I stood at the door. The host had given me clear directions to the flat and promised me his friend would meet me at 3 o'clock with the keys. It was 4:18pm (or, 16h18). I called the friend. "Oh, your friend should be inside. She was on time." Which friend, I wondered. Following his instruction, I buzzed up to the flat. It wasn't long before I heard feet running down the stairs. Marie's cousin greeted me. Though I'd never met her in person, I was relieved to immediately recognize Charlotte. She felt the same; little introduction meant she could rest her lost voice. She turned to lead me up three steep and narrow flights. I practically held my suitcase above my head.
Lorelei for happy hour al fresco at Brouwerij 't IJ, Amsterdam's leading organic microbrewery.
Roest. The laid-back industrial setting was perfect. We enjoyed a couple more beers with a casual spread of picnic food. We also boldly participated in the inflatable backyard fun--a bungee run and a two-man joust--until we discovered it'd been rented for a private event...
gin cocktails, whiskey, and wine at Walter's, the Walter Woodbury Bar. It was a classier yet just-as-local haunt with a beautiful interior that was clearly influenced by its namesake--the 19th century English photographer who was one of the first to capture the "exoticism" of the Dutch East Indies. Given the atmosphere and plethora of libations, our conversation became a debate on culture and identity. My brother was absolutely enthralled. "The wonder of grad school abroad," I told him with a smile as we walked back to the airbnb. What a special understanding Jorgie and I now share.