Around a year ago, I graduated University. This meant – supposedly – bidding farewell to the cosy bubble of education and plunging straight into the icy depths of the real world. Getting a J-O-B and putting those 16 years of education to some practical use. Around this time I also won a 4 month trip around the world, got a job secured for the winter in the Alps, and made the vague decision that one day I will live in the Netherlands, if only for a small amount of time.
And bloody hurrah, hurrah, it’s happened! Prompted by another weekend in the country’s capital and meeting some amazing Dutchies on my travels, my mind was made up, that flight to Amsterdam was booked and I was once more, one step further from jumping into those unwelcome waters of monotony.
Completely skint and deliriously happy, my first weekend in Amsterdam has been spent with my two chums riding about on strange bicycles, prancing around our new home, basking in the glory of the boat, settling in and looking for some kind of work.
The fact that I am living on a boat has been laughed at quite a lot by people I’ve discussed this with at home. But it’s not a fishing boat. Or a Canoe. Or a rowing boat. Or any other kind of inappropriately small and inhospitable boat. It’s a house boat, and probably better than any dingy flat – or nice flat for the matter – that is available in the city center.
This has been made possible through the tremendous efforts of my housemate, Celia, who has dedicated hours and hours trawling the internet to find us a wonderful place to live since she decided in our little Alpine village of Brevieres, that the UK just wasn’t going to cut it this summer. After copious amounts of emails, skype calls and effort, the contract was drawn and we secured our home until September. As the person who didn’t actually do all the graft, it’s now very easy for me to sit here and preach at how easy it was to make the move to Amsterdam, and how easy it was to find a place close to the city centre (a half hour walk, 15 minute cycle), that’s big and beautiful and fairly priced and everything that you would want from a place of your own in the Netherlands. It’s not that it was hard, it was just a lot of time and effort – which Celia is probably owed quite a lot for!
So it’s a year on. The all expenses paid travel (thanks, SPAR) has ended, my two jobs in France have been and gone and I am currently sitting in my room all aboard a beautiful houseboat in Amsterdam. That big scary ‘real world’ that I hear so much about hasn’t materialised as yet. The only logical reason? This is the real world. My question, as ever, is why does reality ever have to be a chore?