Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Some people think I’m silly slash ridiculous for counting the milestones I do, but what can I say? For one, I like to celebrate, and for two, I’m a hopeful romantic who will take any chance I can to reminisce, reflect on the good times, and count my blessings.

Yesterday marked a year and a half of marriage with Corey. The last six months in particular have been some of the happiest, most magical, but also most trying times of our relationship. Our move to Europe has brought us so much closer. It’s hard to describe how  your marriage changes when it’s just you and your spouse. No family. No best friends. Just us. It’s been incredible. It’s been hard at times, but most off all it has been so rewarding and it gives me such pride in the man I married and the relationship we share.

And speaking of that big move…Sunday marked six months since we moved to Amsterdam. We made it half a year! Holy crap. Are you proud? Some days it feels like we’ve been here for years, and other days it feels like we blinked and six months flew by. Looking back on all our amazing travels so far (London, Paris, French Riviera, Dublin, Berlin, OH MY!) and everything we’ve learned about living in a foreign country, I am truly in awe of our life. Inspired by this post, I thought I’d share the top 10 things we love about living in Amsterdam and the top 10 things we don’t love so much.

10 Things We Love About Living in Amsterdam
+Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice: A rarity in the States, but in Amsterdam you can be sure if you’re ordering orange juice it will be freshly squeezed. Yum!
+The Canals: The sight of them never gets old.
+Being able to jet off to amazing European cities so easily: Next up, Seville!
+Biking: We’re on a little biking hiatus due to the snow and freezing temps, but it remains my favorite way to get around here!
+Dinners that last hours and hours: In the US you are greeted promptly, sat promptly, and the wait staff expects you to get in and out of their restaurant as quickly as possible so as to shuffle their next guests in ASAP. Totally different story in Amsterdam. You can sit for hours and you practically have to beg for your check so you can pay and leave!
+Fashion: Everyone looks effortlessly chic in Amsterdam. I love looking at all the great style that surrounds me every day. I also feel way more comfortable taking fashion “risks” here (read: I can wear something that isn’t mainstream without getting confused stares. Yes, Portland, I’m talking to you!)
+The number of expats: Amsterdam is known for its expat community. It has made meeting new friends so much easier, and having the opportunity to relate to another American living in Amsterdam makes me feel more at home.
+Dining Al Fresco: It doesn’t matter the weather, there are always tables and chairs outside cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a good meal. They even set up an outdoor dining area on an icy canal recently!
+The Corner Market: It feels like there’s a tiny grocer /deli on every corner, and we happen to love ours. It serves up fresh croissants in the morning and delicious take-away dinners, amazing cheeses, olives, wine…I just feel so European whenever I pop (which is often).
+Schipol Airport: Okay, yeah, it’s a little weird that one of my favorite things about Amsterdam is the airport, but trust me, Schipol is amazing. When you spend as much time in and out of airports as we have in the last six months you really start to appreciate the good ones. Somehow whenever I walk through Schipol it feels like home.

10 Things We Don’t Love So Much About Living in Amsterdam
+The Service (or lack thereof)
+Washer/dryers, microwave ovens. Don’t Europeans want anything done quickly and efficiently? Why must they combine such vital appliances? (and why must my oven be so.dang.small?!)
+Trains/Trams/Buses: It’s actually a love/hate relationship.
+Cheek kisses. The customary thing to do when greeting someone in Europe is to give those air/cheek kisses. In the Netherlands you give three, in most other parts of Europe you give two. I am just so awkward when I do this (and so is Corey!). I always hesitate – which side do I start with? How many kisses are they going to do? I’m just waiting to mess it up and give someone a smackeroo right on the lips! AH!
+Commuting: I miss hopping in my car and being at work in 15 minutes. And not having to work around train schedules!
+The Metric System: I spend more time converting kilometers to miles, kilos to pounds, centimeters to inches, grams to cups (it goes on and on) than I care to admit.
+Weird (to me) Food Combinations: Like Tuna on pizza and in pasta. Huh? I got on board with the fries dipped in mayo, but this? I just can’t.
+How Expensive Everything Is: Everything is more expensive here, add the conversion on top of that and a dinner bill can bring me close to tears. I miss Portland where the restaurants are incredible and cheap!
+Being Far Away From Family: I’m just now starting to feel really far away from everyone back home. At first it felt a little like we were just on an extended vacation, but now that we know we won’t be going home until August I feel really distant (and if I’m honest, I’m afraid my friends will forget all about me).
+Shopping Hours: Stores, banks, pharmacies, pretty much everything except the grocery store (and thank goodness for that!) close at 5PM here. I’m still at work with an hour commute ahead of me at 5PM, how does anyone get anything done around here?!