Alright, time to blog! I have been MIA for a few days, trying to lug all my stuff around. Which brings me to my first point: my luggage! That's the most important thing on my mind right now. Everyone told me to pack light and I understood why and I honestly thought I did! But clearly it was not light enough. It's also hard to pack "light" when preparing for winter/snowy/rainy weather. Layers upon layers are necessary so I guess I know why people back pack through Europe in the summer... And I guess Europeans don't believe in elevators. Anywhere. And that's fine, I can do some stairs carrying a 40lb bag, my 12lb carry on, and my own weight wearing rain boots and a down jacket. Fine, I can handle some stairs. But in all the places I've slept so far, why oh why do they put me on the TOP floor!?! Theeee top floor. Like floor 3 or 4. Every time I hear the receptionist tell me I have to go to the top to lay down after arriving, I literally want to slam my head down against the counter. Haha I'm sure it's funny to imagine or think about, but in the moment, after I've flown or trained or bussed my way there and have been walking, the last thing I want to do is lug 95737191040592 pounds up the stairs. I have come up with a routine of carrying one bag up at a time. But next time, I think I'm going to gladiator all of it, throw it over my head, and pound my way up the stairs. I'll let you know how it goes. Or, mom, you might be receiving a box in the mail soon with half my belongings.
Anyway, the camera! My camera!! What happened?! I realized that I didn't want this guy paying for any of my camera. I would meet him and thank him for his kindness but that I couldn't let him pay. It was an accident, and I didnt want him feeling afraid to ever take a picture of someone again. So I went to the meeting place, Saturn electronic store, before opening. To my first relief, they showed up. They were actually there. I went over and explained how I felt and both the old man and his daughter said no way, that they were buying the whole thing. I didn't know what to say so I changed the subject and we talked about the world and traveling while waiting for Saturn to open. They were from Brazil, but the daughter lived in London. She had a sister who lived in Ohio who just had a baby. The look of joy on this old mans face when he said he had "an American grandchild" was priceless. It warmed my heart. We were outside the store talking before it opened and it felt so comfortable. When the store opened, I picked out a camera equivalent to my old one within 7 minutes and I tried again to pay. They didn't let me. They wished me the best and I gave them both hugs before I left and went on my way.
They really touched me. And it's not even about the camera. Forget the camera. I met some of the most generous and kind people while across the world. We happen to be in the same place at the same time and fate dropped my camera. I was meant to meet them. I was meant to restore my faith in human nature and believe that people really do mean well and they care. After everything I've been through, or that anyone has been through, it is people like them that give me faith and make me want to be kinder. Because across the world, I met people that STICK to their WORD. I can barely find that at home, but I found it in a foreign country. And I wish nothing but the best for the Camera Family.
Ashleigh and I finished our last day in Berlin by eating one more time at Chan's restaurant. I know it is Germany and I should be eating German food, but schnitzel is just "ok" and Chan is irresistible. We told him all we did and thanked him for all the help. He was so excited to see us and hoped we would come back soon. I hope so too. :)
We then had a 7am flight to Amsterdam which meant getting to the airport at 5 which meant waking up around 3 to catch the train, etc. We arrived in Amsterdam, no problem and we look around and realize we are in toon town. Are you kidding me? I'm not joking when I say Amsterdam looks like Disneyland met San Francisco and did a bunch of drugs. It's insane! And quirky. And absolutely fabulous! I would never live here... But I would definitely come here to get away. It is it's own little village full of crazy. We had lunch (sanwiches and beer), went to the Heineken brewery and drank 3 free beers, saw Anne Franks's old house, and then went out to dinner (soup and fish and chips) where I dank my beer and Ashleigh's. And then found our way back to the hostel. It was great! It's a very relaxing town to walk around. Every other shop is a "coffee shop", so the scent of green fills the air. Everyone is friendly, easy going and willing to help. I went to sleep last night very comfortable.
Today, Ashleigh's friend, Maurice, has agreed to be our tour guide since he lives here. We are meeting him in a few hours, after she finishes her dance class. Today should be a fun day. Just like all the others, in their own way.
I have had many moments where I'm in the middle of doing something and then take a second to sit back, and realize where I am and what I'm doing. Its mind blowing. This morning at breakfast, I was sipping mint green tea, listening to some random tribal hippie music and looking out at eclectic Amsterdam houses through huge glass windows. It was a good feeling. I'm taking it all in. Everyday, it's something new and something I get to learn. And I feel so comfortable, like I'm doing exactly what I should be doing.