My first day in Amsterdam could also be described as…an adventure. It started off with me panicking because my seatmate from Paris to Amsterdam was a random man, and let’s just say that I have severe trust issues with men. (Look, I’m small, Asian, and a woman. Not exactly the best combination.) Luckily, he turned out to be a friendly American from Philadelphia who’s cavorting across Europe for vacation—but he’s 26, and a real adult with a real job, unlike me. Talking to him was a lot better than suffering through an otherwise long, boring, 3.5-hour train ride, and he thought that I was actually 22…that’s a first. He taught me a self-defense move (which I failed miserably because I am not an aggressive person), got salty about white people with me, and shared a piece of chocolate and half a caramel, although the real gem was when he said, “Honestly, if you think about it, men are useless.” (I…do not remember his name. Sorry, guy, but know that I appreciated you.)
Once we reached Amsterdam, he called me sweet, which I guess I’ll accept, and then he saved me from the struggle of having to tug my suitcase down from the overhead shelf. We went our separate ways at the train station, and after I checked in at my hostel, I had my finest moment in Europe: walking straight into a glass door. Luckily, no one witnessed my human failure, but in my defense, the door doesn’t really look like a door. Look at it. Doesn’t the conniving little thing look like it wants to trick unsuspecting humans?
The other three girls in my room are incredibly friendly Malaysians, and after meeting them, I wandered off to the Museum District to meet a fellow assistant, N. We satiated our ethnic food cravings at a Thai restaurant, and then meandered through the city at night, wondering why everything was closed at 7pm. The heteronormative mass marketing of Valentine’s Day, perhaps? Right, speaking of Valentine’s Day, N and I received one hell of an Amsterdam welcome: we were waiting for the light to turn green at a crosswalk, and we unfortunately had a perfect view of a second-story room, where the inhabitants had failed to close the blinds and we were stuck bearing witness to a guy’s naked butt and a couple having sex.
Anyways, I walked about 40 minutes back to my hostel, and strangely, I felt perfectly fine being outside on my own at night. Normally, I get a bit paranoid walking in the dark, but something about Amsterdam made me feel safe (no, it’s not the pot). Is this what it’s like to be a man?
Once I’d taken the ferry to the other side of the river, I ran into a girl who told me that the gate to the hostel was closed, so we had to walk in a circle to find another bridge. We started chatting, and it turns out she’s from the north of France and doing the French equivalent of TAPIF, in a small town outside of Leeds. Funnily enough, she’s traveling solo too because she wanted to get out of her tiny town—small world. Unfortunately, I didn’t get her name, but she loved my American accent—in English and in French—which I found hilariously endearing.
The reason I say I failed adulthood is not only because I walked smack into a door, but also because I somehow managed to leave my iPhone plug in Laon. Luckily, the hostel loaned me one in exchange for my passport, but this is why I shouldn’t be allowed to adult.