Bikes, zombie apocalypse planes, etc
Hey, you. Last week feels like a lifetime ago.
I … live in Amsterdam now. Every morning I make a fire.
A fire! You heard me right!
When we saw this apartment on FaceTime, I asked the broker if that was a fireplace?! I was looking at?! He answered, sheepishly that no, this was … a “woodbürner.” The idea, as a New Yorker, that these two concepts are separate, is hilarious to me. Turns out I love “woodbürners” as much as fireplaces. And past that, you know I love Manhattan. I truly do. But I also move to make a motion that every apartment in Manhattan / the world get a woodbürner, because lighting a fire in the morning makes me feel like the Jewish Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Getting here was a trip, as you can imagine. Our flight was insane. I’m honestly glad we did it, because it does feel like a once in a lifetime opportunity (that I don’t recommend?).
As we discussed last week it was a nail biter to get there, because every passenger was required to present a negative PCR test dated within 72 hours of arrival, and PCR tests … generally take at least 72 hours to get. Thanks to some goddess quick PCR godmothers, we were able to make that happen. But apparently everyone else (1) didn’t read those rules (2) wasn’t able to locate the same PCR godmothers or (3) didn’t care/thought they’d be able to squeak through, so once we arrived at the airport it was mayhem. Shout out to United for being BOSSES and not wavering on the policy while a bunch of very intense travelers screamed bloody murder at them.
In the end, a whole bunch of people got kicked off the flight and six (you! heard! that! right! six!) passengers made it on. I will forever remember the feeling of walking through that enormous empty international plane, like the survivors of the zombie apocalypse. José and I kept our N95s on the entire time, which deeply perplexed the crew. Our bruises/N95 scabs are just starting to wear off a week later.
And now we’re here. It’s gorgeous. Our apartment is owned by an Israeli architect and I am obsessed with him and every one of his design choices. We’re not allowed to leave our apartment, so we’ve just been nesting. I somehow still haven’t caught up on emails, which is very frustrating considering all the free time we have and is also just the facts. I miss a lot of people. I feel lonely and excited and it all feels hazy and surreal.
We got our bikes delivered. They’re sitting outside waiting for Wednesday when we can actually go into the city.
As to what we’ll be entering … I don’t want to throw shade, but from my very limited experience I would say …. 30-40% of people wear masks. No one is required to wear them outside. On the times when we have to go grocery shopping (we can’t get delivery without a Dutch bank account, which we can’t get without a BSN, which we can’t get without leaving quarantine, which, etc), even the grocery store employees don’t really practice mask protocol. It’s concerning, but I’m also not going to be the new person in the country somehow complaining. I trust that they’ve got it figured out here. Beyond that, JJ and I are gonna keep our N95s glued to our nasal bridges, and keep loving on this beautiful canal place.
From what we’ve seen of our neighborhood, it’s extremely charming. We have a downstairs neighbor with two absurdly adorable dogs who blasts excellent music and sells us firewood for the woodbürner. I’m cautiously optimistic that if I can just keep myself from contracting the deadly virus from any number of unmasked humans we’ll maybe be alright. Which I guess is the sentence of this entire past year? But feels different in Amsterdam, okay!? There are no words for emojis, but please trust that I would have put in a shrug-one-there and you-would-have-understood-I-was-being-sarcastic.
For serious, though. Many of my friends use the term “pulling a geographic” to encapsulate that feeling of needing to run to another place, while never being able to outrun your problems. Gil Scott Heron, in one of my favorite works of his (please please listen to it if you haven’t) speaks on it beautifully, writing,
Because I always feel like running
Not away, because there is no such place
Because if there was, I would have found it by now
Because it's easier to run,
Easier than staying and finding out you're the only one who didn't run.
2020 in a nutshell. Woof. This is my life, as we’ve discussed in past weeks/taalitawks. And yet, at least in the last week, running really does feel like it was the right choice. Not away, because there is no such place. But far enough to give us a little bit of a new start, for which I’m infinitely grateful.
Thanks for being here with me while we light fires and find new starts.
Till next week,