new job leads come good :: 1
work completed :: 10 copywriting jobs / 3 hours of teaching
homes applied for through Facebook:: 18
responses received :: 8
open letters written to Amsterdam :: 1
concrete responses to letter :: 1
viewings planned :: 2
hours of Dutch learning :: 0. As soon as I have my own place, I promise. Routine will reign supreme.
books being read :: 1. The How of Happiness, although not really.
physical exercise :: Shush. Stop asking. The place is key. The place.
metaphysical exercise :: The place.
routine adhesion :: 7%
consecutive days spent in Holland :: 9
money owed to Donald Trump :: none
week 22/52 overall rating :: 8/10.
I love this country. Holland, that is. I’m not living in Amsterdam yet, so I can’t say I love this city. This city is Almere. So actually, maybe I can say I love this city, but I wouldn’t want to live here. It’s a little bit quiet. I want to live in Amsterdam.
This city, however, this Almere, is quite the friendliest place I’ve ever been, bar none. It’s on a par with Farafenni in the Gambia, where I spent three months in 1998 – but in Farafenni I was pretty much the only white man, so I just imagined the attention I was getting was mostly down to that.
Here, wholly anonymous, you stroll down to the supermarket and sometimes it feels like you’re the subject of a practical joke, like some TV prankster has paid everyone to pretend they know you. It’s not just that they say hello, but that they say it with such startling sincerity and warm-heartedness that your brain feels confused because it doesn’t recognise these people who are pretending to be your friends.
I swear, it’s not just Almere though. Since the first day I arrived, every single person I’ve interacted with (bar one outstanding young grouch) has been smiling and charming and helpful and seemingly totally involved in the exchange. Therefore I can only conclude that this is the friendliest, most civilised country I’ve ever been to. And if I am exaggerating, I swear it isn’t intentional.
Having said all that, I do feel somewhat in limbo at the moment, and will continue to feel this way till I get a place of my own. I feel like I can’t properly relax until I know I’ll definitely be staying here for more than a couple of weeks.
All I know for sure at the moment is that – aside from a couple of viewings – I’ve got a place in Amsterdam, in the centre, for a week, from next Tuesday. Everything after that remains to be seen.
Which is fine, and kind of cool, but yes, slightly limbonic.
But we’ll see. Something will turn up, I am convinced.
Now, hands up who loves Bill O’Reilly.
Yeah, thought not, but please, if you have ten minutes, please watch the following three videos. They say an awful lot about Amsterdam, but a great deal more, sadly, about Bill O’Reilly and conservative politics the world over. But also, they’re fascinating.
Here, Bill O’Reilly on Amsterdam…[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLJ56BfPoSg]
Here, a citizen of Amsterdam responds…[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTPsFIsxM3w]
Here, O’Reilly’s counter-response – for he did respond in his typically bombastic, overblown, fact-free style – is further analysed in this video…[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpU0NxPhA78]
What I especially love about this second video is the total calm in the voice of the narrator. If I had put together something like this, I wouldn’t have been able to keep the snarl out of my voice. But just listen to how cool this guy is. He’s under extraordinary pressure to fly into a rage and fill the air with vicious words, but he’s as cool as somebody else’s cucumber.
Yes. I think the Dutch can teach me an awful lot.
Now, you have a good weekend. You hear?