Welcome back, happy 2007, everyone. I am returned. This was a nice trip. Amsterdam isn't one of my favorite trips, and I won't need to return, but I did enjoy it. Its relaxed charm eventually won me over.
My last night, I tried to go to sleep before midnight. It sort of worked, although I almost didn't get up on time, because my travel alarm is too quiet. The train station was quite crowded, possibly with people still up or who didn't have a place to sleep last night. I'm glad I wasn't one of them!
I got to the airport quickly and easily. I checked in quickly and easily. I flew Northwest, which is part of KLM, which is an Amsterdam-based airline. That means their check-in area is huge, stocked with many self-check-in kiosks, just like JetBlue in JFK. Very easy! Once I got to the gate, they had already started pre-boarding. More quick and easy! Good job, Amsterdam.
This time the plane ride wasn't as bad, thank goodness. Still uncomfortable, but not as much so. Maybe I was used to it? I'm not sure what made the difference. I watched three movies and tried to nap (unsuccessfully).
Surprisingly, the post-deplaning in Newark went quickly and easily too: in the span of half an hour, I got off the plane (I officially did not forget or lose anything on this trip, including myself. Hurrah!), got through customs (stamped Jan 01 2006--oops), picked up my suitcase (thank goodness I bought the new one with the extra expanding three inches, for all the souvenirs and gifts!), and got on the AirTrain. Wow!
Unfortunately, I suppose because it was a holiday, the NJ Transit was not running according to the schedules posted, so everyone had to wait for over half an hour for a train back to the city. Happily, the weather, though extremely foggy, was quite pleasant after the constant chill of Amsterdam, and needing hat, gloves and scarf at all times. At the Newark train platform, I was perfect in just a sweater. Still kind of warm, actually.
Boyfriend met me in Penn Station and accompanied me back to Queens, patiently listening to my weeklong backlog of chatter. It was so wonderful to have him there!
My apartment was just as cute as I left it, and naturally it was relieving and surreal to be back. I immediately began picture downloading and unpacking bags and sorting souvenirs and dirty laundry (all of it, especially since the smoke infiltrated everything I wore). We had a dinner of potatoes and edamame. What a relief not to have to shop for it right then, and how great that I didn't have to pay for it right then either!
I continued my organizing and tidying, which felt nice. Though I can be extremely messy and lazy, I do have enough of a compulsive streak to enjoy getting things put together and organized (thus my insane volunteering to fix the bookroom. Oh, and I have updated photos to share about that too). So it made me feel a lot better to get that taken care of. I have a big pile of souvenir postcards and things that I need to go through and enjoy.
Another decoration project I've been meaning to do lately is make a large collage of all the souvenir postcards that I have, which is a lot just from the past year. The problem now is where to put them, because I've gotten a good amount of walls covered. Perhaps more in the kitchen with the macro flower pictures.
I've got all my pictures on my computer, and they're all facing the right direction now, and I made Boyfriend look through them with me. They include a lot of random nothing pictures. Far too many canal photos. And as I was afraid, the cloud cover made many photos come out a little dark. Boo. For that reason, I relived the glory of seeing sunshine in my photos. At this moment, I am uploading all the photos on Snapfish. Then I will go through and select some nice ones to post and email.
Somehow I was not really tired yesterday afternoon. Once again, it seemed like an extremely long day, getting up before 7am and going to bed at 2am Amsterdam time (8pm in New York). I didn't think I'd make it even that long.
I already miss the accepted abundance of Nutella for breakfast and chocolate mousse in cups at the supermarket. I would really love both of those things every day of my life. Though I would certainly grow back out of my size 6/8. But who would care? Nutella and chocolate mousse!
Boy, isn't it the greatest thing to come home to your own bed? The hostel beds were quite comfortable, but my bed is the best. I squealed in delight and sighed with relief and pleasure.
I slept fairly well, and was awake by 5am. I figure I should go into school early, to put desks back and get back in teacher mode, and get ready to deal with the holiday children.
Either I've been getting sick or the smoke has been getting to me. My throat hurts and I'm congested. Uh oh. Wish me luck getting through today, with jet lag and travel brain and exciteable students and THE TEST IN NINE DAYS! God knows they won't let us forget that, though they WILL do things like take them on FIELD TRIPS in December and play music so loud in the cafeteria that the entire wing of classrooms shakes and constantly interrupt with announcements and assemblies and other such nonsense.
Blah. I feel like I should be rested now; I've been awake almost an hour, but I'm still a bit groggy.
I really have to go to school today? And then do chores like laundry and bathroom cleaning and floor sweeping? Ugh. I need a vacation.