There is something special about friendships that begin in countries halfway across the world that makes them powerful beyond measure. It is so interesting to meet people with different viewpoints and lessons learned from their personal experiences. You learn so much, but mostly you learn so much about yourself.
When you are abroad people around you get to know you out of context – they don’t know your background. They don’t know that you went to Canada to meet Justin Bieber’s old teacher or that you need one glass of wine to get drunk or that you are playing violin or that you sometimes just say weird things that doesn’t make sense. When you’re abroad, whatever your stereotype is and however is defined you back home don’t hold any weight. The friends you meet and make while abroad know you in the context of “life”.
Friends you meet while abroad don’t judge you. Our au pair year was our YOLO year. I mean we all made more mistakes than we care to share. Whether the mistake was to take an 8 hour long bus trip to New York City in the middle of the night to meet a guy you just met on Tinder, because he was gorgeous. Or eating all your host kid’s candy and pretending it wasn’t you or inviting all your au pair friends to a date without telling the guy before. But it was all right, because we were in it together and we went through it together. In the end those are the stories that made it all fun. Some things we probably never would have done here at home.
A year ago when it all ended and slowly everyone was leaving we promised each other that we will meet again. So we did.
Last weekend, after a year most of the Rochester au pairs met again in Amsterdam. What a feeling. It is crazy that a year has past. It feels like the au pair life was just a dream so quickly it all passed. It was so good to see everyone. I was honestly a bit nervous. I didn’t know how it was going to be. We have all moved on from the au pair life – some got jobs, others started to study and some are traveling around the Europe. But when we got together it felt like we just saw each other yesterday – just with a lot more stories to share with each other.
Amsterdam is a very interesting city. It felt like we were in a bubble far, far away from the rest of the world.
We arrived on Friday. I was the first one who arrived at the airport. Used the chance to read and write my journal while I was waiting for Felix. When he arrived we had wine at the airport at 10 o’clock in the morning – never done that before LOL. But we have both been awake since two o’clock so it was okay J Shortly after Annika Jasmin’s friend arrived and before we knew it we were on our way to the hostel called Clink Nord. The hostel was really good, amazing breakfast, super cheep and very central. We could almost walk anywhere from there. Hours were passing by and everyone finally arrived. It was Jasmin’s birthday so we all went for dinner together. Jutta, my host family’s au pair before me was there as well. While we were waiting for the food we gave our host family a video call. Our host kids got so excited.
Jutta left three days after I arrived to USA and this was the first time we saw each other again. Two years later! I still can’t get over it! She was a huge help to me while I was in USA. Without her support I don’t know what I would have done. Even though it was only through Facebook, yet she was the only one who understood what I actually was talking about, because she went through some of the same things I was going through.
Anyway, that Friday night we went to bed pretty early, because everyone was very exhausted from traveling and also we wanted to be fresh and ready for Saturday.
Saturday was fun. Some of us went to the vintage sale shop and others explored the city. Afterwards we all met up for the alternative walking tour with the funniest tour guide.
He told us some very funny stories about Amsterdam. Did you know that people in Amsterdam throw 50.000 bikes a year in the canals? And since the canals are not that deep they have a special boat so they can take the bikes up again otherwise the boats can’t sail LOL
Also apparently everyone in Amsterdam steal bikes and that is very normal. Police doesn’t take it seriously when you report that your bike has been stolen. LOL. I have though never in my life seen so many bikes. In Denmark we do bike a lot, but in Amsterdam is crazy. I think I’ve had couple of near death experiences because of the bikes. LOL But some of them are very pretty and vintage. I have taken too many bike pictures.
Later that day we went for dinner and then we all went out to a karaoke bar. It was so much fun. Britney Spears, Aqua, Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, Gloria Gaynor and all the good old hits were on the menu. I sang so much that I lost my voice the day after. We were singing the whole night. And two hours later I was already on my way to the airport. It was a short and sweet weekend. It passed quickly but I think we all enjoyed every second of it.
We will see each other again in Hamburg next year in January and I am already looking forward to see everyone again. But before that I am going to Wiesbaden to celebrate Christmas with my dear Estelle and her lovely family. I am so so excited. Since I don’t celebrate Christmas her family invited me to celebrate Christmas with them. It is going to be so interesting to celebrate German Christmas.
That’s the best part of having friends all around the world. They turn a suspicious – looking name on the map into a place where a welcome can be found.
I love you all very much and thank you for an amazing weekend.
Estelle, Jasmin, Felix, Louisa, Jutta, Dorothea, Jonna, Maxi, Eva and Janna <3