Oh Boy

*blows dust off of mic*

I’m finally back on the blog, and this time I bring good news. I’m promising to try my best to share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences now that I am officially moving to Los Angeles 😃 with a job!

You are now reading the content of Reformation‘s newest Business Analyst 💁🏽

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I got the news yesterday when the Lead Recruiter from “Ref” called me as I was easing into Episode 4 of the new season of Orange is the New Black. My references checked out, my interviews went really well, and they want me to start as soon as I can.

If you don’t click on the link above, you’ll never understand how cool this company is – THEY HAVE DOGS IN THE OFFICE ‼️

Check out Ref on Facebook and Instagram!

Hence the “Oh Boy”

The agreed start date is July 3rd, meaning every plan I made for the summer is thrown away like my clothes I’ll discard that are too ugly for the trendiest city in the country. Every time I think I can cheat life with my own plans, it decides to prove me wrong.

“Drop everything and adapt.” – Life

So, now what? What the heck is my first move? A place to live would be nice, but I know that’s going to take hours of research and overly friendly messages to people who have listed their properties in the Facebook housing groups I’ve joined. Thank god I know people who were able to open my eyes to that as a place to start looking.

I’ve asked those same connections about which neighborhoods I should target, and so far the popular suggestions are: Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and areas of downtown LA, which is where my new office is located.

Let’s Backtrack For a Sec

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Two weeks ago, my farmer friend posted a Snapchat story asking for strawberry pickers available Mon-Fri – I saw it and surprised myself with how interested I was in his offer. After he broke down the details of the gig via text, we made an electronic handshake to seal the deal. I picked 6 days out of the past two weeks, and each day left its mark on my legs and glutes. The nights I went out after a day in the fields, I waddled instead of walking and fell onto every couch I sat on because I wasn’t physically capable of sitting down like a human being.

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It got better as time went on, I’m just being dramatic.

I really enjoyed picking strawberries. I was surrounded by a healthy snack, met some new people, got cash in my pocket, and spent my days catching rays under the sun. I worked with my hands (which were usually stained red) and went home feeling extremely accomplished – there’s nothing better than earning your shower. Most importantly, though, I now have one of those stories I can use against my future children when I tell them to suck it up or be grateful.

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“I didn’t walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to school, but I did pick strawberries for a few weeks.”

The Return to IT

I had no idea I’d be asked to move so quickly if I did get the job. Before I received the big call yesterday, the only thing on my mind was going back to Zentek Farms on Monday to collect more strawberries for smoothies and jam. AND my sister is getting married next weekend! That’s kind of a big deal.

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Yeah, I made jam.

Now I have an entirely new purpose. I’m joining a team of individuals who are passionate about launching this incredible clothing line further into success, and I’m stunned I get to be apart of something so ambitious…AND sustainable! Life is swirling in circles while it flips me upside down, and I’m just trying my best to make it through to the other side.

To Summarize

  • My sister’s getting married
  • I’m done picking strawberries
  • I’m moving to Los Angeles and joining the fashion industry
  • Reformation’s office has DOGS!

Thank you to everyone who has expressed support since I made the news public. I hope you’ll bear with me down this exciting but soon-to-be rocky road!

✌🏼

So Long, Amsterdam

It’s February 3rd and today we dropped off ~80 lbs of our stuff with one of the people who’s helping us “figure it out.” Her name is Lindsay, she’s one of my cousin’s best friends, and she’s offered to help store a lot of the extra crap we brought that we totally regret packing into our suitcases. It feels good to have less things to be responsible for and keep track of. Shoutout to Lindsay & Stefan for making our lives a thousand times easier!

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Wus Good

Our last night in Amsterdam creeped up on me. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been MIA because I’ve been doing a little extra housekeeping with myself and my belongings. Not only did I have to part ways with the items I didn’t want to say goodbye to in the first place, but we’re still planning the rest of this weird trip we’ve embarked on.

No, we’re not staying in Amsterdam like we first thought…for now. BUT, I am not going to ignore the option of coming back for grad school in September. It’s something I’ve been tossing around in my head, and I think missing Amsterdam in a few days will make me want to do it more. I’m not making any decisions yet…I still have some time before that.

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Used my time and money wisely @ Caffe Milo

Because this is our last night in Amsterdam before we leave our apartment in Amsterdam-Zuid, I’d like to catch you up on some other tourist activities we’ve done before I go on and spoil where we’re heading next.

I Ate a Pannekoek

This week, Shannon found out she has a friend who’s killin’ the travel life and his name is Kevin. He’s in Europe networking to build his career and knocking out a degree at the same time – shoutout to you Kevin for putting in work! What better situation to meet up with him than to get pancakes, right?

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We found Pancakes.Amsterdam using iamsterdam.com, which has been a really good guide for us on this month-long experience. Pancakes is located right by Centraal Station and is ranked #2 on the Top 10 Pancake Restaurants in Amsterdam. The dish surprised me because I didn’t quite realize what a pannekoek was before we got there.

My idea of a pancake is the classic American flapjack stack…or even the teeny ones Shan got that day at Albert Cuypmarkt. Both are sweet and fluffy. As you can see from the picture below, Dutch pancakes are a lil different from what I’m used to.

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Traditional ham & cheese pannekoek, just like the one I got

Pannekoeks are thinner than an American pancake, thicker than a crêpe, and bigger than the plate. I would say it had a sort of hash brown consistency (though it’s not made of potatoes) and it came in sweet or savory. At Pancakes.Amsterdam, popular styles are with ham and cheese, bacon and cheese, ham and apple, or bacon and apple. The sweet and savory is not my favorite combo, so I stuck with something I felt comfortable with.

If you’re wondering, I just about ate the entire thing. #ShanVsFood

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The Smallest House in Amsterdam

Thanks to a YouTube video with 15 of A’dam’s hidden gems, Shan O discovered the narrowest house in Amsterdam. Though there are a lot of slim buildings in this city, none compare to the little guy that holds the record…unless it’s not really the smallest house in Amsterdam but they bought a very clever trademark…hmm…🤔

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Guess the dimensions of that thing.

Just guess.

Have a guestimate in mind?

Ready for the answer?

2.02 meters (6 feet 8 inches) wide and 5 meters (16 feet 5 inches) deep.

Wtf! How could somebody live there? Who thought that was a reasonable size for a home in the first place? It looked crazy cramped. I really wanted to see how uncomfortable it was to be inside of, but it was closed. ☹️

Proost!

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Let’s play another guessing game – guess what’s inside of that building called Wynand Fockink? ⬆️

If you’re not familiar with Amsterdam or the Dutch, then your mind probably went to a dirty place. The rest of us know it’s a famous distillery that serves the oh-so famous Dutch gin aka genever.

“Genever is the juniper-flavored national and traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Belgium, from which gin evolved.”

-thx Wikipedia

I saw this place on Anthony Bourdain’s 24 Hours in Amsterdam: The Layover, in the YouTube video mentioned earlier, and had a few others suggest this tasting. Let’s be real, Bourdain alone makes it worthy of experiencing.

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Here’s a cheesy stock photo of some young twenty-somethings drinking genever the proper way. It’s traditionally filled to the brim, so it’s custom to bend your butt over to sip genever to ensure it won’t spill when you pick it up – making the taste of strong alcohol last longer with baby sips – yum!

Shan, Kevin & I tasted two genevers: one that resembled vodka and one that had something fancy involving bourbon. We all decided on the bourbon. As I gave my full glass a tiny taste I tried to stay down a millisecond longer so I could get the repulsed expression off of my face before anyone saw. I genuinely don’t think it tasted bad, but my body reacts to all kinds of hard alcohol like I just ingested the nastiest thing in my life. Somehow I made it through the entire tiny cup.

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A’dam All in All

Being able to immerse ourselves into Amsterdam to the degree that we have has been a mind-blowing experience. It’s given me space to have crazy fun, to learn more about myself, and to remember how extremely grateful I am for the opportunities I’ve been #blessed with.

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Tying back to the fact that we left our stuff with a friend in Amsterdam – we’re coming back for them! There are still some things on our to-do list (like Keukenhof) and I can’t wait to knock em off in late March/early April before we leave the Schengen Area.

Now you’re probably wondering where we’re going next…

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We’re Going to Rome!

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At 4 o’clock in the morning we’re parting ways with Kevin and Amsterdam, and we’re leaving for the beautiful city of Roma.

Why Rome?

For the reasons we loved Amsterdam! It’s rich with history, culture, and places to be discovered. Beginning the moment we arrive, I’ll try my best to share our adventures in Italy with you.

Ciao!

🤗

And if you’re wondering why there aren’t more pictures from me/my phone, it’s because it got taken at a nightclub in Rembrandtplein. I’ll never see it again 😢 but I’ll try to be better with the actual camera from now on for more pics!

✌🏼

Bustling Through Brussels

 

 

Day 1 Continued

Alright, so Manneken Pis was underwhelming and we hit up La Grand Place within the same first hour. Several waffle places nearby lured us in.

Les gaufres de Liège sont les meilleures

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We effed up and didn’t get whipped cream on our waffle (still good though).

Our waffle was delicious. We haven’t had Nutella in our apartment in A’dam for the longest week ever because we’re trying to be somewhat healthy and penny-pinching, so this was a gorgeous thing that happened. We cherished every bite that was eaten with tiny forks while listening to people speaking French all around us. La perfection.

I noticed there were a LOT of people with waffles – not just tourists. Not only on the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue de Chêne (where Manneken Pis is located), but everywhere else throughout the city. Brussels flexes their best features proudly.

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Next Stop, Chocolate

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Can’t stop eating chocolate rn.

We stopped in to get some chocolate right by the waffle places because the shops were literally everywhere and I felt like I had no self-control. I don’t regret it one bit. We ended up stopping in Planète Chocolat where the woman who sold us our goodies didn’t speak any English. All the more authentic, right? We walked around munching on it while wandering aimlessly and loving it.

Funny thing about this picture of chocolate here…there was a disco ball right by a nearby memorial. Similar to Amsterdam’s Light Festival, Brussels had its own art on display to the public.

The disco ball was positioned right next to the lookout that has an elevator branching off of it so you can take to get down further into the city. I’ve never seen one before and had no idea it was a thing that cities did.

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Beer…Duh

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Shannon and I ended up wandering without WiFi into Delirium, which is apparently a hotspot in Brussels. We enjoyed a nice sampling and a horn while we were at it.

Afternoon drinks turned into dinner at some place with weird meats and cheese. I took a gross video of the bouncy bologna but I’ll do you a favor and keep to myself.

Later at night we found ourselves at Le Coq where we met people from the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. I kept wondering what they thought meeting Americans was like.

Our friend from the Netherlands told us we were lucky to have found the one Dutch guy in there because the French were more likely to keep their comments to ourselves. He was open, nice and very honest with us. I appreciate all of those features in a person – especially a stranger. He also introduced me to the Belgian beer Chimay Blue that ended up getting me fairly drunk and very emotional about ordering pizza.

Day 2

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The next day was weird because we woke up in our Airbnb that was kind of an uncomfortable place to be. Like I mentioned in my last post, there were weird cats…so weird that in the morning, one of them pushed so hard on the door what he/she opened it. Keep in mind that I normally love cats, but these freaked me out. I had never stayed in an Airbnb private room before – I’ve usually had a respectful amount of place to myself. I really like that amount of space and would not want to do a sketchy private room again. Lesson learned.

We fixed our weird wake-up an awesome brunch. Peep my pic that’s getting lyke sew many notes on our tumblr taken @ Peck 47.

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Cute AF

Idk why but Shannon really wanted a milkshake, so we went on a mission to find one. She found this place called Jat’ Café that was near the Royal Palace, another tourist checklist item, and we walked across the city.

Jat’ Café

This café has great taste in music and this incredible thing called sweet coffee. I’ll let the portrait mode to the talking.

We sat and soaked in Brussels on a Friday afternoon with the rest of the day ahead of us.

The Royal Palace

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The Royal Palace is the official home of the King and the Queen of the Belgians.

We admired the enormousness of this building for a while and watched some of the guards stomping back and forth before heading off to the park across the street.

Side Note

SO many army men were walking throughout the streets. They carried huge rifles, and they were there because of the terrorist attacks that happened not too long ago. Just thought I’d share that observation.

The Rest is History

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Shanneken Pis!

The rest of Day 2 was spent killing time before the bus because we didn’t feel like spending money on a museum while we’ve got Netherlands museum passes for another week, though I was curious about the Musical Instruments Museum and Comics Art Museum. Who knows, maybe we’ll go back for longer in the future while we’ve still got time in Europe.

Fun fact: Brussels is the comic strip capital of Europe. There are large comics painted all over the city.

All in all, we had an excellent time in Brussels. The weather was kind, the food was to die for, and French confused me the entire time. By Friday night I was more than ready for my home away from home in Amsterdam.

sloppy-waffleSpecial shoutout to The Sloppy Waffle of Newington, CT for killing the Liège waffle game back home. I’m grateful to have had Belgium waffles back home and was pleasantly surprised to find I haven’t been missing out on the real deal.

We Arrived in Brussels

Here’s what we checked off the Brussels tourist list thus far:

Manneken Pis

Why is this the main attraction of Brussels? What makes this special?

The answer is we don’t effing know. We walked up to this bad boy with no expectations and found a tiny statue of a boy peeing with barely a description as to why.

Here’s what we learned from the info provided: The little statue was erected at the end of the Middle Ages when the city of Brussels was in the process of developing a public water supply network up until the mid-19th century, this fountain played a vital role in the city’s drinking water supply system. The original stone statue was replaced in the 17th century. Then a bronze model was commissioned by the municipal authorities from the sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy the Elder…interesting…

La Grand Place

The Grand Place

Of course, we went to the Grand Place of Brussels. It’s a cornerstone of culture, history, and food (on paper). Does it surprise you that we immediately bought chocolate, a beer tasting, and a waffle right afterwards? HELL NAH!

Sadly, we walked the streets of Brussels like it was Amsterdam and expected a bar and a tattoo parlor on every block, but instead we found normal buildings…like corporate buildings and stores with clothing we can’t afford. It was then and there we decided to make this mostly about the food

We haven’t ventured far beyond our boundaries yet. But until we do, I’ll be petting the weird black cat that’s in our AirBnB that’s more like a hostel than a hotel.

Thanks!

✌🏼

Stroop, There It Is!

Peep the video, then read the post…or do it the other way around.

National Tulip Day

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NTD is a celebration that kicks off tulip season in the Netherlands, and it happens in Dam Square on the third January of every year. For those of you familiar with the beauty that is Keukenhof, you understand that tulips are something that deserve a big splash of attention. The Square is filled with about 200,000 tulips that are up for grabs for whoever gets there in time to snag a spot in line before they’re all gone.

We were told about this event from a new friend met here in A’dam (shoutout to you Sonny!) and were so excited to check it out – SO excited that we didn’t think about the thousands of others who had the same plans for their Saturday morning. We thought we could stroll in, pick a tulip, maybe get a cute Insta while pulling the flower up from the crate, and go on our merry way into the day. Boy were we wrong.

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This picture doesn’t even do the crowd justice. This was only half the square and it was cut off from the line of hundreds of people waiting to get in. Shan and I only got to peek in because they offered a platform to watch the smart ones who arrived early posing for pics while picking their tulips. This platform was also uncomfortably crowded and someone was coughing on me while I took this picture #doitfortheblog.

Albert Cuyp Market

Our next stop was one of the places I’ve been the most curious about visiting – Albert Cuypmarkt (Cuyp is pronounced like “cowp” – I messed that up in our video). This market happens to be conveniently located near the Heineken Factory in the neighborhood known as De Pijp.

It’s been one of Amsterdam’s most popular markets since it began in 1904, and has been featured on many travel shows…so yeah, that’s where I got the idea to go. BUT, it was the fresh stroopwafels I saw with the drool-worthy caramel pull (1:21 in the video) that motivated me to get off my butt and venture off to this new place.

Boy am I happy I did…try to keep it in your pants because the following content is straight up food porn:

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Mini mother-effing pancakes with Nutella
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Pre-stroopwafel
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STROOP there it is!

Sweets aren’t the only things Albert Cuyp has to offer – vendors sell everything from fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish and spices to clothes, cosmetics and bedding – all of which I resisted because ya girl’s still unemployed.

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The Heineken Experience

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Next stop was the first Heineken brewery (est. 1864). We’ve received many recommendations from friends and family to go on the tour and learn the perfect pour, so that’s exactly what we did. It began with the history of the creator of Heineken, Gerard Adriaan Heineken, and continued with more about his grandson, Freddy, and other key people who made Heineken as refined and famous as it is today.

2 things that blew my mind about Heineken:

  1. It was one of the first brands to boil beer down to a science. Scientists relied on chemistry to experiment and master the perfect brew, which was revolutionary for its time.
  2. Many of the Heineken men who drove the brand received multiple medals and awards from different countries – not for their beer, but for their service to the world.

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The tour turns from history to good-ole-fashioned fun with interactive toys, games, and samples, of course. It ends with the two beers you get included with your entrance ticket (€16 per person) in a club-style atmosphere and another great view of the city.

Check out some of the other souvenirs we walked away with:

The following video is a bit odd:

What did we do after the Heineken factory? Grabbed a six pack of Heineken, of course. It was just the beginning to our night out in the Red Light District, which I’ll share more about once I can wrap my head around what I witnessed there.

Hope you’re all having a fantastic day and enjoyed reading!

✌🏼

Fun fact: I once wrote a business plan for an ice cream shoppe named Scoop, There It Is! in my Intro to Management class. It was the coolest theoretical hangout ever out ever & you best believe I got an A.


Have a favorite flower? Ever been to a famous market? What’s the best brewery tour you’ve been on? We’re interested! Comment below to share them with us 🙂

Cue Phil Collins on the Drums

Yeeeaah you know which breakdown I’m talkin’ ’bout.

OK – I think this is when the little kid inside of me acknowledged that I’m on a kick-ass vacation. I realized that I’m now used to the ringing of bicycle bells…the convenience of culture at my fingertips. Every European accent catches my eye and ignites me with inspiration. Every day ends with a violet sunset over the canals, just like the famous Dutch artists painted. I’m beginning to feel what they felt.

We Went to the Zoo

My excitement went through the roof the day we went to the zoo. The Artis Zoo has a giraffe, baby monkeys, and Shan’s favorite – a sloth! We were grinning with glee all day long.

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This next one goes out to the McCormick ladies, Shaun O’Connor, and everyone else who knows how important this video is.

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Though I did get some decent shots of these magnificent animals, I couldn’t help but kick myself for realizing I left the magnified lens at home. Regardless of how close-up these shots are, I hope you enjoy a scenic route through the animal kingdom with us:

The Artis Zoo is Amsterdam’s oldest city park, the oldest zoo in the Netherlands, and one of the oldest zoos of mainland Europe. It also contains an aquarium and planetarium! What a lovely place to be present in the moment.

Weirdly enough, the memory that sticks out the most in my mind from this entire day is one I have of a grandmother playing hide-and-go-seek with her two grandkids. She was hiding behind a tree, and they were pretending not to know where she was. I shook my head with disbelief at the sight because it was organic and it belonged in a movie scene.

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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha 🙏🏼🌺

Classic A’dam Pic

Like every single perfect day here in Amsterdam, we found a canal to watch the sun set over the water among the boats and city lights.

Our Eat Pray Love-esque day wouldn’t be complete without pizza and wine, so we got pizza and wine. The pizza was aight and the wine was eh. It sparked an idea to visit Italy for a bit…maybe…

It also “inspired” us to grab a €6 bottle of wine from Albert Heijn (the grocery store) because we’re Cla$$y! I fell asleep the earliest I have since we’ve been here – 11:30 pm (23:30) on a weekend night because that’s how you really do it here in Amsterdam.

✌🏼

A Moment of Mindfulness

Here’s your moment of mindfulness while I reflect on mine:

(It’s a 360 video)

I’m starting to connect the dots between the moving parts in my life.

I used to try to think that everything was connected, and that everything happens for a reason. I’ve read books, exhausted mantras, and begged for signs. Little did I know the energy was aligning itself around me this whole time.

What sparked this sudden appreciation for the universe? Awareness…”duh” moments.

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I got a message from my friend David this evening. A simple “sup man” spiraled me into word-vomit typing fueled by inspiration. A puzzle piece found its home in my brain. Another synapse secured.

David makes music, and he’s been at it for about a year now. By making a conscious effort to refine his talent, and learning how to translate from beats his head to the world, he’s gotten so freakin’ good at it. I’m so happy nothing has stopped him from getting better at what he loves to do.

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Shoutout to Molly Dupont

The “duh” moment came when I recalled a scenario from earlier today. Shan tasked me with picking songs for one of our ever-so-fun YouTube videos and I tried my best to choose ones that made sense. Music is the most important complement to the visuals – it’s not easy to find a song that communicates the vibe we feel we’re while in awe. It’s calm and exciting all at the same time, like a bath bomb. I don’t know anyone who can capture that essence better than David. I can’t wait to share our new mixture of media with you.

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All in all, the more energy you spend on making your dreams come true, the stronger your dreams will be attracted to you.

✌🏼

Ok, Sooooo…

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted and there’s been a weird reason why.

I know it’s only week #1, but I’ve been homesick! Kind of. Well, I’m physically sick with a sore throat, and I’ve been confused as hell over what I came here to do.

Not sure how many of you guys are into astrological signs…

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I’m a Taurus (if you disregard that new weird sign that’s popped up over the past year). According to astrology-zodiac-signs.com (which I’ve never used, but the definition is consistent with all other resources I’ve used), here’s how to describe my sign:

“They love everything that is good and beautiful, and they are often surrounded by material pleasures. People born under the Taurus sign are very sensual and tactile. Touch is extremely important for them, both in business and in romance. Stable and conservative, Taurus is among the most reliable signs of the zodiac.”

Check out those keywords I’ve so graciously bolded for you. Those are the characteristics I identify with that are making me feel extremely out of my comfort zone. I crave security, my support system, and a strong sense of purpose. Neither of those things are with me today in Amsterdam, but I’m learning to accept that I don’t need them.

I’ve had to ask myself a few questions:

  • By coming here, what did I expect to do?
  • How will this impact my life?
  • What do I desire to change?
  • How can I improve myself?
  • Who do I want to become?
  • What do I want to go back with?

I didn’t come here to party. I didn’t come here to feel homesick. I came here to give myself a fair shot at becoming a better person by having the space to do it, and that’s what I intend to do.

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Yeah, I’m still sort of freaking out about my future a bit because I know how difficult it can be to get a job. I’ve fumbled through ideas of grad school and going back to where I was working before I came here, but those thoughts are premature and impeding my ability to be present in the moment – right here, right now.

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So, that that mushy stuff being said, let me update you on what we’ve been up to 😁

Stay tuned,

✌🏼

Now That It’s Been a Few Days…

Peep the video, then read the post…or do it the other way around. Whatever.

…I can write a post about how it’s been adjusting to being in the city. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve already had a few waves of homesickness.

We’ve had our fair share of the nightlife thus far. When you’re six hours off from what you’re used to, you wake up late in the morning – or early afternoon in our case. I think we deserved ourselves a bit of fun to kick our adventure off right.

Night #2 started at the bar across the street.

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Inside was a drunk man named Kevin who insisted he was gay but proceeded to hit on us and try to kiss our cheeks. He may or may not have stuck his tongue out at us, and it wasn’t in a childish way. Don’t worry, it wasn’t just us. He did it to everyone in the bar…including the owner who was drunk off his ass on a Wednesday night. The other folks inside the bar included the bartender, another bar employee, and a man gambling his money away at a machine that was not being very nice to him.

Though I don’t remember their names, I remember everything about them.

First, I spoke with the other bar employee who has a brown ponytail and beard. I could barely hear him over the Dutch music reverberating off of the shiny foil-looking walls, but he told me he was from Romania and had lived in Amsterdam for 11 years. Apparently he came for a week’s visit with his friends and never went back. I’ve always wanted to meet someone who said “fuck it” that way, especially since this transition hasn’t been an easy one for me. I admire the way of the nomad – free to go wherever they’re drawn to rather than being stunted by the attachment to one place. It’s currently something I’m trying to master.

He pointed me toward the corner where another employee was curled up asleep in bed. This guy’s job was to be ridiculously cute.

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Okay, so the cat lady in me got out before I could stop her. This little nugget had piercing blue eyes and a thing for walking on the bar, and he almost fell asleep in my arms! My Romanian friend pictured above on the left told me he likes to call him “Friend”…which I misheard, so I called him Frank (shoutout to you, Frank!)

While I was drooling over kitty Frank, Shannon was making friends with the bartender. She only bartends two nights a week, and for the rest of the time she’s an office manager and is running her own business of being a stylist. She told us that Shannon’s color is coral, and that I’m a bottle-green or cherry. “It’s all about the subtle accents,” she said. Nails, lips, jewelry…all of these things go with a white blouse and black pants or jeans. I asked her where she was when I packed all of the other unnecessary shit in my suitcase.

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Because we were wide awake at midnight, we ventured into the Square again.

We walked around a few blocks to get to know the area and look for an ATM. Neither things happened, but we did find a cool McDonald’s where you pay on an LCD menu screen you’re ordering on. We also ran into two guys from Texas who said “y’all” many times. They had come to Amsterdam to indulge in the greenery.

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We found a bar that was open late named Woody’s, which we quickly discovered was a gay bar. The bartender poured us fireball shots that tasted like jaeger while putting his entire mouth around his glass of beer and knocking it back. People were dressed up in togas and singing Whitney Houston. All of it reminded me of college.

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I’m totally watching this show right now (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).

Our last and final stop was a tourist bar, Prime. Not gonna lie, I loved the familiar music that I could understand and dance to, but the best part about it was the free drinks we got from our new friends from the U.K.

All in all, we stayed up too late and missed half of another day because of it. Yesterday we wandered around aimlessly and visited the Red Light District before 10 pm, which we may go back to tonight to see it in its true late-night form. More to come on that one and the Rijksmuseum we visited today 😁

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Recharged and Running Out of Time

Christmas Eve:

I spent a few minutes talking with my cousin, Justin, who had been to Amsterdam a few years back to visit his lifelong friend who has lived there for years. He suggested that the two of us get in touch once I arrive. This way I could hear her story, bounce any questions off of her that I might have, and anything else that can happen when you meet someone new whose willing to lend some advice.

A few more minutes of Justin and I chatting revealed that his friend works at a radio station. My jaw dropped when I heard this – broadcasting is what I am pursuing! She has successfully transitioned into the life that I desire for myself, and I have a mutual connection with this person! Leads like this are gifts from the universe…there’s no other way I could describe the chances of this being real. I want the universe to know that I am extremely grateful and I will not waste this opportunity. I will cherish it completely.

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Me reppin’ my 16 Thoughts Down Cigna podcast swag.

Christmas Day:

In between the food, laughs, and home videos of this past weekend, I snuck in some episodes of Anthony Bourdain in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Sicily. My appetite for adventure is fully recharged and I’m once again reminded of my motivations for leaving my beautiful, predictable life behind.

Watch Bourdain’s episode of The Layover in “Amsterdam”

A few things I really liked about this episode, aside from Anthony’s questionably sarcastic remarks about indulging in weed, include the following:

The authenticity of an easy day in Amsterdam

It starts with some social sips of coffee, which bleeds into hopping around to other types of coffee shops 😉, then walking or sitting around the streets and canals, and ends with the bar scene where everyone’s got a beer in hand. Now I can see why this city is expensive…but damn do these people know how to live life to the fullest.

The food, obviously

The closer I get, the more intrigued I am over what I’m going to be eating in less than two weeks. Since beginning to poke around on the Internet, and shown in this show, I’m very eager to try:

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  • Stroopwafels
  • Raw herring, weirdly enough
  • Indonesian cuisine (never had it)
  • Dutch coffee

Here are some other popular foods in Amsterdam.

How easily I can picture myself there

Riding a bike, diving into a sensory deprivation tank (which I totally want to try), strolling the streets, admiring the architecture, and meeting all walks of life in a place I’ll soon be comfortable maneuvering…I can see myself doing all of this. It excited me to see the shops I’ll be visiting, the park I’ll find myself lying in…I can’t explain how I feel right now without getting lost in daydreaming.

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I’ll share with you my theme song for the moment. I always feel something new every time I listen to it, for every time it means something more.

I can’t wait to craft my own content about exploring Amsterdam the right way.

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