Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dark Cloud

It’s been a few weeks, a few cities, and few countries since I last wrote. I was not feeling very wordy lately, and am now just starting to feel that I that I have something to write about.

I should first start off with, that my intentions of writing this blog are not only for my travel experiences but also to share my journey over the next few years and something I can look back on and remember. It may not come in a form of a pretty little package with good warm fuzzy travel stories, but rather it may come out in the real Raw Amanda form as many of you know me to be.  I know that this blog is seen by a lot of people who do not know me very well, and I may over share at times, I may say things that don’t make sense, I may even shock a few of you, but hey, that’s me, Amanda.

I love to write, but like I said it doesn’t always come out in the best way. When I was packing up from Seattle, I came across a few poems I wrote, yes I write poetry too. As I was reading them, they were dark, sad, tortured, and to say the least a bit depressing. Upon closer look at the date, and reminiscing with my good friend about what was going on in my life during that time, I wasn’t a sad, going thru a tough time, or even depressed, quite the contrary. It was a time where I was happy, and things were really going good for me.  Sometimes my feelings come out and even I don’t know where they are coming from, so keep that in mind as you read through my thoughts, poems and these blogs.

A friend, who lives in Europe, has been with me since I arrived in Amsterdam, so that I would not be alone during this difficult time of transition. While at times I have been glad to have someone around, I also wonder what I would have done, or be doing should I be alone. I like things just so, and it makes it difficult when you have to think of another person. I am grateful for him though, and know that I would never have done some of the things I have done thus far.

So, moving on, I am at the moment in a hotel in Bonn Germany. I have been here for 4 days so far, and leave in two. I have been looking for a place to live come November. I have a relocation agent who has been helping me meander thru the task of searching, and after 3 days of looking, I have found NOTHING.  There were a few cute places, but either was too small, too far away, or just too expensive.  I have 2 months of temporarily housing once I move here, but really wanted to get settled, move in, and have my pets shipped over the beginning of November. It doesn’t look like any of that will happen, and while that makes me sad, it also allows me to find a place that I truly love, and that is good. I want a little piece of paradise when I come home. I know that may sound crazy and not realistic, but I don’t know how to settle for anything less. What I want is a nice little house or apartment with my own private garden, 2 rooms, a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen I can move around in, oh yeah, within 15 minutes of the office too. That’s not too much to ask for is it? The hunt goes on.

 I really like it here, more so than Basel, Switzerland. In fact, I haven’t enjoyed my time in Basel at all. The country is nice enough but WAY too expensive. I’ve had a rough time adjusting to my surroundings, and I just feel like a dark cloud is following me around there.  The apartment I am staying in, is cramped, filled with the smell of smoke, and as far as amenities, there are random kitchen utensils, and at most, I get 2 of each, plate, glass, and silverware. I have a landlord that comes into the apartment whenever he feels like, even while I’m there WITHOUT knocking, and a 100 year old cleaning lady that speaks the fastest Italian I have ever heard. Even if I was fluent in Italian, I don’t think I’d be able to understand her. The office is less than a 5 minute walk away, which is nice. Without going into details about the office life here, let’s just say, I am not in Kansas anymore!!!!

A few weeks ago, I did have the chance to travel a few hours up into the Swiss Alps to a small village called Lauderbrunnen, which was simply quite amazing. It was good to get out of the city and get into some nature. When looking into the forest, it’s a lot like Washington or even parts of Alaska. We stayed in a cute little chalet that overlooked the town, which was surrounded by sheer rock mountains, and waterfalls everywhere you looked. The air, was crisp, the grass a vibrant almost florescent, green, and in the distance you hear clanging bells from the sheep that graze the entire country side. A thought that kept coming to mind… More Cow Bell???

During our stay in Lauderbrunnen, we went up to the third highest peak in the Bernese Alps, Jungfrau Mountain. Talk about amazing. It was a bit cloudy, but the views were awe inspiring, the snow was refreshing, yet freezing cold, and the air was very thin. While at the top, we did some hiking around, inner-tubed down the mountain, and I even built my very first snowman of the year.  For eyes, I used some euro coins, a nose, a penny, and for arms I broke an emery board in half, and he came to life. He was so cute. I decided that after our photo shoot, to leave him behind so that all others could enjoy him as well. The best part came about 10 feet away when some other travelers started lying in the snow to take pictures with him. It was awesome! My little snowman, created, and situated 13,642 ft above the world will be in photos that will travel the globe, talk about world traveler that little guy.  I even got some photos, of the people posing with him.

While on the mountain, we walked thru an under-mountain, manmade ice sculpture cave which was pretty interesting; all that was missing were some ice skates. The ice carvings were amateur, and simple but still fun to look at, and being sandwiched between two large slabs of ice was pretty cool to say the least.  After the chilly experience and a million photos later, we descended in our little tram that took us back to Lauderbrunnen.

If you know me, you know that I LOVE coffee, so it was important to find a place once we got there. Lucky for us, or for my friend, there was one directly across from our chalet. To our surprise, it was run by Australians, which just so happen to speak English. The cafĂ© reminded me of a place back in Kodiak, called Mill Bay Coffee. The staff and other coffee goers were friendly, the food was delicious and the cappuccinos were delightful. I have come to appreciate hot coffee since moving to Europe, as the Europeans don’t like ice very much for some reason. The food in Switzerland is overpriced, and really nothing to write home about. Most of our meals have been prepared at the apartment (I refuse to call it home) and very rarely we eat out.  I know I make it sound awful, and while it is for me, it could be, and is a very happy place for many people. I am not good at standing still, and I want to start my life in Germany. I feel like I am on hold, and I don’t do well, on hold. I have made a mental note for when I get back to try and enjoy the last 4 weeks of my living there. Take things as they come and relish in the notion that I won’t have to live there ever again. Visit often, yes, but nothing compared to living.

Back to where I am at now. Bonn. As I said, I really like it here. I feel like this is a place I could stay for awhile. Everyone has dogs here, there are lots of parks, and everyone I have met thinks my accent is charming. I’ve even had one lady tell me, I speak very good English for being an American. I wonder who in the world she has she been talking to?  I have lain pretty low and haven’t done a lot of tourist things upon arriving here, as I will have plenty of time in the next year to do things, but today I think we are going to take a boat trip up the Rhine River. It’s a bit grey today, but as they say in Seattle, if you wait for the rain to stop, you will be waiting forever! So… Off we go to play in the rain, on the Rhine.

Things I’ve learned:
I am not good at following someone who doesn’t want to wait for me.  Life is what you make it, but sometimes life is just shit, and every now and then I think everyone needs to experience that.