I am back in London after a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam. Right now I am a little disoriented, but also very grateful for the experiences I had. Annemarie was such a great hostess, her apartment was home to us for the weekend and she went out of her way to make sure we had a great time.
A few details about my stay:
-Last night Annemarie’s parents came over for dessert (Auntie Carla and Uncle John) and we played Rummikub… It had been such a long time and it was great to see them.
-Yesterday we went to see a movie (Mother and Child) downtown with Annemarie. It was a little gloomy out so we spent the first half of the day relaxing and the apartment and visiting the petting zoo nearby. I enjoyed going downtown for a bit and spending some more time with Annemarie. (Amsterdam at night is also quite breathtaking… the christmas lights reflecting off the water in the canals is beautiful).
-Talked to some other relatives on the phone and my grandma and dad on skype! I was feeling a little homesick during this stay. I think being around family yet still being so far from home was hard, and the slower pace made the ‘home pull’ a little stronger. Yesterday I talked to Uncle John about Pake for a little while, and that made me a little emotional. I really miss him. And the rest of his family does as well. What an incredibly loving man, I am so blessed to have had a grandpa like him. So many little things reminded me of him, grandma and fond memories I have with them. For that reason I very much enjoyed being in Holland, even though at times it was a little challenging.
-On Saturday we walked through the Red Light District, it was overwhelming at unsettling. I think I am still processing my reaction to it. I was not sure how exactly I would respond, I was not surprised but I still felt put off and isolated. I was mostly sad for the women and men who have degraded themselves in such a way and cheapened something intended for a greater good. Separating what I saw from Truth was the hardest part, but I am so grateful to know the source of love and the freedom of salvation. Beyond that I am still figuring out how to respond to some major issues of pain in the world in a way that is constructive, but thankfully I am not taking on that one alone.
-We went out dancing in Saturday night, but everyone there was over fifty! haha. It was a funny experience but we ended up calling Annmarie to come get us after we had a few laughs.
-So many bikes in Amsterdam! I think I am going to get one of my own someday.
-Windmills are such a good idea. The Netherlands can definitely be pretty windy! Thankfully we had really great weather on Saturday, it was beautiful outside and very conducive to walking around and soaking it all in.
-I am really looking forward to making Stroop Waffles with Grandma Katie when I get home! yum.
Ok well I think that is all for today. All in all, being in Amsterdam was both wonderful and internally challenging. I feel so blessed by my family (and supportive boyfriend/friends). With three weeks left in the UK, I am definitely feeling the pull of home but I know that this time is going to fly by. I am looking forward to the adventures and lessons that are bound to fill up the next 20 some days.
ASH- I am praying for you! Finish strong! Happy 24th birthday! (a day in advance) I love you.