Last weekend I took off Friday from work, cleared my schedule and spent 3 days with Dad who came all the way from Vancouver for a weekend visit. He was able to piggy-back the trip with a meeting in Spain, but I suspect he would have gladly come for the weekend regardless. That, if nothing else, separates our family from most others.
A few days after he left he organized his thoughts and wrote down his impressions which he then Emailed to the family. He was kind enough to include me in that Email which was interesting to read it from his perspective.
He also pointed out in that Email that is was not an invitation for me to comment, which I respected. Those were his thoughts and that Email was his forum. Fair enough. But, this blog is my forum, so I will respond here :)
“For 3 days, he walked my feet off…I can’t begin to imagine how many kilometers we must have covered, but I saw a very different Amsterdam that the one I had previously seen, and one that I liked a lot. “When Dad announced he would be coming to visit, I had two objectives for that weekend. First, spend as much quality time together as possible and second, show him Amsterdam the way I see it.
He made it clear he didn’t want to do touristy things, which was fine with me. Those places aren’t the highlights of the city anyway. I knew he liked to walk and so that is what we did. I took him to the different corners of city and sent his sense of direction completely out of whack. As was my first experience in Amsterdam, he rarely knew which way we were going, which was OK. I did. We walked through parks, squares and plazas, down cobble-stoned roads, pedestrian thoroughfares and lanes, by and along many canals and over more bridges than we could count. I also showed him the diversity of the architecture, from the leaning canal houses (which the NY brownstones were modelled after) to the massive estate houses that sat alone the edge of Vondelpark.
With only three days at my disposal, I think I successfully showed him why I love this city so much. I frequently get friends from Vancouver perplexed at how positive I am when referring to Amsterdam. Most of them have been here and think it pales in comparison to Vancouver, and maybe in some ways it does. The problem is, none of them have really seen Amsterdam! Now, Dad has. He saw it the way I showed it to Mom and Shawn last year. And most people who come here and only stay downtown, leave with a less-than-ideal picture of this city. It would be like visiting the Downtown Eastside and saying you have seen Vancouver.
“Like most of us, I think, I had only just come to the realization that Alistair wasn’t coming back to Vancouver, except to visit. This came as a surprise to Alistair because he said that he had expressed this in his blog, but personally, I think I was in denial…and so might some have you been!!”I first started mentioning that coming back to Vancouver was looking really slim in August and by the end of September, I pretty much announced it. I guess since I had to adjust to that idea in order to be happy, I assumed everyone else did as well. It didn’t occur to be that anyone would be holding onto the hopes that that wasn’t the case.
The simple fact is, nothing in my future is a certainty, something else I have recently come to grips with. I have my ideas of what I want from the future, but nothing is written in stone. This is true of where I will live, what the future holds for Nina and I and where my career is going. All I know is what I want at this moment in time. But since my life has changed so much in the past 2 years, I have realized thinking about where I want to be in the future is a little futile. Because what I want now and what I want a few years from now might be miles apart. I do want some stability in my life and will want to put down some roots at some point, but I recognize that will probably be 10 – 15 years from now. So, I am adapting to that.
"On Day 2, we took a 30 minute bus ride to Edam, one of the prettiest little towns I have ever seen. We spent the day there, walked, sat in a little cheese café and ate some cheese (what else!) and drank wine. The cheese café was a neat little spot by a canal (everywhere is by a canal). We ate, drank, talked and had an interesting time with the owner who sat with us for a while."Before Dad arrived I saw down with Marc and had him make me a list of all the places he thought were worth visiting for a day trip. My only stipulation was they must be within an hour of Amsterdam.
I did some research and decided Edam looked like the best option. One of the major selling points was that it is located on the Ijsselmeer
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"Just remembered something else worth mentioning…his bike!! It is probably one of the most theft-proof bikes in Amsterdam by virtue of being a piece of shit that is held together by a h
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