topher-europe

I’ve been living in Amsterdam for almost seven months now. It’s been pretty easy adjusting to living in a new country. The biggest benefit being that almost everyone here speaks English. I don’t think I would like it as much if I couldn’t communicate properly with people.

I was really worried when I left Vancouver that I may have made a bad decision moving. I worried about losing my friends, and missing the comforts of familiarity. I no longer feel that way. I made the right decision, as I’ve been having such a great time here.

Being away from home can really put things into perspective. I’ve had a lot of time to myself, since I don’t have the same number of friends here as I did back home. It’s given me time to reflect on what and who is really important to me, and what I can live without. The things that I thought were so important to me eight months ago I realize just aren’t that necessary for my happiness. I’m not going to write that “I’ve really found myself”, but I do have more clarity now.

The one thing that I’ve found kind of odd since moving is that I miss my family a little more than I thought I would. I moved out of the house at 17 to go to school. I haven’t lived in the same city as my parents since then. We kept in touch, usually with a phone call every Sunday, so I was never really that far apart. Now though, with the time difference and distance, I find that we don’t talk as much. I’m trying to convince them to come visit this summer. They’ve never vacationed in Europe and I think they might like it.


Anyway, nevermind all that self-reflection nonsense. What’s been happening in Amsterdam!?

I’ve been going to quite a few concerts. I saw Groove Armada and Deadmau5 last year. A couple of smaller Canadian bands (DD/MM/YYYY, and Japandroids), Mastodon, and Hot Chip. I have tickets for Caribou, Broken Social Scene, LCD Soundsystem, The New Pornographers, and Crystal Castles all in the next few months as well. For some reason, good bands love coming to Amsterdam!

I’m still trying to play soccer with the gay team here. There’s been drama between the coaches and some of the players, and from January to now, there haven’t really been any practice sessions. They want to send a team to Cologne for the Gay Games, but that’s the same time as Amsterdam Pride, so I don’t know if I want to go or not. I think in September I’m going to try to look for another straight team to play for.

Which reminds me, looks like I’ll be here for another year. My contract initially was supposed to be for one year, and would end in September, but I’ve pushed for another year, and the reaction seems to be positive. The paper work still needs to be finalized, but I think it will happen.

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(photo info: hanging out in Dublin with Kevin, Donovan, Brian (pictured above)

I’ve been doing a little bit of traveling. I went to visit a friend from my undergrad in Brussels earlier this year. He was supposed to come here this weekend with his boyfriend and a few others, but the Iceland volcano eruption put a halt to their travel plans. I went to Malta for easter weekend with my co-workers, which was great. A nice little island with lots of history.

Donovan, Brian, Kevin and I did Dublin and London right after Easter. That was amazing. Dublin is a cute city, with lots to experience. I was surprised by the quality of food there. I had low expectations, but I was amazed. Good fish and chips for sure. London was a little too much, in a good way. I was exhausted by the end of the trip. Great shopping, and so much to see. Brian and I went to the Tate museum on my last day, which was one of the main highlights for me. To see live Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Dali pieces was awe inspiring.

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(photo info: waiting for TUBE at Padding Station in London with Donovan, Brian (pictured above)

I went out last night to a club in Amsterdam called the “Cockring”. It’s near the red light district, in “leather alley”. There are a few clubs near there that are primarily an older, muscle crowd. I was a little drunk by the time I got there, but it was kind of fun. The downstairs had a dance floor with really heavy techno music. The main floor had a smoking room and sex rooms. Lots of sex rooms. I glimpsed quite a few live blow jobs. The top floor was a dark room. Literally. No light what so ever. The sex stuff wasn’t really my thing, but the downstairs was nice enough.

So yeah, that’s me really. No love life to speak of. A combination of not having any interest in the people I’ve been meeting and vise versa, haha. Other than travelling, concerts and a little bit of clubbing the day to day stuff happens. I’ve been really concentrating on getting in shape. Been going to the gym three times a week for the last two months. I’ve been trying to stay current on latest music releases through blogs and some internet research.

I’m happy. I love it here. I no longer really miss Vancouver unless I think about it. I’m sure I’ll be happy to go home whenever that happens, but I’m not ready to go yet. Amsterdam is really coming alive now that the weather is getting better. Summer is going to be great, especially since I’m taking the entire month of August off.