Day 9: Amsterdam To The U.S.

Better late than never! It’s Saturday as I start to write this from my bedroom. I’m now back home. My scrape from the bicycle crash looks worse than day 1 but it’s healing as are my bruises. I’ve had a case of jet lag that has made catching up difficult until now. I’ll rewind a couple of days to the day I left Amsterdam to make my journey back home.

I made a short movie called Amsterdam Bicycle

 

Wednesday morning I awoke before my alarm went off at 6 am thanks to the Dutch sun shinning in through the hotel window, again. “I’m going to miss this” I thought to myself. I hopped in the shower, dried my hair, got myself ready and then got to packing up to leave. My flight was due to depart Amsterdam at 11:05 a.m. so an Uber was arranged for a 8 a.m. pick up. I had hoped to be ready and packed by 7 so I could have breakfast before leaving but of course I ran late. At 7:45 I finished checking out of the hotel. I took my final ride for this trip across the IJ River to Amsterdam Centraal where my driver would pick me up.

 

The Uber driver was the friendliest I’ve had the entire trip. He was very chatty. He mentioned that he hoped to visit the United States one day. When I asked him where he would like to visit he rattled off California, Miami, New York. I told him that those were all amazing places to visit. I explained that Orange County in So Cal was about an 8 hour drive from where I live in Arizona, Las Vegas was about a 7 hour drive and that both Miami and New York would take days to get there by car. “Days!?” he replied. Until this moment he had not realized how big the U.S. is. We shared nice conversation all while I got to see some really neat looking architecture around Amsterdam en route to Amsterdam Airport Schipol.

 

The Amsterdam airport was one of the nicest most efficient airports I’ve been to. It appeared to be a really busy airport as there were lots of people. I went through 3 screening processes before entirely getting through security in order to get to my gate. As I waited in line to check in my luggage for the flight I was questioned individually by airline workers as was everyone else in line. They asked where I was visiting from, what countries I visited on my trip, how I liked Amsterdam and then some more serious security questions. After answering their round of questions they scanned my passport into their system and then handed it back to me. Alas, it was my turn at the airline counter to have my suitcase weighed and checked in.

With my boarding pass and passport ready I headed over the security line. The line was ridiculously long and I started to fear that because of this, I may not make it to the gate in time for my flight. Amsterdam’s airport’s system for getting passengers through the line was very efficient. Although it did take some to get through it didn’t take nearly as long as I had expected. Once through I tucked my laptop back in my backpack and put my sweater back on only to get into another line to wait in before I could go to my gate. This line was also quite long, this line was another passport check. I took my place in one of the 6 lines and waited my turn. When it was my turn I put my passport facedown on a machine and then looked forward to what reminded me of a robot of sorts. A camera then auto adjusted to an appropriate height to have my picture taken. If a green light flashed then you were permitted to move to a desk where an uniformed woman would stamp a Netherlands exit stamp. With fresh ink in my book I had finally made it through all security checkpoints and could now make my way to the appropriate gate to catch my flight. IMG_2280My journey home was completed in just over 24 hours. My flight from Amsterdam to Houston was 9.5 hours. After a 3 hour layover in Houston it was about a 2 hour flight to Phoenix and then about a 1.5 hour drive home. I pulled into the garage at home just before midnight on Wednesday.

I took Thursday off from work to try to get rid of the jet lag but the jet lag from this trip has been the toughest I’ve experienced so far. I could not sleep Thursday night causing me to only catch a couple of hours of shut-eye before getting ready for work on Friday. My workday on Friday was both exciting and taxing, the work portion was hectic but the excitement came from seeing my co workers whom I felt I had not seen in so long. I arrived with doughnuts and souvenirs. I shared some particularly exciting business news with my boss which will mean a trip to Germany. In between working I’d catch up with my co-workers and tell them bits and pieces about my trip. Two of colleagues, Igor and Michael also love traveling so with them I shared some maps of Paris and Amsterdam. Steven is my music buddy so I was excited to gift him guitar pics from Amsterdam and talk to him about Gibson Guitar that located in the Sir Adam hotel building. Steve (we have 2 Stevens) is a seasoned traveller, we talk about foreign places often. He’s been to many places but never Amsterdam. I told him that after his trip to Cuba he needs to consider the Netherlands.

 

Traveling is my motivation. I like to save for experiences. The moment I get back from a trip I’m already day dreaming of where to visit next. I was happy to be back to work because I like what I do and I like the people I work I work with.

I thought about this art installation while observing it from a park bench one day in Amsterdam. It’s titled “SELF-PORTRAIT OF A DREAMER” by Joseph Klibansky. I related to it. I’m also the dreamer, it’s also my self-portrait. As I look at it now it has even more significance. The dreamer is the astronaut, hand on the chair, the chair representing the need to stay grounded, the plant symbolizes the dreams of the future ahead. The spaceman is also a representation of a positive future, perhaps pushing past boundaries. The dream is carefully balanced on his ankle as his body contorted to accommodate both. The position of the astronaut’s body says to me that our dreams are achievable if we can manage to discipline ourselves to stay grounded while chasing what is in our hearts. There will be times when it will be difficult and seem impossible as displayed in the way that the astronaut’s body is sideways, an unnatural position.

How do I know that the dreams are achievable? If you look at the reflection in the water below you can see the dreamer’s dream begin to come to fruition.

I jotted down the notes below when I sat in silence to observe what it meant to me.

Head in the clouds but also trying to stay grounded. A balancing act of responsibility but also chasing what some may think impossible. Keeping dreams and ideas to self so that the wind isn’t knocked out of my sails by outside negativity. Only I have the power to create the life I desire.

IMG_2019
“Self-Portrait Of A Dreamer” Joseph Klibansky

 

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