Can I give you a hand, madame??

After my absence of nearly seven years,  I was afraid I would come back to a city of… ahem, I don’t want to insult anyone, but you girls know how I’ve been bitching about Amsterdam for, well, ever: no style, no customer service, no etiquette, no good food, no sun, no mountains, no…

But I must say, after being back for about six weeks now, I feel that the city has changed. People have been surprisingly friendly. Cool shops. Nice restaurants. Clean. Well organized. Luxurious even (at times)!

Fact is, it’s probably not so much the city that has changed – I have changed. When I left the Netherlands 7 years ago, with a brand new and shiny Master’s Degree in the pocket (can I brag about that for a second – otherwise I might forget), and holding hands with a brand new and shiny boyfriend, my focus on the world was a little bit different than it is today -if it wasn’t blurred by an excess of alcohol from the previous night: party, party, party!

The first thing I noticed six weeks ago, coming out of the plane at Schiphol, was cigarette smoke. What is this? Pollution? I need a gas mask for my children – hurry!

Holland lags a bit behind the rest of the world; the anti-smoking laws are under construction and will only be implemented next year July. Meanwhile, everybody seems to be smoking everywhere and it annoys me.

Who would have thought? When we left 7 years ago I was still a smoker myself, and secretly thought that everybody who didn’t smoke was pretty lame (except for the boyfriend of course, he was pretty cool and damn sexy!). But it seems that wherever we have lived in the last seven years, not only have the terror attacks followed us, but also the smoking bans.  This one can’t come quickly enough!

The second thing I noticed, is that the people are surprisingly friendly and helpful. Fact is, 7 years ago I was probably half drunk, arrogant (I’m going to NY M.F. get out of my way!) and smelling of cigarettes, so it’s quite understandable people were rude to me.

Whereas look at me now: happy smile, pushchair with 2 adorable babies, boyfriend became husband so wedding ring and engagement rock – (true NY style), cashmere jumper and a whole lot of new-found patience (who knows that I haven’t showered in 3 days and that I will kill those little bastards back home …gna gna). 🙂

“Can I give you a hand, madame?”

Amsterdam and I are a better fit now.  And I am surprisingly liking it here!



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