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.

✌🏼

“Hold On” – Alabama Shakes

I’m sitting in my cluttered room listening to the likable blues rock band called Alabama Shakes. The featured song is one that my sister Brittany and I enjoy belting in the car, which we just did on our way back from the pet store in Wallingford. We cherished a beautiful half hour with a Weimaraner named Jade.

Jade was a wittle sweepy 😴

So yeah, I put off cleaning up the tornado of a bedroom I’m living out of for another week…and the car that has my summer clothes thrown all over the backseat because they were in a garbage bag that ripped back in October – that’s how lazy I am. I moved out of my house into my parents’, and I’m being resistant.

Song change:

As terrible as it sounds, I don’t want to tie up my loose ends here. I don’t want to say goodbye to people over dinner or a drink or a tight-squeeze of a hug. I’ve learned that I’m really bad at goodbyes, so I’d rather just not do them in the first place. Nobody should take that personally, I just don’t like being sad.

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I still don’t know what perfectly prepared looks like on paper, all I know is that I’m not it. Is anyone ever ready to take on a new adventure? All I feel is the knot in my stomach that’s reacting to the doubt whispering in my ear that’s telling me this could be a huge mistake.

In a sense, I went and fucked up my whole life…not necessarily in a bad way, but I pointed out the biggest pieces of foundation and I ripped them out of the ground. There’s rubble everywhere, and I’m being forced to clean up the literal mess that I’ve created for myself.

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What if somedays I don’t feel like dealing with this massive thing I’ve plopped on my to-do list for an indefinite amount of time? I’ve signed myself up for a struggle I can only tackle when I feel like I have the ability to, which will force me to find strength in unfamiliar places. I can no longer hide from my responsibilities. I can no longer choose to feel small when I have an endless amount of tasks to complete. There’s no more room for feeling sorry for myself.

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I’m someone who draws power from the people I love that love me back. I want to focus on ways to keep connected with those who are fueling me even before I leave, like a Flat Stanley-type idea, for example, where myself and my support network will stay close in our hearts no matter the physical distance between us…and then we can Instagram it, of course.


While wrapping up that last paragraph, somebody rang our doorbell. My dad answered and I heard a familiar voice saying my name…it was my friend Steph‘s dad and he had an envelope in his hands. He handed it to me as he said “Steph is in Hawaii so she isn’t able to say goodbye to you and she wanted me to give you this.” Inside were exactly the words I needed to hear from such a dear friend.

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Steph, if you’re reading this, I want you to know how lucky I am to have you in my life. You and I have been friends since God-knows-when and I know we will continue to be rooting each other on for the rest of our lives. Thank you for considering me even while you’re exploring freakin’ Hawaii…I hope you can come visit and show me around the places you went to while you were in A’dam. I love you ❤️ & hope you have an awesome trip!

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Man, I am feeling thankful.

✌🏼