What I Learned in March

DSC_0432Back with more things that I learned this month! I am really liking this segment so far, it really helps me think about what I did in a month and what I can improve upon for April. March was an interesting month for me because I had a lot of realizations and came to many conclusions about how I am living my life and spending my time and so on. But still it was a good month. I can’t complain :)

This month I learned:

01. You don’t constantly have to be surrounded by people to be happy. When I first arrived in Amsterdam I constantly felt lonely. I didn’t know many people and even the ones I did know I didn’t see very much. I very much based my happiness on how many friends I had, which was wrong. Now that I am settled in here I don’t mind doing things on my own, sometimes its even better than constantly being surrounded by people.

02. Positivity is a choice. I’ve heard this so many times, but now I know that it is true. It really is a choice. You just have to get in the right mindset, which can be very difficult. It took me a couple of years! But now that I am here I never want to go back, it feels great.

03. How to ride a bike in Amsterdam. I almost decided not to buy a bike when I first got here because it looked kind of frightening.  What a mistake that would have been! Riding a bike in Amsterdam is so exhilarating and fun! I am so happy that I chose not to miss this experience.

04. That I need to make some new goals. I realized that going on exchange was really the last big goal/dream that I had, and I am doing it right now. Other than more travel destinations I really need to think of some new things that I want to accomplish in my life. Heres to dreaming.

05. That Ernest Hemingway is probably my favorite author. (Next to Jane Austen of course). I just love his writing style and novels. They always make me want to travel even more.

06. That you shouldn’t put your phone in your pocket while riding a bike. This is a sad story to tell… I completely cracked and scratched my phone screen due to it falling out of my pocket while cycling. What a way to learn how not to do something.

This post idea originated from chattingwiththesky.

Until next time x

 

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Being Grateful

I am just realizing now all of the amazing opportunities that I have done and had, and how many more I will get to partake in before this adventure called life is over. It must be something about exchange and Amsterdam (And no its not the pot) because I am suddenly feeling much more positive about everything. And its amazing.

I used to get bogged down in the tiny details. I naturally had a negative way of thinking which I thought was totally normal. I thought that everyone had the same thought patterns I had. Boy was I wrong. For a year or two now I have been trying to work out how to become a positive thinker, and it was trying. I wished so much that I could have a positive outlook on life. It was something that I was really struggling with.

And now I do. Just suddenly and completely it snuck up on me. One day I just realized that hey I haven’t had any negative thoughts for awhile and it felt so good. I became so grateful that I was given the opportunity to go on exchange to Amsterdam when before I was homesick and just wanted to go home. Now, even if I am having a rough day, I am able to to think that at least I was able to accomplish this or that. Even if its small.

I became grateful for so many other opportunities in my life. The fact that I got to go on countless road trips with my family to the US. Being able to attend university. All of my amazing friends and family. The fact that I was born in an amazing country like Canada. Knowing that in the future I will have many many more adventures. These opportunities that I am grateful for aren’t over. There are many more to come and just knowing that makes me so happy.

I used to be anxious and saddened seeing what everyone else is doing. The things that other people get up to always look so much better. For me, that was one of the terrible things about social media. I always felt that I hadn’t done enough with my life, when this wasn’t the case at all. Somehow I can see everything a little more clearly now and know that I have achieved just enough for now. And knowing that there is so much more to come makes me feel better. Life hasn’t ended yet, there are so many more things to partake in.

So cheers to this crazy lifelong adventure!

The Museums of Amsterdam: Van Gogh + Foam

The Van Gogh and Foam museum are arguably my two favorite museums that I have visited so far in Amsterdam. The only thing that I do not like about them is that you are not allowed to take photos inside. I suppose this is a personal preference but I just love photos of museums and really hate it when you can’t take any! So I am sorry, this is a photoless post. :(

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I think what made me love this museum so much is the fact that you really get to know Van Gogh. Instead of having snippets of so many artists works like most museums, you are able to fully learn about his life and art. By the end of my tour I felt like I really understood him as an artist and was that much more appreciative of his work. The way they ordered his work is also very well done. You start at his earliest art and then eventually get to right before his death so you can really see his growth as an artist and how he developed his famous style.

When I first visited I wasn’t sure if the museum would only show Van Gogh’s work but I now know that this is not the case. They also show other artists work from Van Gogh’s time that he was either friends with or looked up to for inspiration. So you really get a full understanding of what the art world was interested in at the time. They also have multiple letters that he sent to friends and family that you can listen to on recording.

I’ll be heading back to this museum in a couple of weeks to see it with Sean and I don’t even mind. I’m not sure how to fully describe my experience in this museum except to say that it was satisfying.

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Foam is a photography museum so if you are not super interested in the medium then it may not resonate as much with you as it did with me. Upon entering the gallery I immediately realized how much I missed and love photography. I mean I take photos all the time, but I don’t really take care with them. I just snap whatever. Visiting Foam really made me want start taking photography more seriously again.

When I went they had exhibitions by Broomberg & Chanarin, Geert Goiris, and Regine Peterson. To be honest I really enjoyed all of them. They were very different from one another so it was nice to see a broad range of what photography can be.

I am definitely looking forward to going back when they change around their space.

What are some of your favorite museums to visit?

Until next time x

Daily Diary: The Hague

DSC_0270 Last weekend my friend Chloe and I decided to do a day trip to another city in the Netherlands. After much deliberation (And checking of train ticket costs because the place I wanted to head to was 50 Euros…) we decided on The Hague or Den Haag. We set out early Saturday morning and arrived at about 10ish. Even though it was a cloudy miserable looking day I really enjoyed our trip. We mostly just meandered around the old part of the city, but it was nice to see all of the buildings and just chat. DSC_0271DSC_0272DSC_0274The Parliament buildings. We really wished we could go inside but alas, we couldn’t. DSC_0279Old with the new.

DSC_0309We did end up going to one museum, the Escher Museum. The museum showcases work by Maurits Cornelis Escher who I did not know I knew until I saw some of his designs. He is most famous for his impossible constructions such as the one that has a bunch of staircases in different directions.

DSC_0280I enjoyed the museum quite a bit, and a lot of his work especially. Another special feature of the museum was that in every room they would have a different crazy chandelier. There were ones shaped as guitar’s, missiles, and sharks. So weird and amazing.DSC_0287Belvedere. 1958.

One thing that we didn’t understand about the museum however, was why his work was being shown in that particular building. In every room it would have snippets of information about when the Queen lived there, which made for a rather strange juxtaposition. DSC_0295Metamorphoses II.DSC_0299At the end of the museum they had multiple rooms with interact illusion things… my English is failing me right now. Sorry!DSC_0318A church we happened upon. DSC_0325And a giant statue we wandered to while trying to get somewhere else.

I think The Hague is a very interesting city because the Dutch parliament and monarchy reside there. So there are a number of historical buildings to see. We didn’t end up going to the palace but I am sure it would have been quite a site!

I am really looking forward to more trips like this in the future! It is so much fun to get out of Amsterdam for a bit and see more of the Netherlands and hopefully soon, more of Europe.

Until next time x

Amsterdam at Night

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I love Amsterdam at night. As soon as the sun goes down and the lights of the city come on, it has a completely different vibe. Depending on where you go, it can be peaceful to stroll along the canals and watch the lights reflect in the water. But if you are looking for more of a party vibe, the city definitely has that too. I think one of my new goals is going to be to see more of Amsterdam at night, I definitely don’t spend as much time out as I should when the city is so magical. Enjoy these few photos I managed to take at my favorite time of day!

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What is your favorite city to see at night?

Until next time x

Want to Read: Non-Fiction

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If you saw this post from earlier in the year then you probably know that one of my reading goals for 2015 is to read more non-fiction. Now that we are 3 months into the year (I cannot believe it is already March!) I have realized that I am sorely lacking in this department having read exactly 0 non-fiction books so far this year. Recently, I have become (re)fascinated (This should be a word…)  with history thanks to Crash Course History and Kahn academy, which fueled my interest so much that now I am searching for every book history related that I can find. Specifically those to do with ancient civilization and biographies of great people, with a few other things mixed in there as well. So without further ado, here is my non-fiction want to read list:

Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay

Being an art history major, this book immediately caught my attention. This one is all about where certain colors come from and what famous people of the past used them. I feel as though there should be a class on practical things like this for art history majors. To me it seems useful for understanding ancient art better, but who knows, maybe its just me.

Catherine The Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie

There is something about Catherine the Great (And Russia) that has always kept me slightly fascinated. In elementary school I was obsessed with reading royal diaries, a fictional series that takes real queens/princesses and makes a story out of their teenage years. And in that series was one about Catherine the Great, so there started my interest. Now though, I would love to take an in depth look at her life and accomplishments.

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan

I am not a huge WWII buff like some people I know, but I don’t think it is possible to not be at least a little interested in the subject. The Longest Day recounts the invasion of Normandy both before and after it occurred. I am looking forward to understanding WWII better, specifically how the soldiers really felt during those times.

Zelda by Nancy Milford

After reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald I wanted to know more about her. Z was a good book, but since it was fiction based on a real person you can’t really know what to trust and not trust. Zelda is one of those people that you can’t help but be fascinated with, especially since she was married to one of the best authors of the 20th century.

So what are some non-fiction books that you loved and would recommend?

Until next time x

The Museums of Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum + Stedelijk

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While Christine was visiting Amsterdam last week we took it as an opportunity to visit a couple of the museums here. Because we ran out of time and were busy doing other things as well, we only ended up going to the Rembrandt House Museum, Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk. I feel like I didn’t take very many photos (and no photos at Rembrandt’s) which makes me kind of sad. However, because I now have a museumkaart I can go as much as I want to all of them so I think you can expect some future posts on these museums as well. :) Continue reading