Better Late Than Never

Ok, so back in July when I had no computer and I still had the desire/energy/willpower to write about my trip, I hand wrote a little anecdote about my time in Amsterdam with two incredible people, Karin and Yvonne. So it’s a bit late getting to the blog, but that’s only because I’m a lazy good for nothing.

Title: From Argentina to Amsterdam

As the train pulled in Amsterdam Central, I anxiously pulled my gear together and began my search for Yvonne, one of my hosts for the next three days. I had met Yvonne and Karin while traveling in Argentina and Chile with my father back in 2011. In truth, we did more than just meet. They actually saved my father and I from a miserable night of camping near the peak of Torres Del Paine in Patagonia. Dad and I underestimated what we were getting in for (read: didn’t prepare at all) and had little food or water, no tent, and no mats. What we did have though, was Dad’s charm. Soon, Dad, Yvonne and Karin were trading food for toothpaste, sharing laughs, and all was well in the world. Me? I was in my sleeping bag, grumpy as could be, hiding from both mosquitoes and unwanted social activity. I’m a chip off the ole’ block, right, Pops?

We ran into each other numerous more times over the next two days of hiking, and I got to know each of them a bit more. We stayed connected over facebook status updates, as you do these days, and I soon found myself with an open invitation to visit.

So there I stood in the middle of Amsterdam Central Train Station, greeting a woman I met 19 months ago. This was someone who straddled the line between acquaintance and friend, but who I would now be staying with for three days. It was an odd feeling, but thankfully one that disappeared rather quickly.

A short tram ride later I was unpacking my bags in a beautifully open and comfortable apartment. Yvonne had organized a bike for me, and the two of us set out to Karin’s office to say hello. They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get a little rusty. I wobbled and weaved as Yvonne laughed at my near misses. My guardian angel had to work overtime, but we made it safely to the doorstep of Karin’s office. Biking struggles were replaced by warm hugs and laughter as Karin popped out of the elevator to greet Yvonne and I. A short and awe inducing tour of the design agency she helps manage was followed by cementing plans for a boat trip later that evening.

That night, six of us boarded the company boat, including Elvira, a friend of Karin and Yvonne’s who I, by chance, met on a boat while scuba diving in Thailand several months early. Skillfully managing her way through the canals, Karin guided the boat and it’s now slightly drunk passengers to a waterfront bar/restaurant. By the end of the evening, the party of 6 had turned into a party of 20 as we celebrated a birthday by gliding through the still waters of the Amsterdam canals under a clear midnight sky. More than once I found myself overwhelmed by the moment, the sights, sounds and the reality of it all. It’s those moments that I truly cherish when I look back upon my travels.

That night was just the start of an amazing weekend. Salsa lessons, lunches under swaying trees, bikes rides with no reason, all night dancing and laughter. So much laughter.

One amazing city. Two amazing hosts. And to think, it all started half a world away.