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Third weekend 100% in Amsterdam – loved it!

August 1, 2011

This past weekend was the third weekend since moving to the Netherlands that was spent 100% in the city of Amsterdam. It was fantastic. Busy, productive, fun, and funny! After traveling to Antwerp last weekend and with all that Bram and I have on our plates, we were really looking forward to staying put, but that doesn’t mean we stood still!

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Friday night started off strong! My cousin Jessica and I had an hour long video skype chat and it really made my day. I can’t imagine life with out skype, to be honest. It was great catching up with her, as she is one of the most kick ass people I know! Later in the evening, Bram, our housemate Dominic, and I had dinner downstairs from our apartment at a Thai restaurant. Literally down the stairs and one door over we have a pretty decent Thai restaurant. After dinner we headed downtown to meet up with Bram’s friend, Anand. Anand and his family were spending weeks during the summers on Bram’s family’s campsite even before Bram was born. They became friends as youngsters on the campsite. Anand is one of the few people I met who was born and raised in Amsterdam. Similar to NYC and DC, Amsterdam attracts many people into its walls, so finding real Amsterdamers is quite a treat! We met Anand at a gay bar and basically hopped around the gay area of Amsterdam for a while. It was a lot of fun and the music at most of the bars we went to was great. It was itching to dance! Unfortunately, we headed to a straight bar where there was a big-ish dance floor and the music was pretty terrible….random karaoke and the ‘classics’ made for an interesting anthropologic observation of Dutch nightlife, but I sadly did not get my groove on 😦 Have no fear, though, the weekend was not lost on the music front. All in all, it was a fun night and I was happy to have explored a new part of town.

On Saturday, I headed to the Amsterdam Hip Hop Festival with Bram, Dominic, and Bram’s good friend Kido. The festival was in Noord Amsterdam, requiring us to take Staten Island-esque ferry to get there. I love the ferry boats! The festival was pretty good. Grey skies did not shed rain, and the music, the crowd, and the big crane that towered over our heads made for a great atmosphere (check out the photos). I think the coolest thing was to see Onyx perform ‘Slam!’ I have memories of dancing to ‘Slam! Let the boyz be boyz!’ at the Camp Dearborn canteen in Michigan way, way, way back in the day. A lot of the performers were old school hip hop acts, so it felt like a big flash to the past.

On Saturday night, I met up with one of my colleagues, who was going from traveling in Europe for 6 weeks to Rwanda where he will be conducting market research for the new venture he wants to start up there. It was great to grab a beer, hear about his new venture, and also ‘talk shop’ a bit. Although it was a Saturday, I enjoyed being able to talk in person about work versus constantly over the phone. (Thanks, Roshan and good luck in Rwanda!)

Then Sunday came. Bram and I definitely kicked Sunday’s butt! There was a lot we needed to accomplish. The morning started and we were feeling a bit overwhelmed by the week ahead. So, I made a list. I love crossing things off lists, and have therefore become quite a list maker. It helps me at work and it helped us on Sunday. The list was as follows:

– review contract for notary (did I mention we are buying a house?!? And legally binding ourselves to the purchase of said house (it’s an apartment) this week? ….more on that in the next post
send info to notary (I sent this out on Monday, once we both made scanned copies of our passports)
scan passports (accomplished Monday am)
Thank you notes (Bram has better handwriting than me, so he actually wrote them and I added the addresses)
Immigration stuff (I’m applying to be an official immigrant on Thursday, which requires lots of paperwork, so we reviewed the documents we need, and ultimately made another list of things to get in order before Thursday…feeling pretty good about the process!)
Wedding stuff (we have finally started to begin to plan the process for planning to think about the wedding πŸ™‚ Even baby steps are fun!
Laundry (4 loads, done and folded, woo!)
– Study Dutch (this was not accomplished, sadly, but will be crossed off the list tonight!)
– Take out recycling (also not accomplished)
– Create list of questions for engineer (we are going to see our ‘potential future’ home again on Tuesday morning with an engineer to get an engineer’s report. We are going to create a list of things to ask about. I did speak to my dad last night who said that ‘roof, pipes, and wiring’ are the three most important things to make sure are in good working order, so we have a start on this task at least!)

After staying inside all day to get this done, and feeling like we were on a roll, Bram and I went on an impromptu date! We rode our bikes to Westerpark (one of my favorites in Amsterdam) and saw Black Butterflies, a Dutch film based on the true story of Ingrid Jonker, a female Afrikaaner poet living in South Africa during Aparteid. It was a very good film, in English with Dutch subtitles, although a bit heavy. I’m definitely going to check out some of her poetry, though, because it is super powerful. Following the movie, we walked around the park a bit and enjoyed the sunshine at 7:30pm. We finished the date by going home and cooking dinner.

I really enjoyed the weekend and feel more at home here than ever before πŸ™‚

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