Many of the pilgrims took ship from Amsterdam when they departed for the New World.
'Tomorrow' I will follow their footsteps and head to NEW Amsterdam from Amsterdam.
It was serendipity to be doing so- when I had made my initial plans to leave France for New York City, I had planned to fly from Paris or Bordeaux. But schedules and agendas intervened. And here I am... After 6 years of living in Europe, the journey that started in Amsterdam ends in Amsterdam.
I fell in love with Amsterdam on my very first visit eight years ago- my first breath there was enough to make me feel like it is my home.
Living here for three years was a privilege, a gift, a chance to heal after my divorce, a journey of discovery, a freeing. There's nothing like gliding down a canal bridge on your bicycle late at night, the cold wind biting your cheeks, twinkling lights and gables all around you, to make you feel like there is possibility again in the world.
I left Amsterdam for Nérac, France. Living there for three years was a privilege, a gift, a chance to heal after my mom's death, a calm place to be nurtured and nurture a garden in turn, a blossoming. There's nothing like gliding down a hillside on your bicycle at mid afternoon, the sun kissing your eyelids and bare arms, sunflowers and chateaus all around you, to make you feel like there is beauty again in the world.
Wandering in Amsterdam tonight, I have a million memories assailing me- Chinese lanterns and ski slopes, Sinterklaas and swimming in the river, opera and airports, bitterballen and oysters. Laughter and love.
I left Nérac with a heavy heart, but here,in Amsterdam, I feel peaceful. Assured that I even though I may be leaving, but these places remain to welcome me back.
From them I take with gratitude the lessons I learned, the memories I've stored, the way of living I've taken to heart, and a recipe book of my own making.
Like the pilgrims, I stopped into the English church in the quiet and secluded Begijnhof and asked God to bless my journey.
On the wall above the alter there is painted, 'Create in me a clean heart O Lord.'
It's a reminder to let go, be in the moment, leave behind anything heavy from the past and start with the light.
Leave a light burning for me, Amsterdam, I'll be back.