I have been in Amsterdam, Netherlands for one week, but more things happened this week than the other 19 years of my life.
I arrived in Schiphol Airport at around 8:30am on February 1, 2023. Check-in time at my hotel was said to be 3pm, so I stayed in the airport for a few hours while 3pm came around. Getting out of the airport HAS GOT to be the most humbling experience of my life. I clearly had not set up my suitcases in the best way on the cart, so my carry-on fell off three or four times in the middle of the plaza right outside the airport. Fortunately, I was able to find my Uber and I finally made it to my room.
The next couple days consisted of welcome events at my university, shopping in the city center, and most importantly, learning how to use the public transport. Amsterdam is a lot smaller than one would think, and public transport helps you get from one side of the city to another in around 30 minutes.
In case you did not know, Amsterdam is known for having many bike paths. In fact, if you are not at an intersection with traffic lights and signals, the bikes have priority above pedestrians AND vehicles. The hundreds of bike lanes make it easier to travel from one place to another.
I knew I needed a bike when I moved here, and I immediately began looking for where to acquire one. I found a very good rental company which had a location about 15 minutes away from me, so I went to go rent one out for the duration of my stay. I thought I knew how to ride a bicycle, but clearly, I do not, because although I know how to go straight, I CANNOT turn. I have been on my bicycle a total of two times, and between those two bike rides, I fell three times, and crashed into something six or seven times (the worst one being a pole in the middle of the bike lane).
Yes, this first week was not the easiest at all, but it was very fun exploring bits and pieces of the city. I believe that being so far from my family has forced me to learn a lot about myself, and I am slowly discovering my own limits and daily routines. This was very much a ‘settling down’ kind of week. Next week, classes start for me, and I am excited to finally be on campus!