As you may have read in my previous blog, Saturday night was kind of wild. Therefore, Sunday turned out to be a calm and smooth adventure.
Over coffee, I met Miruna, a Romanian international politics student from the UK. Miruna and her friends also stayed out way past bedtime. I told her about my visit to London; in turn, she described the situation in the UK much like the two gentleman I spoke with over laundry. She goes to college in a small English town and told me that there are “secret” pubs only locals really go to.
Although London is highly progressive, the rest of the country can be quite unwelcoming to newcomers from other nations. She stays in a college town quite far away from the capitol city. Miruna shared that a simple excursion to a local pub can turn quite uncomfortable. She was invited to a “secret” pub that only locals typically go to. Speaking Romanian to her friends, she received various rude and daunting stares. According to Miruna, it is the less educated, low-income class that feels most negatively about other cultures. It is really intriguing to consider how this compares to the rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.
Besides Miruna, I also met Larissa who was staying at the hostel just for the weekend. She came here from another Dutch town about half an hour away to work a local festival in Amsterdam. I was curious to see how the rest of this country compares to its capital. Apparently, the rest of Holland is not as happy and easy going. Larissa laughed and said, “It must be the weed.” She got a little emotional knowing that she has to go back to her life outside of Amsterdam so soon. Finding my story quite inspirational, Larissa said she wants to travel solo in the future as well. The next time I visit Amsterdam (and there definitely will be a next time), I’m going to travel outside of the city to see what Larissa meant.
I planned on leaving the hostel much, much earlier, but due to the much needed sleep situation, I finally went out in the afternoon. Amsterdam on a Sunday is a totally different city. There weren’t nearly as many people on the streets and I was really quite glad. I walked around, got some delicious gelato, and decided to do a cruise.
In line for the cruise, I was talking to a young Italian couple about our whereabouts. When I said I was from Cleveland, the woman behind me spoke up and said that she is from Columbus. I’m so glad she did because I would have missed out on befriending a lovely, highly inspirational person. Dawn just arrived in Amsterdam yesterday and is only here for work. She told me that once upon a time she made it her goal to travel for work and she actually DID IT!!! With each day that passes by, I keep thinking to myself, I want to write and travel and then do it some more. Meeting Dawn, I realized that this is not so far outside of my reach – I just have to go for what I want.
Despite the unexpected rain, we enjoyed the gorgeous evening cruise in good company.