To Amsterdam

It's been a long but beautiful travelling day. We started in Brussels, there was some sort of accident or repair on the line so we had to take three trains to come here. 
Made me miss our backpacking days, lugging around two suitcases and a carry on is not very convenient when semi roughing it. Luckily I had sherpa Igor who gallantly refused my assistance and had to seriously struggle with stairs and wheel claden suitcases since he couldn't fit himself a in throguh the elevator door with his two heavy bags. In the platform waiting for the second train there were some college aged Americans with XL size backpacks that looked full of adventure and youthful optimism and although I didn't feel envious of all the struggle that comes with that age bracket, the feeling of carefree, full force ahead that came bubbling out of them did make me sigh nostalgically, remembering when my luggage was that light...both literally and metaphorially...

So now we're in Amsterdam. Life here in the low lands is very 'happening', there is a buzz of creativity possibility and engagement in the air, something we have noticed about the Dutch students we've met in our retreats, they're all very actively engaged in their lives. It seems the Dutch, or at least the Amsterdam Dutch have a mission a purpose and a 'go get' energy which permeates their town and that feels quite invigorating when you spend most of your days in the southern part of this continent where the sun and the sweet smell of the ocean distracts us from productivity. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change it for a million years, I like my mid age to be sweetened by the more simple, less stressful pleasures of life, but it is very nice to also experience the other side of the coin.
And I get it, remember I grew up where the sun sometimes doesn't show it's face for months and when it does it is like Igor puts it, mereley decorative. When he first arrived to live with me in Malmö, he was amazed that even when the sun would come out in the winter he couldn't actually feel it's warmth, up until then his Spanish sun experience had 'equated' them. When there is that lack of warmth and sunlight you simply have to do something productive and or creative with your time, otherwise you go crazy. It is no coincidence that the Swedes have a reputation for being skilful and committed in their chosen fields, it's a form of Prozac...

The difference here though is that there seems to be a more relaxed attitude towards life, more playful. In the block where we live there is a supermarket, a bagel cafe and a coffee shop where you can get your daily dose of recreational marijuana. The Netherlands have despite critisizm and pressure from their more upstanding neighbours, continued to keep their weed available to their citizens. A bold courageous move that I applaud, and probably a two fold reason why the ambient here is so relaxed.

Tonight we're not going to go out, too tired from our journey, we'll spend the evening having some chinese take out in the company of the Frank and Claire Underwood, but tomorrow we'll venture out, visit Rasalila where we're holding our course, find a new favorite cafe, and enjoy the vistas of this groovy town.


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