Every few minutes - the streets explode with fireworks on and before Dec 31's night of Netherlands nuttiness.
- 68 million Euros spent on personal fireworks this year, without including black market purchases
- 7 million Euros in damages, mostly arson
- Over 800 injuries (loss of eyes, fingers, burns), including two Dutch policemen who had fireworks shot into their van
Every few hours - the building's common front door, shared with my otherwise awesome upstairs neighbor, explodes with her comings and goings.
Every few days - explosions of a more metaphorical kind...
There are intense explosions of longing for:
- my home country
- my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, friends
- exes past and partners future
- actual customer service
- steel-cut oats (seriously - please send some)
- interesting sports
- a shared joke with someone with a shared history,
- books under $15 and bathrooms over 15 square feet (4.52 square meters)
- something besides bread for lunch
- interesting sports
Laid Back radio guy
Yet these are met equally and regularly with explosions of excitement, exhiliration and new experience, brain-expanding opportunities that come about only via travelling, with almost every day offering a chance to see the world with new eyes and hear it with new ears:
- Portuguese New Year's Eve - cod and 80's music
- a male Indian version of Elaine from Seinfeld ringing in Christmas Eve with completely carefree (and even more completely, rhythm-free) joy
- passionate Italians and dispassionate Dutch
- Australian writing partners and American football partners
- Dutch pastries and red-light pasties
- house parties that always end up as living-room dance parties
- discovering new music from Laid Back Radio from Belgium to Novaplanet in France
- cafes in Amsterdam that are cooler and cozier than anywhere else
- culture and a sense of history that dwarfs North America
Such is the plight of the voluntary expat, so nothing above should be seen as a complaint nor a boast. The trick I suppose is to balance it all out, and find a way to soothe the soul when the corrosive explosions occur.