Saturday, May 11, 2013

As is June in Sweden:

Right now, as I type, I am sitting outside on my balcony, sipping my steaming coffee as my skin simultaneously sips up the weekend's morning sunlight. Weekends have become my new favorite time, where my schedule and real-world responsibilities slip away into nothingness, until Monday. Perhaps it's the fact that it's finally springtime and the sun is never far away, these days. And, if it is, it's usually tucked behind a few large and looming clouds; so it's still always near by.

As the years in Amsterdam continue, and the years begin to group themselves into nice little packets, or clusters, of five years intervals, I am starting to step back, reflect, and amaze at what my time in Amsterdam, thus far, has quite literally brought me. Lately I have been digging through my old digital files, so neatly archived on my external hard-drives and transported all over the world, all these years. To place this in perspective, I'm writing this from a MacBook Pro 13" (Retina!), which I bought during my trip to Chicago; it has a 128 GB hard-drive, and thus no internal storage. Needless to say, I have brought nothing of my former computer to my new digital home; everything is stored on external hard-drives. I am amazed at what I have been discovering on these digital storage spaces of mine: at the music that has trailed through my life; at the essays I'm discovering, written for countless English and architecture history courses during college; and all of the images I have amassed over the years. My whole digital life, beginning at the age of about 14, is stored on these hard-drives. That amazes me.

With this sudden surge of imagery and sound bites, comes memories. And a whole lot of them. There were such highs while looking back and down the long tunnel I conveniently call the past; emotions ran fluidly and endlessly during the shuffling of files. How is it that I had forgotten the wisdom of my own words? In Amsterdam, as of late, it seems as if part of myself has not been believing in myself, to the extent that I'm worthy–which is a lot. And that is truly unlike me. What is it that makes ones doubt one's self? External forces? Internal forces? Both, I imagine.

While gazing through the crystal ball to my past, this past weekend, has literally allowed me to read my thoughts from another time. There was once a day where this publication reached back to 2004, and those posts are also saved on these hard-drives. There, with the click of a spacebar, was me... As a 20 year-old, young gay man, living in San Francisco, on his own in the world for the very first time, ever; as a bewildered and bright eyed 18 year old leaving for college; as a confused 21 year old living in the East Village, wondering why everyone in New York City was... in such a rush; and yet again, there I was, as a delighted and eager-eyed 22 year old in Düsseldorf, attempting to learn German while living along the Rhine and reveling in all things European. Once again, all alone. All of those experiences have been so valuable to me, and I've, lately, been living so forcefully that I've forgotten to draw off the experiences of my past, to propel me forward in the future. I must not downplay or forget the achievements that are behind me, while always looking toward the right-now, with just a hint of future-thinking.

It was only one year ago that I was setting off from Amsterdam, to Scandinavia, via a Volkswagen. So transcending was the experience that the rich-hued greens and the vegetation–those weeping birch trees–still appear in my dreams, or at least my day-dreams and fantasies of my perfect world. While in Sweden, last year, the clouds were strikingly similar to those in Amsterdam: robust, well-rounded, gray, and ever-looming. Similarly, when the clouds aren't in sight, a warming sun shines its rays; though, no matter how warm, a cool ocean breeze blows, adding a slight chill to the cities' and country air. That's Sweden. And that's Amsterdam, too. One can even smell the 'fertilizer' wafting southwards, from its hover just above the pastures that lie north of Amsterdam, on a very blustery day. Add a bit of dampness and a crispness to the air, and that's this region of the world's weather, minus the fertilizer.

Appearing in the New York Times this weekend was an article about the Midsummer night celebrations that will soon be underway in Sweden; dancing around Maypoles, staying up all night, and sipping distilled liquids until the next day. I must go back.

The clouds a bit further south in Europe, here in Amsterdam, are today huge, and also gray. So much so that the sky looks like a gigantic canvas of Swiss-cheese, the holes appearing as patches of blue in the distance. Every time that the sun ducks behind another bunch of clouds, I have to pretend that–as I'm wearing shorts and a sweater–I am incredibly warm. That's a fitting metaphor for this city, right now: Everyone dressed in sweaters, but simultaneously wearing shorts, and whenever the sun ducks out from behind the clouds, the city screams and cheers, wanting more–but as the sun retreats, a great sigh can be overtly loud. This city is on the verge of an tipping point; the leaves are luscious; the flowers nearly in full bloom. A rumble is forming in Amsterdam; an aftershock from the celebrations that surrounded the city from April 30th, when Queen Beatrix abdicated in favor of her son, King Willem-Alexander. We're waiting for summer, and it's nearly here. As is June.