NETHERLANDS JOURNEY: DAY TWO

Today’s Prayer to Passage continues within the ancient scriptures of the “Nag Hamadi”. This month’s spiritual devotion within these texts will be taking place between June 1 – June 30, 2017.

Today I pray, “Dear God, Today is day two of my transformational journey to the Netherlands. I will continue these writings as the evening arrives. Thank You for this journey. Amen.”

Following my prayer, I held the closed book in my hands and opened it to reveal this passage:

“[….] according to [….] the type of […] see him. It is fitting for you at this time to send thy Son Jesus Christ and anoint us so we might be able to trample upon the snakes and the heads of the scorpions and all the power of the Devil since he is a shepherd of the seed. Through him we have known thee. And we glorify thee : Glory be to thee, the Father in the Son, the Father in the Son, the Father in the Holy Church and in the holy angels! From now he abides forever in the perpetuity of the Aeons, forever until the untraceable Aeons of the Aeons. Amen.”
—NAG HAMADI SCRIPTURES

My flight arrived to Amsterdam at approximately 12:30 p.m. today, Netherlands time. As I exited the plane, I wished the Norway venturer well and gathered my carry on luggage. I walked straight to the baggage claim area and asked an attendant at the information kiosk to which port my luggage would be delivered, according to my flight number. This was my first official request for assistance with something, and as I wasn’t rudely reprimanded for asking for a little assistance, I quickly knew that requests for help would become a familiar travel partner of mine on this trip. The attendant guided me to the correct luggage port, and I glided on air to await the final step of getting myself over an ocean and into a blissful journey of discovery and evolving enlightenment. I saw my bag — it was the one with the yellow ribbon tied to the handle, purposefully done to aid me in quickly recognizing it. I grabbed the suitcase and rolled toward the exit.

As the sliding doors opened and I walked out into the warm sunlight, I immediately gravitated toward a plaza area where people were gathered in front of one of the newly iconic “I amsterdam” signs. I sat on a bench with pigeons all around me. A man on the bench was feeding the pigeons, and all I could do was smile and bask in the sunlight. I sat there, looking at tourists pose in front of the “I amsterdam” sign, listening to the squawks of Dutch pigeons, listening to the bustling life of travelers such as myself throughout the plaza. Ten minutes passed before I pulled out my phone and called my hotel. The concierge answered, and I asked if they provided a taxi service. They did not, which I recalled having read online at the time of booking the hotel. I was just being super-checklisty with my transport options, $74 to the airport from my house was a bit pricey for me, though worth it.

I rolled my luggage over to the line of people awaiting the airport taxi service. When my turn arrived, I hopped into the cab and said my first official American greeting to a Dutchman. I handed him a little aqua-blue recipe card upon which I had written the address of my hotel. He found that helpful, and made his way from the airport to my home-away-from-home for the next nine days. We chatted for a bit as he drove. He recommended that I rent a bicycle at some point, as the bicycling culture is beyond prominent here. My cab fare was €56, which is comparable to the United States fare. It has simply become an investment in assuring a safe and timely arrival to and from the airports. And one of the only times I will find myself wincing a bit about money on this entire trip.

I bid a farewell to the taxi-driving Dutchman who was so friendly and comforting to me. And I walked into the lobby of my hotel. Check-in was simple. The concierge was kind. He was expecting me, and greeted me my by first name, as we had just spoken on the phone approximately 45 minutes prior to my arrival. My key card allowed me to access the elevator, and I took the elevator up to the third floor. My key card needed to be recalibrated, as I could not get into my room, so I rode the elevator back down to the lobby with all of my luggage in tow. A sweet American giggle had me explaining to the concierge that my card was not opening my room door. A new room key accompanied a quiet gentleman hotel employee as we rode the elevator back up to the third floor. I was finally “home”.

My appetite returned. Once I unzipped my suitcase and carry on luggage, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then, joy. I pounced atop my bed and literally jumped up and down. Yes, I found myself jumping on my bed. It really was one of those moments in life. My appetite for life returned. I was hungry for it all. Andventure, mystery, exploration, games, and food! I hadn’t eaten in 33 hours. My last meal was at 6:30 a.m. In the United States, prior to calling the taxi to travel to the airport. I needed food. I freshened up and left my hotel to venture the local neighborhood.

My hotel is in the De Pijp neighborhood of Amsterdam, on the Southeast side of the City Center. I walked toward the popular Albert Cuyp Market street, just one block from my hotel. I walked down the market street until I saw a restaurant. It was De Pizzabakkers. I stopped in and asked for a table. I was guided by a glisteningly beautiful Dutchman to my table for two, which, of course, was really a table for one. I ordered a Margarita pizza and a bottle of sparkling water. And for the first time in 33 hours… food, glorious food. Yes, I flew over an ocean to enjoy the very staple we Americans so often indulge in back home. Pizza. But this was Dutch pizza, or so I called it. It was different. Better. Yum.

As tempting as it was to ask the glistening Dutchman for his phone number and a date, I denied my inclinations, aspecting toward the theme of this trip: Individuality. Independence. Liberation. I paid my bill and exited the perfect little restaurant that hosted my first Dutch meal. I ventured back to my hotel. I turned on the TV and watched Netherlands news programs before the exhaustion of all-day travel finally settled in. Put on my pajamas and snuggled into bed. It was the most cozy and empowering feeling, to have made it here all on my own. I couldn’t be happier. I’ve truly made it. Good night. Sweet dreams. Until tomorrow.

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