Amsterdamned

Don’t let the title fool you, Amsterdam was anything but damning but Amsterdamned happened to be the name of a rather delicious cocktail I had in an ice bar. So in homage to that cocktail and that wonderful city I thought I would let the world know how I found my four days in Amsterdam.

First things first I’m the realist, I joke I joke, the first thing to know is the city is crazy beautiful, gorgeous architecture, hidden streets and an interwoven maze of canals. I start with that because the obvious connotations are brothels, prostitutes and coffee shops. Yes, those things are present and I may have dabbled (the last one, I’m afraid to disappoint – but I’m just not into paying for any action I may or may not be getting!) but there are loads of other awesome things to experience too. Its one of the friendliest and most laid back cities I have been in, with strangers being particularly helpful when me and my friend Hannah got a little lost between the train station and our air b and b loft.

We stayed in a loft on the island off the main central area called Prinsenland. I would highly recommend getting a little off the beaten track with where you stay, the public transport is easy to use and with a three day travel card you can’t go wrong. It was great to actually experience local life in an authentic canal side town house. Our host Carla was lovely and made sure we had everything we needed and apart from a wi-fi mishap on the first night it was awesome.

Okay I’m not one to openly admit my shallowness but Amsterdam is a very attractive city, as in the people, one night we got talking to a group of guys from the University and honestly it was like talking to an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue. That was pretty random in itself,  but then we ended up going with them to a secret lobby around the corner from the main square, it was their fraternity headquarters – at this point the language barrier became a bit of an issue and it felt slightly like we were in a eurotrash horror movie or a budget taken spin off. I was starting to feel pretty *weird* at this point after eating a certain cake so we slipped away and headed back to the loft to eat way too much bread and jam and laugh into the early hours.

Art – whether you have brushed up on your Van Gough or not you can’t help but appreciate the greats work. If you have any interest in art, culture or history you will be all over the multitude of museums you can hit up in dam. Getting lost for hours amongst random doll house furniture was a surprisingly fun way to spend a morning. The rijksmuseum was the chosen one for me, this is also an ideal activity to do if the weather is shockingly shitty like it was last week. It was free entry for under 19s and 17.50 for those unfortunate enough to have fully reached ‘adulthood’. Anyway, I, unsurprisingly love museums my friend Hannah wasn’t quite so crazy but it kept us both entertained for nearly three hours… then I finally agreed to leave plus it was lunch time so my brain was less concerned with art and more with pasta.

The red light district was something I felt it was important to see. It was strange, it felt like I had entered a weird parallel universe where its normal to see women in underwear wiggling in windows. This area was largely filled with men and there were people on doors of clubs trying to coax us into sex shows which was just surreal.  I’m glad I saw it and if you are in Amsterdam you can’t not do it, but as a feminist and a twenty something women I didn’t agree with the principal.

The ice bar is another night time must see purely because of its novelty and great cocktails. It’s not too expensive so in this case I was all for succumbing to a tourist activity!

Overall Amsterdam was an amazing city and I will definitely be back. So if it’s on your list of places to see list put it somewhere near the top because it scores highly on architecture, culture, originality, fun and friendliness!

14.02.16

Today as I walked into work I was greeted by what can only be described as the physical representation of St. Valentine’s projectile vomit. Cards, balloons, mugs, plates and every other imaginable object with a heart plastered on it. All to the theme tune of Katy Perry’s teenage dream. Now in retail its like every holiday is on acid but this kind of made me feel uncomfortable and mildly wishful at the same time – I know I hate myself.

Firstly let me just lay it out, I am a romantic at heart – flowers any day of the year would do me, but the v-day hype creates a very uneasy atmosphere in the minds of many women. The v word, like voldemort or vagina, which yes I have already mentioned once, is not something I’m overly comfortable with saying repeatedly. Honestly, yes, I would probably be pretty happy if a gorgeous male appeared on my doorstep a week on Sunday with some type of cuddly toy, but that is more just my weak disposition than anything else.

After seeing a woman literally entangle herself in v-day giant helium balloons I thought – “what are we really doing here, is it worth being publicly trapped in ribbons?” and this induced many more questions and ideas about the ‘normal’ 14th of Feb festivities. This prompted me to ask everybody I spoke to over the last few days what they really thought of this lovey-dovey-commercially-charged tradition.

My mini research found that most people say they really aren’t bothered, that love should be shown to those you care about everyday of the year. However, there were a number of people, that like myself, wouldn’t hate it if there was some romantic surprise element amiss their public defiance of the day. Basically men, we can live with out it, we don’t expect much, actually in my case my expectations are literally non-existent, but if you wanted to get us a card or some flowers your going to earn major brownie points.

I am not one to conforming to commercially charged capitalism fuelled traditions but in this case I woefully make an exception… oh and christmas (who doesn’t love santa?!?). Although my v-day will probably be spent alone, if you can make it a little bit more special, for that someone special, no one is going to be annoyed or slightly give you the cold shoulder and use the word “fine” because deep down they were hoping you would have some kind of romantic epiphany.

My advice – be happy, if you care about someone let them know and have an extra snuggle on the 14th, just to gloat your couple status to all those less loved up than yourself if nothing else. But seriously love is a wonderful and magical thing and if your lucky enough to have it why not celebrate? If your single I am also not opposed to self appreciation v-day… that could catch on. I will be self appreciating myself with a gossip girl binge, possibly wine and much to much hot chocolate with marshmallows if that man doesn’t show up!

Happy 14th day of the second month in 2016!

Age: 22

Age. Some say its just a number, other people see it as an important measure of our time on this planet. It’s used to categorise us, defines when we can legally do things and is our own period of history. To be honest, personally, I don’t really know what I think of the whole concept.. surprise surprise. But what I do know, is that its a comparison device used by my brain to highlight what everybody else the same age and younger is doing and has already accomplished. This teamed with social media, a vessel for this information to reach my eyes, induces a mild panic that goes a little something like –

“Oh god, she just bought a car – I cant even drive… no way is he engaged (sits in bed alone watching netflix and  begins to unwrap the foil of another kitkat) *scrolling, scrolling, scrolling* aww they got a puppy – I want a puppy oh wait I can’t have a pet because I still live at home gaahh.. maybe I could sneak a kitten in and just keep it in my room.. no wait would that be cruel?? (falls asleep at 4am dimly lit by the laptop screen.)”

I am very happy for other people’s success, tickled in fact. Okay so my sarcasm is slightly dry but its hard not to compare, don’t you think? I am always on social media, so really this is some weird kind of self inflicted self depreciation. So maybe its not all about age, it’s about the onslaught of information that we share and see. We are on our own journey and there isn’t a timeline we need to stick to of school-graduate-boyfriend-job-engaged-married-baby-live-die blah blah or whatever else is the norm. We have to do our own thing regardless of if it fits into a Facebook tick box or not.

I do however, going back to age, have a penchant for “22” by Taylor Swift. So I don’t know about you but I’m feeling just doing what the f*** I want and not conforming for at least the rest of my twenties. That post lost all sense of direction.. but I think that’s kind of the point.

Drifting

I don’t know why I assumed that graduating University would be the catalyst for extreme productivity and life altering success.. when in reality I have spent the last 6 months working in a supermarket and putting off any major decision making. I mean I can’t even decide what series to watch on Netflix let alone what to have for dinner.. its a daily struggle.

Not that there is anything wrong with working in a supermarket it is a perfectly respectable job, but there is this weird “expecting more, deserve better” mindset which is carved into the student brain – I am not proud of it, if anything ashamed but its there nonetheless. Its all rather odd, it puts you in this strange drifting state. I am lucky that I have no major parental pressure, I can just about stand to still live at home and yes at the moment I am bumbling on quite happily with no major issues – apart from having to listen to my little brother play on his xbox everyday, the anger that induces is something I will never understand. But I want more, I need an adventure a bit of purpose and excitement. 

In the first six months off the 17 year long educational conveyer belt I have felt more lost and more free than any other time in my life. This is due in part to my complete lack of direction and the endless possibilities of things I can now spend my time doing. Its a little like the fear of the unknown tied with the sky is the limit- and other corny metaphors that I am much too tired to articulate. 

I don’t regret anything I have done so far in my post-graduate existence but its time to be more unapologetic and just get on and do the things I have said I was going to do since July. The thought of travelling the world is never far from my brain so this is where this blog comes in. I love to write, take pictures, see new places and meet new people soooo I think you can guess where this is going. This is my little place on the Internet to store my wayfaring rambles.