Time Flies When You’re Having Fun


Remember when you toured apartments in Amsterdam hoping to find the perfect one to live as an expat? There may have been too many stairs but a fantastic rooftop. Or one that wouldn’t fit all your furniture with a gorgeous garden? Or one that had brand new everything in a faraway neighborhood? As I open the door to let the realtors and potential renters in to peruse where we’ve been living for the past two years, I’m brought back to when we were hopeful and eager and ready for our new expat adventure.

Some new family will be occupying this place we’ve called home. Will they love the neighborhood as much as we did? Will they take care and admire the parakeets living in the garden tree? What will they think of the Heineken wagon and clydedales that clop up this street? Whatever lucky family moves in, I have no doubt they will fall in love with Amsterdam.



They will, like we did, get used to the sounds of the tram bells, bike bells, bike locks jingling, wheelies being pulled by the front windows, the smell of weed here and there, and the frighteningly loud Monday air raid siren at noon. I wonder if they will find the girl who sells flowers up around the corner who agreed to only speak Dutch to me so I could practice. Or come to love the delicious patisserie I ordered all our birthday cakes from. How many times will they sit at Cafe Loetje for a beer and bitterballen entertaining visitors? It’s funny what happens when you’re getting ready to leave. You start thinking about your arrival.

The countdown’s begun for us. We’re busy checking off our to-do lists for our move back to the States. It’s true what they say, “time flies when you’re having fun.” When we board that plane at Schipol and my passport is stamped for the last time as a resident going through immigration, our next adventure will begin and Amsterdam will then become that beloved city we once called home. Till then, I’ll keep opening the door, my dogs will bark like crazy and I will watch strangers walk through this rented apartment. And I will feel grateful.




I may sound like a broken record, but it’s raining again in Amsterdam. Does one ever get used to the rain here? While the Dutchies simply face another rainy day as par for the course, I’m still hoping, in my last few weeks here, for a hole in one. Can you imagine Amsterdam with full sun everyday? I dare say it might then be the absolute perfect place to live.

Living in Amsterdam has given me a new appreciation for good weather. Before May, that lovely month with record breaking heat and sun, my iPhone morning greeting was “Good morning Cathy. Stay dry today in Amsterdam. Rain is in the forecast.” Shocker.

You know those friends you have from California who actually complain about constant good weather? That’s right, they actually complain about sunshine on a daily basis and wearing t-shirts and shorts and going to the beach all year long. I secretly want them to live here for a really long time so they’ll realize not to say things like that to those who actually do live in The Netherlands. Believe me the grass may actually be greener here, since there is definitely not a water shortage, but my envy of those complaining may possibly be brighter than that Dutch grass.

This past May was the hottest on record in Amsterdam. The sun was generous. If you had visitors during then you may have found yourself saying, “You are so lucky. The weather isn’t usually like this,” as I did. And still people were complaining about the heat. I had to resist the urge to yell at them “HELLO! It’s going to rain sometime very soon, probably for a week straight. Enjoy this while it lasts.”

And here we are. The rain is back again. The old normal. Bring back that sun and heat I say. I want to be looking for shade. Where’s my bike seat cover? Which of my three raincoats should I wear? Is it side blowing rain or just constant drizzle?

I wonder when I move back to the US to a very hot southern state if I will be wishing for a rainy day. Naaahhh