I am half English, half French and grew up in London, went to boarding school in Dorset, studied at Cambridge, did my post grad at Manchester and then returned to living in London. I had the itch to get out of the UK around the time many of my friends were getting married or having kids while I was single. I travelled a lot, visiting friends who had moved to New York, renting out my flat with Airbnb and renting other Airbnb’s. Actually, airbnb changed my life. I ended up living in New York for 3 months.
I wrote my first novel in 2007 and it was translated into Dutch. I was asked to come to Amsterdam when it was released and I thought “I could live here.” It was a bit like falling in love. I used to spend heaps of time in Camden Town where the houses are tall and thin with steep stairs. They say you look for something familiar from your upbringing, in love that means someone like your Mom or Dad, so it must have been like that but with houses and the feeling of Amsterdam being like my childhood playground.
I first thought I can’t move there.. I don’t know anyone. But then again, my life was (and is) portable being an author. As in every aspect of life, it was a risk worth taking. I moved and a friend of a friend of a friend lent me his apartment. I stayed and I stayed a bit longer and then I met my boyfriend. Now I think, well, I actually live here. He is half Dutch, half English and completely gets my sense of humour. When you have more than one culture you connect with other people who also have “one foot out the door” where they are from. You are able to observe where you are objectively and show a natural interest in the outside people, places, and culture.
Cycling has a universal impact on the culture here in Amsterdam. The rain rains on everybody. As a whole you are healthier both mentally and physically. You interact with the city and the people and thus become more integrated.
I don’t agree that the Dutch are direct. Rather, they are “what you see is what you get” which is not quite the same.
It is rabbits here and squirrels in London. I used to think it was odd how tourists would fancy watching the squirrels but now I find myself doing the exact same with all the rabbits here.
I drowned my iphone by cycling with it in my pocket on a 30 minute route across the city. It was completely dead, no bowl of rice could save it.
I find Amsterdam such a pleasant city. It is humourous what locals will say are “rough parts of the city.” I always think, “Here? But it looks just as lovely as the street over that is in the so-called posh neighbourhood.”