After the long and fun-filled holiday season, Amsterdam is alive with weather that changes on a dime, hailing snowing raining sunny and cloudy all in one day, cold that is setting in causing the canals to freeze and construction projects that seem never-ending. For us expats, the dark part of winter this far north with the sun rising at 8:40 AM and beginning its descent at 4:00 PM, can leave us feeling tired, low and in search of fun and connection with friends.
At times you feel like everyday is a holiday, every meal a banquet. But the holidays are over and you just want some buffalo wings with a side of blue cheese dressing or a real Caesar salad that does not have tomatoes and weird dressing on it or whatever that familiar food is from home. You crave being surrounded with good friends who know you well and miss your old routine back home and driving without the fear of a biker cutting right in front of you as you make a turn.
That dead of winter feeling, it is here. The race you felt before the holidays with visitors, travel, shopping, wrapping, celebrating, tending to the kids and family, no time to write a blog post, is gone. To combat the extra darkness and yearning for home, we have to remind ourselves it’s probably the same or worse back wherever we come from and start planning travel to fill those many spring school breaks. We have to drag ourselves out of bed on the weekends and get to that obscure museum we really do want to visit. We need to bundle up and do a day trip to one of the many small Dutch towns we should visit like Oudewater, Zierikzee, Thorn, Volendam or Geithorn before our tours are up.
When you have FaceTimed with everyone you miss, have your travel plans all squared away and toured the Van Gogh for the fourth time this year, remind yourself that summer is just 148 days away and you will be exhausted hosting and touring all the visitors that are going to come knocking.
Summer is coming.