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.