This is my first blog post in more than eighteen months. My silence has something to do with the death of my father at the beginning of 2013, I think. As I watched him struggling to hang on to life for six months, words failed me. After he died there was so much stuff to catch up on practically - money to earn in particular - that I didn't have time. And I felt sullen and let down by life; difficult emotions to write about.
This weekend I made a trip back to Amsterdam for the first time in something like three years. I hadn't set foot in the place since before my father died and I hadn't wanted to. When I left four years ago (four years yesterday) it felt like the great escape. Hemmed in, I so badly needed to leave, but I wasn't really sure why.
This last weekend was a sunny one, the city felt meditteranean and Dutch brashness actually felt rather refreshing after dealing with taciturn Berliners on a daily basis. No-one minds in Amsterdam if you forget something near the entrance to the supermarket and go back to get it, travelling against the flow. Or at least, they don't mind because it's a matter of principle to mind. It is possible to cross at the traffic lights on red if there is no-one there without being looked at as if you're an axe murderer. I noticed little details about the way Amsterdam does things as if I were there for the first time; sinks in public toilets only have cold water, the bread is dreadful but the cheese is fantastic, verse jus is expensive but delicious and... men in suits on bikes are actually quite sexy.
I'm sure that if I'd stayed a whole week the downsides would have come back to me, but I didn't, so they didn't. I could reach a hand out to an old me and say 'it's all right' even if I still don't know what 'it' is, exactly. London is probably the only place I've left where I haven't felt this need to burn bridges. It's the same with my home town, I've only been back once or twice in twenty years. Maybe it's a sign of having stayed somewhere too long, maybe it's a sign of having made to many mistakes there, or that a place is too small to lose myself in - with London I always felt safe in its vastness, its anonymity.
Whatever the reason, I feel like I made peace with a part of myself, that I stopped being angry about something there's no point in being angry about anymore. After all, what's the point in being angry with a place?