Amsterdam

Baby went to Amsterdam

She put a little money into traveling

Now it’s so slow, so slow

Baby went to Amsterdam

Four, five days for the big canal

Now it’s so slow, so slow

-Peter Bjorn and John

These lyrics have been playing on repeat in my head since I landed in Amsterdam yesterday. The thought of having time here prior to going to Africa was to help adjust to the time change. I believe it has also been a good transition for me to remind me how many different ways there are to live this life.

Our first stop was Dam Square. The photo above is of the Royal Palace. I had a ‘moment’ there. I was overcome by emotion. The thrill of being in a new place. The contagious energy of the city. The joy of having had safe and smooth travels.

My parents are my travel companions for the first month of my journey. Here we are in Dam Square. I am lucky to have parents who not only can do a trip like this but also want to. Having been here before my parents generated a “to do” list that included many Amsterdam highlights including the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Rijks Museum.

The canals are beautiful. Bikes line the streets and bridges.

This is the view from the Anne Frank House looking across the street. It is hard to imagine that as a child, Anne walked these streets. I found the tour of the house provoked many of the same emotions I have felt in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Patrons were silent as they walked through the house. I believe the house and Frank’s story have been shared widely to ensure that history is never repeated again in that way. However, I fear that Trump’s thoughts and actions about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has a similar impact on youth. Children, like Anne, who have nothing wrong are put in a position where they pay for things they cannot control. I am hopeful that we will learn from history and protect all children, from all backgrounds.

Walking through the Red Light district was hard for me. (Not only was it awkward because I was with my parents, but it was disturbing for me.) I couldn’t help but think of Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This book explores the oppression of women throughout the world. Kristof and WuDunn make their points by using personal anecdotes and then strengthen their arguments with statistics. In Amsterdam over 900 prostitutes work in the Red Light District everyday. I can’t wrap my head around this fact or this topic. A sign on the street read, “Sex work is work” indicating that woman have the right to use their bodies to secure financial gain. However, there are power dynamics to consider. Sexism. Cohesion. Free will. Choice. Education. Opportunities. Once again, I am made painfully aware of my own privileges.

I loved this sign. “I Amsterdam.” It was extremely crowed in the front. My thought of capturing this sculpture from the back was to indicate that they are Amsterdam. So many people, languages, ethnicities, shapes, sizes… I love it!

This is the view from the street where our hotel is located. This city reminds me of Buenos Aires in many ways. It has a similar energy- a certain zest for life.

This is a short post- as I am to get ready for bed soon. We have a flight to catch first thing in the morning to Africa. I am still getting used to WordPress and am now adjusting to writing posts on an iPad, so PLEASE leave suggestions in the comments for how I can improve the reader’s experience.

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Author: Kate Schelbe

I am a dog-mom, daughter, sister, friend, and educator. I love books, bikes, and mountains. I strive to be an agent for positive change in the world.

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