What did you do this weekend?
P.S. I’m also over at Mama and Her Boys today talking about how Corey and I ended up abroad – go take a peek!
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.
This past Sunday it was gloriously sunny in Amsterdam. It was also freezing, but that barely phased anyone in the city a bit. When those blue skies come out everyone is happy and the city is bustling (even more so than normal) with people hoping to enjoy the sight of the sun. We had planned on going to a museum on Sunday, but after brunch with a friend I knew I wouldn’t want to spend any more time inside. Corey and I instead spent the afternoon walking around the Jordaan, one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Amsterdam. We happened upon a boat cafe and decided we should sit and enjoy a cup of coffee (me) and a beer (Corey). It was one of those days where we walked around chatting away about how incredibly happy we are that we chose to go on this crazy adventure. There have definitely been dark days (literally and figuratively) but when that sun shines, everything becomes clearer and we know we made the right choice.
Corey and I flew back from the States just in time to celebrate New Years Eve in Amsterdam. We had plans to join friends for a house party, but realized upon arriving that we were way too jet lagged and exhausted to do much, plus we had a terrified pup to attend to. You see, fireworks are illegal in the Netherlands every other day of the year, so people go nuts on NYE. From the time we woke up we started hearing them go off. As the day progressed the cracks and booms got louder and louder, and once we even thought our windows would blow out (seriously). We spent much of our day staying inside consoling Henry, who’s not a fan of fireworks. In the evening we sat around and drank strong Belgian beers (out of champagne flutes) and talked about our wishes for 2012. Around 11:30 we decided we should at least go out for a bit and experience the commotion and smooch under the colorful bursts of fire at midnight.
We walked about three blocks to Nieuwmarkt (where we also bought our Christmas tree!) and as soon as we stepped outside we were surrounded by thousands of people, crowded streets and terrifyingly close firecrackers being lit all around us. I saw a girl chugging whiskey out of a nearly-empty bottle of Jack Daniels, and the smell of marijuana surrounded us. It was clear that people had come from all over the world to celebrate the beginning of the New Year here – and they wanted to bring it in with a bang. We stood together for a while in awe of all the chaos and couldn’t help but feel like we were in the middle of a war zone. We had to dodge fireworks more than once as people threw them off their balconies down onto the congested streets. The whole scene was like nothing I’d seen before. It was 4th of July on steroids – and with no rules. Drunken people lighting off fireworks wherever and whenever they wanted – regardless of how many people were around.
At midnight things really went crazy. We kissed at midnight, took a few photos, and then realized that by now Henry must be having a mild heart attack and we’d better get back. Plus, I was scared for my life and was more than happy to go back and seek refuge in our apartment. I figured our quiet street would be saved from the madness, but when we finally turned onto it we found some drunken men lighting off huge fireworks right in front of our door. They were so big you could feel their vibrations deep in your chest. We ran up to our apartment to find Henry shaking uncontrollably. We quickly consoled him and turned some music up loud to try (naively) to drown out the noises coming from outside. We were glad we decided to stay home with him that night (save for 30 minutes)! The fireworks didn’t stop until around 4AM, so our jet lag woes continued into the next day. All in all we were happy to be here and experience the craziness that is Amsterdam on NYE, but I have to say that next year you’ll probably find us holed up in a cabin in the country – far, far away from it all.
Corey has been busy studying for finals for the last week, and I knew he was feeling super stressed, so after he finished his first final on Monday night I wanted to surprise him with a little something. I thought it would be nice to make some mulled wine for him to enjoy after hours of essay writing. When he walked in the door the house smelled amazing, candles were lit and it was the perfect way for him to unwind after his long day of work and final-taking. I used this simple and delicious recipe from fellow Amsterdam expat blogger, Jenn, and I highly recommend it!