What I learned in February

DSC_1026Hello all! I recently discovered this blog link up from Chattingatthesky all about sharing the things that you learn. I was immediately intrigued as I don’t think that many of us actually take the time to think about all the things we learn in a month, whether big or small. After mulling it over for awhile, I realized that contemplating these things is important. Whether you realize it or not, every day you are learning something new and these new things are what helps you grow as a person. We never stop learning and growing, and I think that this is one of the great things about life. You never know where something you learned might take you, right?

This month I learned:

01. How to ignite a gas stove with a match. This may sound easy and mundane, but I hate lighting matches so this was a huge thing for me. I forced myself to do it or else I would starve while in Amsterdam. Yikes!

02. How to cope with homesickness. Last month was difficult for me after moving away from home for the first time ever. I think I successfully navigated the icy waters though and am finally enjoying my time here!

03. Some of the history of Amsterdam. I know someone here who is getting her masters in urban planning and she is full of all sorts of facts about the city. So interesting.

04. How to etch. Last week Christine and I went to the Rembrandt House Museum and were lucky enough to take part in a free tutorial on etching. It was on plastic instead of copper but it was still fun as we got to keep our prints after!

05. How to navigate around Amsterdam. One of the many things that I am terrible at is reading a map. So I am rather proud of my knowledge of the Amsterdam streets. One of the things I love about this city is that its so small. A couple of nights ago we walked from one side of it to the other, why can’t all city’s be like this?

So there you have it! I wish I could remember more things I learned but I have a bad habit of not writing things down, so hopefully next month this list will grow longer.

What are some things you learned this month?

The Sunday Currently | Vol. 6

DSC_0815C U R R E N T L Y . . .
R E A D I N G All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I am still on a binge of novels that take place in Europe even though I am actually in Europe now. Might as well fill every part of my day with something European while I am here so that I know I spent my time wisely!

W R I T I N G a journal/diary of my days in Amsterdam and am so far loving it! It feels really good to write with pen and paper instead of with a keyboard. I am mostly doing this so that I can look back on my thoughts and feelings when I leave this beautiful city. -cue tears-

L I S T E N I N G to Ariana Grande. I can’t believe I just admitted that. Every time one of my room mates plays music in the kitchen Break Free is bound to come on, and I secretly love it. Its my guilty pleasure music.

T H I N K I N G about home and summer and friends and endless days and nights. Can you tell I am still feeling a little homesick?

S M E L L I N G cooked mushrooms and eggs. I looove the smell of mushrooms cooking.

W I S H I N G that my homesickness would go away. The struggle is real.

H O P I N G that I meet some more people here. The people I have met so far are great, but I am still feeling rather lonely. So I am hoping to fill the void with more people.

W E A R I N G  tights and a shirt with a cat on it. Oh yeah.

L O V I N G fries with Belgium mayonnaise. I want some right now… It is unfortunate that I am trying to lose weight at the moment.

W A N T I N G more people to come and visit me. So far Christine is coming in a week, Sean is coming in April, Kimberly is coming in June, and my parents might be coming in May or June as well. March is completely open people. Come visit me!

N E E D I N G a hug. A hug from Sean to be more specific.

F E E L I N G refreshed after going for a walk under the sun.

C L I C K I N G on reviews of places to see and visit in Amsterdam. I am still so lost in this city. Any recommendations of things to do would be highly appreciated :)

I hope that everyone, wherever you are, has a most fabulous Sunday. I will be spending mine partying with my room mates as it is one of their birthdays.

The Sunday Currently originator: Siddathornton.

Quotes For A Positive Year | Part 2

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Lately, with feeling homesick and all, I have been needing some positive vibes more than ever. I never realized that moving to Amsterdam would make me miss Canada so much! And its the simple things I miss too. Like large cereal aisles and home cooked meals. Ok, lets be honest. Most of the things I miss revolves around food (And family and friends too of course!).

So with all of these negative thoughts floating through my head I thought it would be a good idea to try and sweep them away with some positive thinking. Hopefully if you are feeling a little down as well, these will help you feel better about your situation or mood, even if just a little.

“You can’t make yourself feel positive, but you can choose how to act, and if you choose right, it builds your confidence.” – Julien Smith


“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw


“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” – Stephen Chbosky


“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted. – Sylvia Plath


“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu


“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt 


I hope that you enjoyed these positive quotes, and have a great weekend to go along with them! If you missed the first part you can find it here.

Until next time x

Daily Diary: IJ-Hallen Flea Market

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Last weekend I was invited by one of my classmates to go to IJ-Hallen, the biggest flea market in Europe. I have been trying this new thing where I actually say “yes” to all the opportunities that I can get my hands on, so of course I couldn’t refuse. We met up at central station along with a couple of her other friends and headed out via ferry to the market.

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The market takes place in two big warehouses filled to the brim with stalls selling an assortment of things from clothes to old tins. It occurs only once a month so if you are visiting Amsterdam and want to take a peak you’ll have to time your trip accordingly. The next market is on February 28th but you can find more information about it here: http://ijhallen.nl/en/index.php

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I unfortunately didn’t buy anything because every time I thought about purchasing something I would convince myself that I didn’t need it. Stupid brain! The one problem with exchange is that I will inevitably collect a random assortment of things and not have enough room to bring it back to Canada. Better to stay frugal I guess. Its a good thing I am already good at that.

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My favorite part of the market was looking at all of the graffiti on the walls of the warehouses. I am beginning to notice just how much graffiti there is in Amsterdam and I love it! I’ll have to make a post solely on that in the coming weeks.

I definitely enjoyed my first time attending this flea market and think I might go again (and hopefully buy something…). This made me excited to visit other markets in Amsterdam, so you may be seeing some more posts on those :)

Until next time x

Daily Diary: Oude Kerk

DSC_0800A couple of days ago I ventured out of my dorm with a mission to see Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam. Thanks to a couple of mishaps and my not liking classes, I now only have two courses this semester, which means I have a lot of free time on my hands. I have no idea what I am going to do with myself! I really need to get a new hobby… But until I find that new hobby, I have been trying to busy myself with touring Amsterdam.

I started my day by taking the sprinter from Diemen to Amsterdam Centraal, and then went by foot to find Oude Kerk. Of course I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t get lost once or twice on my way there, but I made it eventually. It was actually rather shocking because I think that Oude Kerk is right next to the red light district, so I found myself once again trying to hide my camera and get out of there as fast as possible. DSC_0809DSC_0756DSC_0734

Oude Kerk is the first cathedral that I have ever visited and it was stunning! I could have probably spent hours standing in there looking at the columns and stained glass windows. My personal favorite thing to look at was watching how the sunlight shone through the windows and made intricate shadows over the rest of the church. So beautiful. DSC_0737DSC_0771DSC_0735

The craziest spiral staircase I have ever seen. Insane.

DSC_0722Until the 29th of March there is an installation in the Cathedral by the video artist Tony Oursler. It was very strange to see an 800 year old building paired with a video installation. I actually didn’t like it very much to be honest. It ruined the serenity of the place, especially because the recordings and videos were so haunting to listen to.DSC_0790

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Rembrandt’s wife Saskia’s grave.

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After my visit at Oude Kerk I thought I might wander the streets of Amsterdam until I found a nice cafe to sit in, drink hot chocolate and write. Instead my plan was diverted when I saw a fry stand (I don’t really know what they’re called..). I had yet to try these vlaamse frites, but every time I am in Amsterdam I see hoards of people eating them, so I knew I had to try them. They are just simple french fries covered in a sauce of your choosing. I opted for Belgium mayonnaise because I think that might be the traditional sauce so I wanted to try that first. And oh. my. gosh. They are amazing! I am seriously craving some write now… I know that every time I go into Amsterdam now if I see one of those stands I am going to have to test my will power to not buy more.

Afterwords I planned to walk around more, but it was so cold that I ended up going home. Some Canadian I am, eh? I hope that everyone likes this new idea for a post. I decided to make a “daily diary” series to share the places and things I get up to on the days when it is something interesting.

Until next time x

My First Few Days In Amsterdam

DSC_0676Hello blog! I have finally made it to Amsterdam after months of anticipation and stressful applications. When I first entertained the idea of going on exchange, I always thought that as soon as I arrived in the foreign destination of my choosing I would be happy and it would be easy as pie. Now that I have been here for about five days, I have come to realize that this isn’t the case at all. I knew that I would miss some people, but I did not know that it would be to this extreme.

I did not know that I would get this homesick and actually want to buy a plane ticket almost as soon as I arrived to return to Canada. I did not know that things like getting a SIM card for my phone or buying a train ticket would make me so anxious. I did not know that I would feel this lonely, even after spending a whole night out with one of my room mates. But even after all of those things, I am learning to cope. I have to, or else my whole stay here will be absolutely miserable.DSC_0685

It has only been a few days but already I am feeling better. There are still ups and downs, but I am hoping that the downs will become very spread apart soon and that the ups will be even better. Already I have gone to central Amsterdam and found where all of my classes are. I wandered the streets and saw the canals. The architecture is amazing and definitely something you could spend all day looking at. I even accidentally wandered into the red light district, but quickly left. It felt weird to be walking there by myself and I also had my camera out (you’re not allowed to take photos there).DSC_0673

One of the things on my Amsterdam List was to ‘be bold, be adventurous.’ And I think I am managing that quite well so far. I am learning to say yes to more opportunities and not only hide in my room.

The other night I went out with one of my room mates to a gay bar called SOHO in Amsterdam. It was fun and my first experience clubbing. I find it rather amusing that my first experience clubbing was at a gay bar but what the heck. Good times!

I road on the back of a bicycle for the first time! This I think is something that might occur a lot in this country of bicycles.

I went to my first borrel, which is a Dutch event where you go drink and chat with people. Quite lovely for just a quiet evening out, and the perfect end to my first day in Amsterdam.

I went shopping with my room mate and we made dinner together and chatted over a glass of wine.

Everyone here has been so comforting and kind. I think I can learn to love this place, even with all the ups and downs.

Until next time x

The Sunday Currently | Vol. 5

DSC_0662C U R R E N T L Y . . .
R E A D I N G The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I decided on this novel because after I read A Farewell to Arms it made me desperately want to travel Europe, so I figured Hemingway’s other novels might have the same effect. I am happy to say that I was right and now I am aching to walk the streets of Paris.

W R I T I N G lists. An exorbitant amount of lists! I thought that since this isn’t some small vacation and I am going to be living in Amsterdam for 5 months I should probably prepare (at least a little bit) instead of doing some last-minute packing the night before.

L I S T E N I N G to nothing much at the moment. Haven’t been in any sort of mood where I want to listen to music.

T H I N K I N G about all the last-minute things I need to prepare before I set off next week. This is where I chastise myself for being the best procrastinator in the world.

S M E L L I N G shea body butter. So delicious! You can say that about a scent, right?

W I S H I N G That I knew everything that is going to happen when I arrive in Amsterdam. I don’t like surprises, at least not the kind of surprises I am currently thinking about. Even thought exchange is a positive thing, I always sort of expect the worst. Damn my negative thinking!

H O P I N G that exchange will be a great experience.

W E A R I N G  my PJs. My favorite outfit recently.

L O V I N G All of the home cooked meals that my dad makes. I didn’t realize till the other day how much I will miss his cooking when I’m away. I am savouring every last bite while I can.

W A N T I N G to go on a shopping spree. But alas, I need to save money for important things like tuition and dorm feels.

N E E D I N G More money so I can successfully travel every place that I want to while I am in Europe.

F E E L I N G nervous and excited and apprehensive and sad annnd. I should probably stop there.

C L I C K I N G on all of my favorite blogs in bloglovin. Seriously my new favorite site.

I hope everyone had an amazing Sunday! I spent mine playing The Old Republic with Sean.

Join the blog link up by Siddathornton.