As I strolled down the streets of Amsterdam, I admired the strange beauty in front of me. The rain poured down violently, creating spectacular sapphire ripples cascading down the winding canals. Charming brick buildings with intricate facades lined these quaint waterways, coloring the streets with rustic reds, browns and navy blues. The fervent raindrops bounced off of the many bicycles adorning the sidewalks, which lined up against every inch of free space along the canal railings. Locals and tourists streamed in and out of enticing cafes, while others trudged on through the storm - dodging the puddles and hurried bikers.
I looked upon the city in awe. After years of listening to my family talk about the beauty of Holland - the homeland of us Likkel's - I finally made it here. Something about Amsterdam felt strangely nostalgic and familiar, as if I had already been there before. The small restaurants reminded me of my grandparents' house, filled with authentic Dutch antiques and Delft porcelain. The quaint Dutch restaurants even emanated a similar scent as my grandparents' kitchen, like warm peach pie, freshly steamed vegetables and buttery Dutch Babies (a savory baked pancake dish that my mom used to frequently make me when I was a kid. Delicious!)
We spent the weekend roaming the curving cobblestone streets and mesmerizing canals, lounging in coffee shops, and wandering through the Van Gogh museum. While strolling through the streets of Amsterdam, I could hardly stop gazing at the charming canals and intriguing houses. I wished I could go in and visit whoever lived there, just so I could see if the buildings were just as fascinating inside as they were outside. Their unusual shapes and colors of vibrant simplicity left me awestruck.
As soon as I left the city, I was overwhelmed with a heart-wrenching feeling of homesickness. I had only just begun to discover my heritage, and it was already time to say goodbye. My flight was delayed several hours, and I sulked through the airport desperately wishing I could stay longer and explore more of the country. I want to stay for weeks and learn more about my roots, meet distant family in Hardenburg, and experience more of the welcoming Dutch culture. Amsterdam, I am counting down the days until I get to see you next.