“Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves.
With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears.
Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.”
― Vincent van Gogh (Great Dutch painter)
I had the chance to revisit Amsterdam last summer and just solely visit my friends there this time. I stayed with one of my friends who are based there, Ariane and her loving husband Marco for four days and they’ve shown me places I have never experienced during my first visit in this city. It is always good to catch up with old friends where they say that no distance of place or lapse of time can lessen your friendship.
The friends I visited in Amsterdam, are one of my truest friends in this lifetime. They say, friendships that bear each other’s burdens and accept each other’s weaknesses, is what actually that does work, and not those relationships that deprives you from the opportunity to grow emotionally, spiritually, and… intellectually ;)
Ariane picked me up at the airport, then we meet up with Marco so we could go on sailing as the sun was shining that day compared to the previous days before I came. It was a relaxing afternoon and we ended it with a sumptuous authentic dinner around Laren where they stay.
The next day, Marco drove me around the man-made island in Amsterdam which is really unbelievable! It doesn’t looked man-made at all! He said, these people who built this were also the same people who built The Palm in Dubai. Amazing isn’t?
Then we went to the fishing village, where I experienced for the first time the famous raw herring! It is served with chopped raw onions and gherkins, and which is eaten by lifting the herring high up into the air by its tail, and then biting into it upwards. It was yummy!!!
After that, we went to The Arsenaal or the city turf warehouses. It used to be a storage of weapons that’s why it’s called the Arsenaal, but it was originally built as a storage of butter and turf for the poor. And since it is now the location of the Academy of Architecture, we found one interesting furniture designer shop here which is the Het Arsenaal.
We ended the day by taking me to the Dutch pancake house to try the poffertjes or mini-pancakes, which is only open during spring and summer! It was really good that I am craving for it now >.<
The next day, I meet up with Donia and Rua! Another friends from Amsterdam where I met first here in Dubai, they were interns here then. During the day, I met up with Donia and she took me to a canal cruise which I have not experienced the first time I was here! I saw some familiar places and some new ones too. It was raining again just like the first time I went around in Amsterdam in 2010! I guess Amsterdam always welcomes me with showers :P
After the canal cruise, Donia took us to the place where they stay, it’s a bit suburb and quieter part of Amsterdam. She took us to a food place where they serve Kumpir! I first tried it when I was in Istanbul, and again it’s too scrummy that I didn’t finish it once again :P
We ended the night by meeting Rua this time at a posh restaurant which I forgot already haha! It’s funny that I have to meet Rua and Donia on a separate occasion because of their work schedule! But then again, I really appreciate their time making an effort to meet me even just for few hours of their busy day.
And finally, on my last day, Ariane took a day off from work to be with me. We started with a nice apple pie breakfast. Then we went to Ann Frank’s House because I missed going here last time! We had to queue for 2 hours just to get it, but what’s important is, I made it this time!
I can only remember very few things from reading Anne Frank’s diary when I was still younger. All I know is I was older than she was when she wrote her diary when I read it, but I couldn’t understand it hahaha! Then I read it again when I was already older and I was amazed by the thoughts of this child! She was indeed a gem and an inspiration. So I really wanted to see her house, and now that I have been there, I could understand the pain in life that she had gone through and on why a child so naïve like her could write something like she did that touches the souls of so many even after all these years.
Aside from Anne Frank’s house, the things that I missed to do last time were seeing the Royal Palace because it was under renovation in 2010, the red light district and getting high haha! So I made it sure that this time around I would be able to…see the Royal Palace :))))
The last friend that I met up on this rip is Danielle. I met up with her at Schipol airport just few minutes before my flight! She works near the airport so that was the only best time for us to meet. I was really happy that we made it because she already moved to Greece with her husband few months after my visit!
The best thing that happened during this trip is not really experiencing things I have missed to do or see last time, it’s the heartfelt chats I had with my friends that no matter how far (physically) we are all around this globe, we still consider each other as friends you can keep.
Perhaps I am already at this age where I have to be selective with friends I should keep, and friends I should get rid of. I have several friendships in the past that I had to classify where they belong, but one thing I recently learned in life, part of growing up (getting mature!) is to stop playing “pretend”. If we’re ridding our lives of stuff that threatens our well-being – like a drama addict friend, nega-terrorist friend, over-analyzing friend who overcomplicate almost everything, etc. – they all belong right there on the junk pile along with stress they create in your life.
Forgiveness is not pretending. Better to just keep your distance. Associating yourself to some of this stressful people is like slaving over a withered garden without realizing all the plants are dead. Keep friends that actually do work. Friends that know us better than we know ourselves, who are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears, and where their presence reminds us that we are never really alone :)