Written on January 2, 2013
I write this at the end of a very exhausting, yet exciting day. Twenty hours of travel time, followed by eight hours of exploring seems like a lot, but right now it seems so surreal to even be in Europe. Today has challenged me, taught me so many valuable lessons, and has surprised me in more ways than one.
Challenges: Well, the first a biggest challenge for me came early in the trip. My checked luggage didn’t make it to JFK airport. Bummer. Luckily I packed all of my essentials and an extra pair of clothes in my carry-on. Though frustrating, I am almost glad this happened to me early in the trip. This journey is meant to be full of lessons and realizations, reinforcing our perceptions of want vs. need and human necessity. My socks are all washed-up for tomorrow’s adventures- bring it!
Lessons: It’s been a few years since travelling in Europe, but some European realities came back to me as soon as the plane’s wheels hit the ground. First: there are line-cutters everywhere. Second: watch out for the bicycles. Third: NOTHING has corn syrup in it. Yes, I ate a full meal and did not feel sick for the first time in years (hallelujah). It’s amazing how a small thing like that can make a world of a difference.
Surprises: Since we arrived in Amsterdam early this afternoon, we did not have a lot of time to come together as a large group and conduct our Holocaust studies. Instead, we were given the day to explore this beautiful and unique city. This place is so cool. The architecture, the artistic influences, the history in general- it’s all mind blowing! Besides walking around the town taking pictures and altogether gawking over every cool thing in sight, some friends and I took advantage of the Heineken museum that is located about ten minutes away from the hotel. There, we learned about the history of this independent brewery and enjoyed lots of free samples. The museum was incredibly engaging. I’m not one to buy lots of souvenirs, but I indulged in a personalized bottle to take home.
It’s shaping up to be a great experience!