This quote from Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’:
“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
This quote from Nicole Krauss’ ‘A History of Love’:
“I try to make a point of being seen. Sometimes when I’m out, I’ll buy a juice even when I’m not thirsty. If the store is crowded I’ll even go so far as dropping change all over the floor, nickels and dimes skidding in every direction. All I want is not to die on a day I went unseen.”
A- AmandaBlog&Kiss: This year I bought the domain for my blog and gave it a spiffy new makeover. And then shortly thereafter completely fell out of tune with blogging. My timing is always impeccable at best! But as the year draws to a close I find myself drawn back to blogging more and more, so here I am again! ….and now the domain registration expires in less than 20 days. Did I mention my timing is brilliant? Because it is. (Note to self: Let’s remember to update that, hey?)
B- Barcelona: A wonderful trip to Barcelona with friends this summer. What a great city! Even more great when you throw away all intentions of doing anything touristy, and just relax and spend some quality time with friends. That’s what life is all about, right?
Barcelona Alley at Night
C- Camera: Probably one of the nicest birthday gifts I have ever received: my new Canon camera. Dave knew that I regretted ever giving up photography, so for my birthday he surprised me with a new camera. I totally wasn’t expecting it. I’m having a lot of fun with it. Am I good at it? Nah. But it’s a learning process, and I’m okay with that.
D- Driver’s License: I finally put one foot in front of the other and went down and took the exam for my Dutch driver’s license. I passed! …And since then I haven’t gotten into a car at all, except for maybe a taxi here and there. But damnit I have that little piece of plastic, and that’s good enough for me. And if anything, it’s made me a completely better cyclist. True story.
E- Events: I organize the events now for the hotel. It was an unexpected but welcome turn of events (no pun intended) and I’m loving it!
F- Family: Family in Ireland, Family in Scotland, and Family that visited Amsterdam. A lot of family time this year. It was lovely, and something that cannot be underestimated when you are an expat who lives far from home.
Family Time in Amsterdam
G- Games: Mediamatic gave me a huge present this year wrapped in the shape of an exhibition on nostalgic arcade games and a three day conference on mobile gaming. I went several times, and several times more, to play games that I used to love before video games became crap, such as Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt (video here). Yes, this was a highlight of my year, you’d better believe it.
H- Hotel: I bore everyone to tears saying how much I love my job and the hotel where I work. So I’ll skip this and just say: Best. Job. Ever. (Damn I did it again didn’t I? Sorry!)
I- Ireland: We made a last-minute trip to Ireland this year for family purposes, and while the aim of the trip wasn’t that great, hanging out with everyone was, as always.
J- John/The Colours of Amsterdam: The joint production with John of our new blog blew back some creativity in my life where it was sorely lacking, and from that spark many others followed. Now if only John would contribute some more! (HINT HINT JOHN.)
The Colours of Amsterdam
K-København: I got you this time, K, you tricky bastard. A wonderful trip to Copenhagen with 2 friends to visit a friend that was studying there for the semester! This was my first foray into Scandinavia, and it’s true what they say! It’s a very clean place.
Three Girls on a Boat in Copenhagen
L- Lola: My lowest low of 2011, maybe of my entire life. She’s almost always been the L when I do these posts. I still miss her daily, and cry for her often. I can’t get a respite from the guilt that came with her death, or the big hollow hole inside of me since she’s been gone.
Lola sleeping whereever the hell she wanted to. One of the many things I loved about her, and what I miss today.
I have to double up on M here, because I have two important ones:
M- Mylo: I have spent the last half of this year with just one dog, and seeing how Mylo’s personality has changed as a result of going from a 2-dog to 1-dog household has been fascinating. And he’s been an important part of the support that I needed after Lola died. I guess having no other dog around to compete for my attention has given him one hundred percent access to me, and sometimes I feel that this has overwhelmed him. I can’t help it, I just have a lot of cuddles to give, and now one dog less to receive them.
Mylo, will you be my new best friend?
M- Milan: Twice. Once with Angela where we yapped for 36 hours straight and never once got tired, and once to meet up with my cousin from New Jersey. Both times were great, and I cried when I had to leave my cousin. It was really special being with family in Italy, that’s all I’ll say. …And I might have been a bit drunk. And holy shit do you know about aperitivo? This Milanese tradition should be spread worldwide!
Angela overlooking the Duomo as the sun set
I told my cousin to meet me on top of the Duomo. A happy and very high reunion!
N- Nederlands: I’m not sure if I’m learning the language, or just fooling myself, but twice a week I sit through a three hour class, so surely some of it must be seeping into my brain by osmosis, right? My exam is in January, guess I’ll see then.
O- Overtoom: Still kicking it on the Mighty Mighty Overtoom, 6 years running. Best street in the Dam.
Q- Queen’s Day: The best Queen’s Day I’ve had in Amsterdam, mostly because I wasn’t trying to fight through crowds of drunks. Instead we sat at the bottom of our stairs and had friends drop by to drink. What stuff we didn’t sell in the rummage sale was taken away by the crowds after we left it there, and I am judging this Queen’s Day as the best by how a pair of my bikini bottoms are still wrapped around a bike’s handlebars in front of my house, nine months later. How my bikini bottoms made it outside and around the handlebars is anyone’s guess, I really don’t know. But it makes me laugh every morning to see they are still hanging there, waving like a flag.
R- Rome: This year we went to Rome and soaked in some heavy sun (blimey that’s a hot sun down south) and some ancient culture. We also met up with our old flatmate Veronica, where we continued our tradition of jumping in front of some of the world’s best landmarks.
Coffee in Rome, because that's just what you do.
Jumping in Rome with Lake
S- Scotland: Met up with my parents in Edinburgh for a 5-day break. It was nice to get back to Scotland, and even nicer to spend time with the old folks. A lot of drinking was done. A lot.
T- The Stone: I have an old friend to thank for getting me writing again, at least writing fiction, and I look forward to more editions of The Stone literary magazine.
U- Uncategorizable: My 11/11/11 Party, aptly titled “The Return of the Hat”. Everyone played along nicely with the theme.
11/11/11 AND hats! What better excuse to throw a party?
V- Valtifest: The festival that marks the end of the summer festivals, and for me it also marked one of the few times this year that I overdid it so badly that I was in tears the next day. There’s just something about a party with a dress-up theme! Gets me every time. (See 11/11/11 Hat Party, above). This year’s Valtifest theme was “All in the Family”.
We dressed, we went, we partied.
W- Writing: I fell out of love a little with blogging this year, and immersed myself more into writing offline. It’s an emotional process, which surprised me to find out. You have to put yourself into the characters and feel what they are feeling in order to write about them, which doesn’t always translate into good writing, but is interesting to experience nonetheless.
X- Xpat’s Life for Me: As an expat, you simply learn to live with the fact that your other expat friends won’t always be there with you, that in most cases, one day they will move on and the tide that brought them to you will just as easily take them away.
Y- Yankee: More and more as each year passes, I feel a little less American, a little more country-less. Although based in the Netherlands for the foreseeable future, I don’t feel very Dutch. So where does this leave me?
Z- Zombie Geisha: This year’s Halloween costume had to fit into the Zombie Walk that I was going to, but I didn’t just want to be any old zombie. So I stepped it up a notch and went as a geisha zombie. I wore a kimono, carried a parasol, and had brain sushi on a plate. It was definitely in my top three Halloween costumes to date. Except when I had to take the makeup off and took half of my face skin with it. OUCH!
Mmmmmm brain sushi!
Sooo, that’s a wrap! See you all in the new year! Roll on 2012…
I’m trying to share everything with you, I really am. I am trying to write at least every day for a few days until I get all of these thoughts I want to share out in the open. They’re not even super-intellectual thoughts, or thoughts about the war in Iraq, or Gay Rights, or really much more than my usually blah blah blahgs, but still I want them written, I want them done.
But I looked at my schedule and I don’t have a spare second within the next 5 days starting from noon today, and that made me panic. How to blog when there’s no time?
I just saw that I have 85 unposted drafts of blog posts. EIGHTY-FIVE.
Yeah, a lot to say. And apparently I hoard my unfinished words like I do my toiletries – packed down in the dark where no one except me can see them (I’ve been working on that, by the way. You’d be proud. Not super proud, but maybe more proud than before).
So there is a lot to put out there, but no time to finalize the thoughts and post them. And it’s not like the next 5 days are steeped in work obligations, although it’s a bit of that as well. It’s mostly social events, meeting up with friends and what not.
So I’m not complaining. I have friends! I like that I have friends!
But at some point, when there are places to be 24/7, I have to stop and think, “Damn. This time last week I had absolutely nothing to do but swim in the Mediterannean and this was my view:”
An island in the sun.
“And now I have a To-Do list as long as a tapeworm, and this is my view:”
Also water, but coming from the sky.
And while I thrive on to-do lists (call it the one proper Virgo trait that I have) and meeting with my friends, I’m thinking right now that I’d just like it all to be done already (and on a To-Done list) so that I can have a bit of space to breathe again. And to blog again.
I had one of those days where I woke up in A MOOD. A good mood. An energetic mood. Ready to conquer the world, smash my face into the universe, and STOMP STOMP STOMP!
It seemed like the whole day was shining on life, there was no time for bad thoughts, no time for negativity, just onwards, upwards, STOMP STOMP STOMP!
Ideas for projects were churning ALL DAY LONG, and so many great things happened- both personally and at the two jobs that I have. It was like my karmic juju was finally being repaid.
- A reporter from CNN called the hotel in response to a social media experiment that we started. We were literally jumping for joy.
- A former client sent an email detailing how great she is doing thanks to the online company I work for-it made me so emotional I nearly cried! Seriously, I wish I could share it with you, but for the sake of her privacy I cannot.
- I found this book in my bike basket tonight after work, along with a bag of rubbish and an empty Heineken bottle. A mystery gift? Thank you Mystery Gift Giver!
At first it looks like any normal book….
Title of book: "Oogste der Tijden"
But when you open the cover and flip past the first 40 pages…….the words suddenly stop!
Look Ma no words!
I’m going to draw in it. Lots and lots of pretty pictures. And maybe some ugly ones too. And it will make a lovely place to write down all of these ideas that I am having!
- Everyone I came into contact today was in a happy mood, smiling, laughing, and joking. EVERYONE. OK there was maybe that one jerkhole, but he’s always a jerkhole, and today his jerkiness was kind of funny and endearing too.
- And the stickler of the day. I came home tonight, and up the stairs of my apartment. Balancing iPod, purse, container of tofu, newly gifted mystery book, and another book that I had just that day received in the mail. I struggled for ages at the top of the stairs, rummaging around in my bag looking for my keys, as I do EVERY SINGLE DAY, when I noticed again the book that I was holding, the one that came in the mail today and I had to stop and laugh.
- Oh, and by now we all know that this happened today. WEIRD, huh? You don’t see that everyday. The backlash at the hotel due to stranded passengers was insane.
In other news, the Imagine Film Festival is in town and I have plans to go twice with friends! And this weekend is the very last Club Rascal, ever! An end of an era, I shall be sad to see it go. I spent many a euro on vodka limes on those nights, dancing my ass away into the wee hours of the morning! And I just found out that the Off-Centre Festival is coming up next month.
Come on people let’s get our social hats on! Life suddenly got LIFIER again!
The other day I started a post about someone who has been relentlessly texting me for 7 months. I found it kind of funny (the post), but then reading back over it I saw how disturbing it seemed.
So I waited to post it. I slept on it. And that night I had a dream that this person read that post, passed me on the street (because this often happens although he doesn’t realize it) and headbutted me. My dream ended with me scared and blacking out, my nose broken.
Sooooo I think I’ll wait to post that particular story. Until I grow some balls again and see the humor in it all.
In other news, when I’m not blogging, I have been doing any number of the following:
reacquainting the dogs with the park after a long hard winter
reacquainting myself with some fabulous vegan cooking (sausages, scrambled tofu and chocolate chip cookies in particular)
reacquainting myself with books (those paper things with lots of words on them)
reacquainting myself with coffee (damnit)
reacquainting myself with the gym
reacquainting myself with goals
This weekend is the World Pillow Fight Day. I’ll be there with bells on, just like last year. But I’m kind of low on pillows, so I might just fill a pillow case with money and use that instead. I’m sure the plebs won’t mind that a bit.
Retiring my boots for the summer (I’ve lived in them this long winter)
Late afternoons spent on a blanket in the park
Stopping for breakfast on a terrace of a cafe on my way into work some mornings
A very social March
A possible trip to the States soon enough
Leaving the house without a coat, 2 scarves, and gloves
Trips to the beach with the dogs
The need for sunglassses and my parasol again
It’s not that I’ve had nothing to write lately. On the contrary, I have loads to say, but it’s all going into my real diary, in real words scrawled in ink, meant only for me to get it off my chest and capture this time in my life for my own sake, not so much for the sake of the internets.
But I am still on the look out for blog fodder, and since March is building up to be very full socially, I don’t think that will be much of a problem. What I want (need) more than anything is the distraction of friends right now (check), a busy work load at the hotel (check) and maybe a hardcore gym routine to make me sweat (no check…not yet anyway).
But right now I’m off to meet a friend for lunch, because this week is Restaurant Week, and I’ve been fully taking advantage of that as an excuse to get together with friends and check out some new places to eat (6 in total, if you must know). And later on I am going to go see Hot Chip with a good friend, so all in all yes…I’m getting what I want: Distraction.
The Hotel has taken me back like the bastard step-child* who keeps trying to run away (this is the 3rd time that they’ve taken me back). So I’m there fulltime as of the beginning of December. They asked that I at least commit to 6 months there and then we can see if we’re a good fit. Sounds fair to me! It’s a lovely place to work, and all of the people are fantastic, so I know it’s going to be a good 6 months (maybe, hopefully, possibly more?).
(*I can say that because I am a step-child. Several times over in fact. It’s not as bad as some might think. Who needs one father WHEN YOU CAN HAVE THREE?)
Also The Good:
The Passion Pit concert that was delayed waaaaaay back in June was rescheduled for this past Wednesday at Paradiso. I went with Ms Trouble Herself, Alexandra. Because this concert was originally scheduled for the day I returned from Glasgow, and because all during my trip I listened mostly to Passion Pit, it was a great reminder of that trip and what good it had done for my heart and soul. More on the concert in another post.
Also The Good:
I spent yesterday meeting newfriends and drinking hot beverages by roaring fireplaces with alreadyfriends. And in between that I even worked a little bit! And it all gave me such a warm fuzzy feeling, and made me realize where the balance of life should lay.
Life should be a very small percentage of working for the paycheck, and a very large, overwhelming percentage of cultivating these friendships that give me so much energy and happiness. DO YOU HEAR THAT POTENTIAL FUTURE EMPLOYERS? I’d much rather be hanging out with new and old friends than doing your dirty work! PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT.
The Post-Apocolypic Hangover from the concert. YOWZA. Nothing like a 24 hour hangover to set your priorities straight again.
Also? 29 years old is WAAAAYY too old to stand next to the speaker. Please speak into my right ear only.
Not-so-skinny boys in skinny jeans. Big thighs, tiny ankles.
I won’t even explain that here, because you know. YOU KNOW.
I know this is totally not an original idea for a post, but my blog search stats are sometimes the highlight of my day.
If I could reach out and personally speak to some of the people that stumble upon my blog for the following searches, this is what I would say:
To those with less than vanilla appetites in the boudoir:
full face mask fetish
Wow, I can only imagine the disappointment you must have felt when you searched for the above and clicked through only to find my little ol’ blog here, with not even a whisper of a fetish in sight. Because I don’t like to disappoint, I’m going to refer you over to the OTHER Amanda who might be able to help you with those latent sexual desires that are just itching to be released…Have fun!
However, if you like the idea of dogs wearing clothes and me pointing at small things, then feel free to relax, kick off that gimp mask and stay awhile.
The small ferocious kind that eat your liver while you sleep. You’ve been warned.
To those with a dream:
“work at lush”
It’s really, really great and then they fire you without warning. Good-luck-with-that.
To those that were there with me?:
the wildgeese robbed brussels
I actually found this interesting, because there were only 4 of us there that night, so was it one of you three? Also, this is an upcoming blog post, but I think this is the article you were looking for.
I’m not proud that this is a recurring search directing people to this blog, but at least I don’t feel so alone! My “hate” for Spanish people is actually a running joke with me and some of my friends, stemming from my days of barwork. Seriously, for all their friendliness and warmth, Spanish people are a pain in the ass to wait on. And apparently they just looooove to come to Amsterdam- lucky for me that I worked in a popular tourist bar for a year!
To those that are being bullied, or have been bullied:
First of all, as for what to do, here is what I did: sat around all day and whined and moaned about the pain, and then coerced people to go and buy me ice cream and sweets while I laid in bed watching crappy reality TV. When they obliged and came back bearing ice cream and sweets, I thanked them by whining and moaning some more. I also whined and moaned on my blog, taking my pain into the blogosphere and beyond.
As for how to make a sling…well, not to toot my own horn or nothin’, but…TOOT! (The Hug Yourself Sling- patent pending)
To those that can’t spell:
kiss my tant
I think you mean “kiss my taint“, and not tonight dear, I have a headache.
To those that want it bad:
fuck me good
Alright, but next time I want to hear a “please”, mister! I swear- the manners on people these days!
To the slightly mistaken:
song amanda by kiss
I do believe that ‘Amanda’ is sung by Boston. I know this because my name is Amanda (Surprise! Who didn’t see that one coming?) and I swore when I was younger that I would marry the man that used that song to woo me. Then one day along came a man that used that song to woo me, and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. And then we broke up, he threw my clothes out onto the street, and I moved to Amsterdam.
They just don’t make romance like they used to. Such is life.
To those that were given the Facebook shaft:
he deleted me from his facebook
Sucks! I feel you. Was it your overwhelming righteousness when debating the particulars of bullfighting that got you deleted too? Let’s get together over coffee and hash out the indignation that we both feel so deeply.
To those that need a hug:
If distance wasn’t such a bitch, I totally would. However, in times such as these, (PRODUCT PLACEMENT) there is always the Hug Yourself Sling! Meant for broken arms, but totally adaptable to people who are just lonely and need a hug when the only arms within huggable distance are their own.
To the few, the proud:
just got dressed fresh out the shower
Congratulations! Next up: how to tie your own shoelaces! “Make a teepee. Come inside. Pull down tight so we can hide. Around the mountain… here we go! Here’s my arrow. Here’s my bow!”
To the aggravated:
each day my boss tries to make me upset
To this I say: Kick him in the nuts! If it’s a girl, kick her in the nuts too. Trust me, it hurts us just as much.