It’s Saturday morning and I woke up restless. Yesterday GG and I went back and forth across the provinces of North and South Holland to look at unique buildings with the eye out for a place to potentially move to. We were only looking at buildings that were unique in the sense of their history or their purpose – none of the modern, perfect new construction. In order, we were looking at a old soap factory (from 1600), the gathering place and hq of the jenever distillers ((1583), a house built into the dyke (1880) and hopefully an old farm on an island (1850). We couldn’t see the last one because we got the call yesterday that it was a pending sale *scowl*.

They were all interesting. But my heart is stuck on number two. I was kind of afraid it would be. I spent most of the week hoping that it would be nowhere near as great as it looked on the internet. It was even better. Here, let me show you.


Yes, that is a windmill that you see just above the roof line. You see, this house in the center of Schiedam. It’s next to Rotterdam. The big white house is number 97. Where I want to live. When I am thinking about living in this house, I am not thinking about things like resale value or how long it would take to sell if necessary. I am not thinking about things like having a reserve fund for the type of maintenance a house this old and elegant requires. I am not thinking about the practical aspects of keeping a house of 630 square meters (6781 sq ft) dusted. I am thinking about having a home that is big enough to share with the community, kids or refugees. I am thinking about a home that is big enough to let me unpack and stay. I am thinking about a home that is surrounded by history and no one has the plan to sky high towers there. I am thinking about a home in a neighborhood that is far more diverse.

I am kind of ready to start over somewhere new. Over the past three and a half years, my neighborhood has changed a great deal. Amsterdam is only rising in popularity and steadily, people are moving out who have lived here for years and being replaced by people who can afford to pay 700K euro for an apartment and then have 150K worth of work done to it to make it reflect their taste. It’s not gentrification, it’s turning into a single demographic. That’s not what attracted me in the first place. On my street, in the past year, it feels as if every ground floor apartment has changed hands except for the old lady at the beginning of the street, my neighbors on one side and the family with adult disabled son further down. All the others have been sold as they were converted from long time rentals and now it’s the “yummy mummy” demographic. That’s where they have 1-2 children, a 1200 euro stroller and they spend their days lunching
and chatting on terraces and waiting for their husbands to come home. Totally understand that is their choice and they have the resources to do so. However, that doesn’t make for a neighborhood that is inclusive or lively. It makes it feel sanitized.

Changing gears to what I am grateful for. 🙂 On Thursday, Little C and Mika came to pick us up and we went to the Open Air Museum in Arnhem. We had a lovely long day in the sun, exploring all the beautiful old historic buildings and I even got to cuddle horses. It has been such a long time since I have done that. I love the way they smell. The boys were exhausted on the way home from all that walking.

Today it promises to be 87 degrees. GG and I are off to the European World of Bluegrass later this afternoon for our volunteer shifts. Then we will watch the last bands of the evening, including the Sons of Navarone, which is one of the bands Paul plays in. It might be the last time EWOB is held after 20 years so we are going to do our best to make sure we sell lots of tshirts and CDs, collect the raffle tickets and generally enjoy the atmosphere. Last year they were really thrilled to meet such “young” volunteers 😉

Today is Marianne’s birthday 🙂 Tomorrow evening we are meeting up at REM Island for dinner on the platform where they used to broadcast pirate television as a celebration of both our birthdays. Should be beautiful weather for it!

And a week from today, we leave for Sicily. It’s rather unfortunate timing since my interns will start that week but I have found projects for them to do. 🙂 I’m only going to be gone for a week so they should be able to keep themselves occupied. It’s a terrible life 😉


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