must know what’s necessary for a good life.

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BUT I am not in heaven.

The weather reminds me of that…rainy and chilly even in the summer. Well, if I died and went to Amsterdam, I’d still be happy so long as I had a raincoat and warm clothes.

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