Thursday, July 29, 2010

Crime? What Crime?

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." 
                                                                                              —Fitzhugh Mullan
I’ve done the deed. It’s over, fini! There was no violence this time, no visible bloodshed. That came in earlier chapters of My ’Dam Affair, Confessions of a Second Childhood, played out in that insane summer of 2008 when I romped around Europe with a charismatic con man, chasing fantasies of apartments, French villas and rich uncles. That manuscript is resting comfortably on my hard drive (and various other drives) but needs a rewrite with a new point of view.

Great Room
Unlike Raskolnikov, I have no mental angst about this deed. It’s the deed for a 2-bedroom apartment on Groenmarktkade, a street in Amsterdam overlooking Nassaukade Canal in the historic Jordaan, where Rozengracht and Marnixstraat intersect.

Roof Terrace
The Anne Frank House, A’dam’s most popular tourist attraction, is 4 blocks away on Prinsengracht canal. It’s 1K (about half a mile) to both Dam Square & Leidseplein, A’dam’s entertainment hubs. De Wallen, the city’s infamous Red Light District is across from the Dam.

View of Nassaukade Canal
and Rozengracht
The apartment is in a complex built in 1994. It has an elevator and a bike shed. It’s on the 5th and top floor, overlooking the canal and city below. I take ownership on Sept. 1 and will rent it out for the winter until I return next spring.

Entry Hall
Of course, this is a dream come true for me—one that began in 2007 when a visit to Amsterdam sparked my desire to move here. Certainly, there have been hurdles along the way. After all, emptying a 3-bedroom home crammed with belongings is no cakewalk. And “melba toasting” faux-painted, stenciled walls for renters is not fun. Thankfully, my tenants from NY have been there since 2008 and are happy, far as I know, to have escaped East Coast winters. Best clue: I see their Audi convertible parked in the Clay St. driveway whenever I ride by.

Dining Area
Other hitches included a medical catastrophe (now resolved) and (unrelated) social media/cultural differences-related A’dam drama that got me banned from my favorite bar. Returning earlier than planned from that 2008 misadventure, I broke my arm tripping over a suitcase, then got my heart broken.

The day after returning from Europe last spring, I totaled my RAV4, made the GR8 COPY license plate a wall decoration and vowed to move to A’dam for good. Again, romance got in the way. All these hurdles have taught me an important lesson: S*#% happens. Deal with it.

I return to SoCal Sept. 6. I’ll use the next 6 months to wrap things up in Sunset Beach before returning to Amsterdam in spring 2011.

Master Bedroom
Master Bath
This is good news for you. My new apartment has a guest bedroom and I love hosting guests. Nice combination if you’re a good friend who likes to travel and wants to visit a world-class European destination.

If you’re still wondering why I fell in love with Amsterdam, I hope you’ll tune in to my new channel on YouTube. Another video is too long to post on that site, but can be viewed from THIS site. If you like Alice in Wonderland, this one’s for you. It’s about 14 min. long, so settle in with a koffie before scrolling down and make sure your speakers are turned on before clicking play. View full screen for the best experience—nicer than a tiny moving box.

Me and Marlene, 2008
I hope all of you will have the courage to follow your own dreams wherever they might lead, even if they feel impossible, uncomfortable and obstacles get in the way. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from exploring paths leading to new experiences. It’s all worth it in the end. Trust me.

If you don't trust me, trust Frank Herbert, author of sci-fi favorite DUNE:
"Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken."


  1. Congratulations Melissa! Your new apartment is absolutely gorgeous.

  2. Your apartment looks fabulous! Very exciting-- good to see someone else going after something that has taken hold of them... And that was a (darkly) impressive list of obstacles that sprang up in front of you. Glad to see that you pushed through them, it would have been easy to get bogged down and discouraged. Good luck!