Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Eric's final resting place will be all over the world. That said, his first will be here in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I must tell you how we both fell in love with this city and how I'm now showing his sisters and my mother why. Our first visit to Amsterdam was in '2015 for our 10th wedding anniversary. We hit London, Florence and Paris as well, but Amsterdam stayed in our hearts. Maybe it's because of the ease of how we were able to get to know the city? Or how we found many of the people very friendly, except the ones on the bikes. Maybe it was just the canals and the iconic row houses. Or the 'weed' that you can get practically anywhere with no pretense or anxiety? Or maybe it's how family friendly it is? Or how direct the Dutch are and how they mind their business? Or maybe it's how we felt safe walking back from Restaurant Daalder and accidentally ending up in the Red Light District, and not being uptight about it, we found our way back to the Pulitzer, our favorite hotel, with ease.
It's a layed back city, not uptight at all and we loved that. When we visited in '2015 we fell for it immediately. But then we came back in '2016, '2017, '2019 and when we had career opportunities come to us we jumped on those opportunities in '2020. But '2020 will be a whole other blog. I cannot say everyone understood. I think Eric made the move for me. I always wanted to live abroad. I don't think that was on his "list" of things he really wanted to do originally. However he actually warmed to the idea and was fully excited to see the world and become a 'world citizen' after the second trip to Europe...He was hooked. And if you look at our old passports you will see many customs stamps from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam...many.
So we took the plunge in '2020. I came first, Eric, due to work had to come later. This city is central to many places we wanted to see together. The airport is 20 minutes by car, and Central Station was a 15 minute ride on the 14 tram from our apartment, perfection. We could get practically anywhere in Europe with a 15 minute tram ride and a bullet train. You cannot beat that at all. We were excited to live abroad, trying to learn Dutch, which I might add is a difficult language to learn. I said to Eric, learn the necessary terms, "Hello", "Good Day", "Good Evening", "Hi", "Thank you" and we're grow from there. The beauty about this wonderful city is that most people speak English so it was a pretty seamless transition. There are many expats here, so speaking English helps. Now I'm showing my sisters - in - laws what he and I loved about Amsterdam. The many museums, shops, awesome restaurants, attractions, and beautiful views from the canals. They will see that on Thursday, September 9, 2021 when we have his cremation ceremony and bring Eric to the location/park by boat.
Yes, not everyone understood, not everyone was on board with us moving across the world during COVID or any time as a matter of fact. Not everyone understood why we went so far from home to have our final physical days together. Hopefully after this blog and his sisters seeing the city they will. But if they don't....oh well. Eric and I lived the way we wanted to live. Celebrated life the way we wanted to celebrate life. And enjoyed the good, the bad and the ugly together. If you've never been to Amsterdam, you may not understand. I think my Mom is understanding since she's been here. The city has an ease about it. That anyone can easily fit it. Now to get me wrong there are issues in every city and adjustments to culture are required for survival. That said, we fit right in here and loved every moment we spent together in this beautiful city.
After our celebration in Amsterdam, we will definitely head back to Atlanta. But back to Amsterdam we will return. For how long, I don't know. There are places we have to see together, and we plan on going to every one of them, with him in spirit. We'll have our European home base be here in the city we love almost as much as New York City (New Amsterdam), the original Amsterdam.