Skip to main content

Uganda Update #3: Amsterdam

I have just my carry-on. My big bags are checked all the way to Entebbe despite a 23 hr layover, so I have squished a change of clothes into my purse. I have no euros. I speak no Dutch. but the tourist info lady tells me what bus I need to take (after I get into the city by train), and where I can find a cash machine.

An hour and a half later, I check into my hostel.

"Do you want an all-female room, or mixed?" they ask.

"It doesn't matter," I answer, remembering how very unsexy most of my Spanish hostel experiences were.

I lighten my load and head back to the city. I walk along a canal past the zoo, and consider a visit to the Dutch Resistance Museum. But I decide to pass: my main goal is the Ann Frank House, and I'm told to expect a long wait to get in.

I go to the Secret Annex. (If you have never read The Diary of Ann Frank, turn off your computing device, find it, and read.) The only reason I am not a pool of tears for my entire visit is that I am surrounded by crowds of other tourists, slowly pressing onward. There is little space to simply stand and be sad. But it is a beautiful thing that hundreds of people wait in line everyday to see this important piece of history. I honestly regret not purchasing a postcard with the images of her bedroom wall. It was only a euro, and I didn't want to wait in line. I wonder if they will have any like this at the airport.

It is strange to think that sixty-seven years ago, my Grampie was here. If not here precisely, than close by. Fighting. For people like Ann, Margot, Peter and the rest of them. Of the 8 in hiding, only 1 survived the war.

I leave and wander the streets, half-somber, half-happy. Four things stand out to me in Amsterdam:

1. The canals. It makes the city feel less urban.
2. The bicycles. It's true. They're everywhere.
3. The cafes. Everyone is sitting outside enjoying the afternoon.
4. The well-dressed men. Many, many well-dressed men.

By the time I get back to the hostel, I am ready for bed. But it's only six o'clock. And I need to eat. I find a grocery store, feeling strangely at home as I explore this Arabic neighbourhood. I eat my cheap-ish dinner, shower, and decide to read until I fall asleep.

I have just set myself up on my bunk when 2 of my roommates
wander in. My non-female, attractive-Aussie roommates. I am startled, having forgotten my conversation at check-in. A lovely Brazilian girl comes in shortly after, and we do a round of intros. I stay mostly hidden, with my wet hair and makeshift pajamas... They have all come for a pre-night-out nap. Do I want to join them at a club tonight?

I laugh. It is 8:30 pm and I can hardly keep my eyes open. At 9:15, when I put my book* down, they are all still napping.

In the morning, my alarm goes off at 6:30. I feel homesick for the Camino as I get dressed and re-pack on my bunk, in the dark. I climb down the ladder as carefully as possible, hoping not to disturb the sleeper below. I glance in to apologize if he seems awake, but he doesn't. He does, however, seem to find the room too hot for sheets, and I quickly look away, laughing to myself and wishing I had a travel buddy to roll my eyes with.

Back to the airport. Next stop, Entebbe (via Kigali)!

*Bridge to Terabithia - The first book I ever remember making me cry. I wanted to re-read it as an adult. Still love it. I have also already read Room on this trip, and am now working on The Help. My vacation reading habits are compelling me to seriously consider requesting an e-reader for Christmas.


kat said…
i enjoy that we both wrote about amsterdam on the same day. glad to hear you had a good stop-over!
Beth said…
true that! i thought of you several times as i wandered - it was a gorgeous sunny day, and i thought, "I wish Kat had gotten some sun when she was here!!"

Popular posts from this blog

What About Travis!?

I just watched Hope Floats, the second movie in my I-really-need-to-vegetate night. Now that we have more than three channels, there are so many quality programs on TV! Like movies in the middle of the week. I enjoyed many of the lines in this movie, including:

"I went home and told my mama you had a seizure in my mouth."
(referring to her first french-kissing experience)

"Dancing's just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."
(the conversation in our living room then went,
Girl 1: Only Harry Connick Jr. could say that line without it being incredibly cheezy.
Boy: Without it being cheezy? That's all I heard. Cheez, cheez, cheez.
Girl 2: Yeah, but it was sexy, sexy cheez...sigh.)
"Better do what she says, Travis. Grandma stuffs little dogs."

Bernice: At home we had a pet skunk. Mama used to call it Justin Matisse. Do you think that's just a coincidence? All day long she would scream, "You stink Justin Matisse!" Then one day she just…

Fostering FAQ: How Can You Say Goodbye?

It seems I finally have something(s) to say... Here's the first in a short (or maybe long?) series on Fostering FAQs. If you've got a question to add, feel free to comment/email/text/message me and maybe the next post will be in response.


8:30 am on Day 4 of parenting. I woke up in a panic two hours ago because I remembered that there is a baby and I am responsible for her (at least at 6:30am, when the man beside me will snore through anything). Now, I have put on clothes and eaten breakfast. The dogs are walked, there is a loaf of banana bread in the oven. My tea is steeping. Most importantly, Dream Baby is already down for her first nap.

Despite my morning efficiency, I'm already beginning to see that even with the happiest, most easygoing, and smiliest baby, like we somehow managed to be given, parenting is a grind. On Friday night, I couldn't join friends for $5 pints at a local joint. Instead, I blearily washed the same 8 bottles again, and then made another ba…

Fostering FAQ: How Long Will She Stay/Will You Adopt Her?

Our first foster baby came with about 18 hours notice; it was respite care, which means we had him for a few days while his regular foster family had a break/dealt with a family emergency. He stayed 3 nights, long enough to come to church and have a dozen people cooing over his little sleeping cheeks.  With each new visitor to our quiet corner, I explained again that he would be going back to his foster family the next day.

Barely a week later, we got a 9am phone call with a fostering request and by the same afternoon, we were snuggling her. This time, we had her for 4 days before church came around. Again, our community was keen to see the little one we had in tow. Again, the question, "How long will she stay?" And this time, "Are you going to adopt her?"


Here in Toronto, when a child is placed in foster care, it is always for an indefinite length of time. It depends on the parents' situation, and whether they are able to make a safe home environment for th…