Monday, January 30, 2012

Damstraat:

Damstraat is one of those interesting streets in Amsterdam. Usually entering from the Jodenbreestraat (where its name is actually Nieuwe Hoogstraat), or directly from Dam Square, the street never ceases to disappoint–and I say this with many shades of meaning.

Cycling through this street is always somewhat of an adventure; tourists never seem to stay on the sidewalk, spilling into the street and causing for many 'ding-dong!'-s of bike bells, and the visual noise created by all the signs is overtly distracting. The collection of shops, stores, and long-forgotten-venues offer up everything any visitor to the city (or local, for that matter), could ever want: cheap-greasy deep-fried food, 2€ pizza slices, water bongs, magic mushrooms, marijuana, beer, cheap hotel rooms, prostitutes, wooden shoes (souvenirs!), the latest fashion-finds, used books and magazines, and even (my personal favorite) a bead-and-fabric shop; for all those buttons which need some cute-ass thread to, for instance, be sewn back on your coat.

The street represents everything–and yet nothing–of the city of Amsterdam.



Friday, January 27, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Limestone and Bright Orange Awnings:

The gables of Amsterdam are a never-ending source of both fascination and inspiration–for me at least. Their designs flamboyant, their message clear, and their beauty timeless.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Eichenbach, Germany:

I journeyed on a little get-a-way this weekend, to Germany. Always so romantic, Germany can be. Rolling hills, coniferous trees and fachhallenhaus-es abound. Oh–and everything is much bigger in Germany, too. They like their stuff: American sized.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let's Get All Metaphorical:


This photo was taken from here. You would call this area of the city, the Negen Straatjes. With an ultra-zoom lens, I captured three bridges in one photo.  Three bridges, spanning three of cities most stunning canals.



On the other hand, this photo was taken from here. Even without an ultra-zoom lens, I captured a great distance, in one photo. And with that, let's let the metaphor begin.

Taking in the view of great distances is really quite the difficult feat. This task overtly-induces peering into the future, and often, looking back on the past. There is a line from 'Sex and the City', muttered by Carrie Bradshaw, in season six:

'I wanted to be a writer, I made myself a writer.
I want a ridiculously extravagant pair of shoes, I find a way to buy them.'

Going after what you want in life can often be intimidating; battling self-destruction, self-doubt, and self-esteem all come into play. And there's that word again: self. As I grow, I'm learning that I'm not so interested in the self. My self, at least. Well, that's not 100% completely true. I am indeed interested in myself. Self promotion is, more specifically, something I'm not interested in. It is not my end goal to be super-famous, super-rich. I am only interested in developing my self, for the benefit of me. I really want to master a skill-set, even if that skill set is wide-ranging. And the great news is, I feel (as opposed to thinking), that the time has finally come. I have a really great life here in Amsterdam, both personally and professionally. I want to do great things in the world, all the while, reveling in the fact that life is so... Fun, full of surprises and filled with love. Love is, I'm convinced, what drives our desires. I recently, and quite sternly, explained to someone of importance in my life:

'I am on a path. I'm not sure where that path is leading. But I know I'm destined for great things. And ever since I was young, I've been chasing what it is that I can't see–my future.'

Fortunately, many of the aspects of my future that I've been eternally chasing, have recently manifested. I feel as if my personal and profession lives are merging–which I'm ok with. I feel as if my roots here in North Holland have finally taken to the soil with a vigorous rigor, and that I can finally just... relax. This doesn't mean that my permanent quest for creature comforts has been dampened since moving to the Netherlands–quite the opposite actually. I am always striving to bring comfort to my life; creature comforts, and mental comforts–they're all the same to me. I feel as if the last pieces of the puzzle of my life, at this moment in time, have finally fallen into place–my needs are more than accommodated, my wants are obtainable, and my future looks bright.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Clouds:

Today–more specifically, this morning–is proving to be a rather interesting, here in the Netherlands. This mainly has to do with the clouds at the moment. The Netherlands is just fabulous; let's just clear that up and get that out there, right from the start. One of the countless treasures that makes life here so enchanting, is the clouds. (Well, and of course the architecture, but–that's a whole other topic). The clouds in North Holland tend to hang low, look like gigantic cotton balls, floating in the air–and floating quite close, too. Sometimes you would think you'd be able to just reach up and touch them. Really–they're often just... low. And huge. And moving quite fast, too. But almost any given sunny summer day, running or cycling amongst a polder, is magical... The sky is fiercely royal blue, sunny, and the constant 'at-sea-level' landscape allows a complete panoramic and 360-degree view of all above. There's an abundance of sky. Stunning it is, really. The air is crisp and warm; the light shining down from high-above; the clouds skillfully freely flowing. And you would call those clouds cumulus, if you wanted to get all technical.

But yes, today is proving to be rather interesting;
No cumulus in sight. Instead, cirrus clouds abound.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gorgeous Amsterdam Oost:

What Amsterdam Oost lacks, in terms of its number of canals, it more than makes up for, in its abundance of delightful nineteenth and twentieth century architecture.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Amsterdam: the Red Light District

Oude Kerk, dating from (somewhere around) 1306.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On Knowing Who You Want to Be:

It's tough to know who it is you want to be; that's for sure. But I'm also sure that I have the insight needed, to get me there. At the end of the day, I am not sure what I want to do. I'm not 100% sure of which direction my future will take. But at the end of the day, I know who I want to be. And I will do everything I can to get myself there. I want to wear beautiful clothes; I want to wear thick-framed glasses. I want to be a walking-talking art-design encyclopedia. But above all I want to be happy, healthy, and loved. And the thing is, I'm already all of the above. So what is it that I'm searching for? Which direction should I take? Do I go left, or do I go right? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Li-'man'-cello, from Italy:

present from Amy–straight from Florence; gleefully consumed with apple tart.



Friday, January 6, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rainy Days in Amsterdam:


Amsterdam has been a dark-dreary puddle since I returned from Poland. Amy came, and then left, and it was super great to have her here again. I'm anticipating what 2012 may have in store for me; could be quite rewarding. But for now, I'm more worried about when Amanda and I are going to brunch again... That, and making sure that the above, doesn't also happen to my umbrella, too. Beautiful, little, tiny, and wet–Amsterdam. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gables in Gdansk, Poland:

In between Christmas and New Year's Eve, I jetted off to GdanskPoland. A feast of gables can be found in Gdansk; but no city outshines the gables of my beloved, beautiful Amsterdam. These gables are recreations of originals that have since been demolished; beautiful they are, in all their their ornate, fluid splendor.