Spring Has Arrived

Nothing was the same after my move to Park Slope, Brooklyn.  

My best friend Owyn, convinced me to move there - her childhood neighborhood - after college, and she taught me everything there was to know about the perks of living in Brooklyn...before it became public knowledge.  I knew just how lucky I was to have found a sanctuary in the madness of New York City, but I had no idea how that move, alone, would impact the rest of my life. 

Eight years spent in that neighborhood...small apartments, big apartments, 5 floor walk ups, in-home studios, lots of nice neighbors, strange neighbors, living with my best friends, living with my boyfriend, living with my boyfriend-turned husband, bringing a grey kitten home... and on and on it went, each year as amazing as the next.

My favorite memories of first moving to Park Slope in Brooklyn are from the Spring.  As soon as the first bud formed, Owyn suggested I buy my first city bike - a vintage white french bike to be exact (which sadly got stolen after a year) and we would ride to pizza spots, edges of Prospect Park I had never seen, her parents house for dinner.  I felt like a character from Now & Then, itching for the summer.  We would buy a bunch of plants and bring them home to our roommates, Maria + Ale, and we four would fill our home with home-cooked dinners, repotted plants, records spinning, and lots of new room layout considerations :)  It was a real family and some of the best friendships I've ever made.

I think of it fondly now as Spring approaches in Amsterdam.  I saw the first bud today on my run this morning and still, 8 years later, those are the feelings and memories that come back and make me smile.  
I find the biggest difference between Amsterdam city folk and Brooklyn city folk is how they handle the seasons and weather.  In New York City, the first sign of Spring brings people out of hiding, it becomes a completely different city.   Here, in Amsterdam, what impresses me most is that people don't hibernate!  Yes, our winters are much more mild here, but people are outside drinking beers most of winter, biking no matter what the forecast, and the park is always full.  I've realized, it's what I love most about this city.

It's been a year exactly since we took a trip here to see if we liked this city. Rollie had already applied to the Masters program here, and I was excited to see those famous canals.  Insane to think about that as I sit here on a Tuesday with my tea, in a favorite shop, making lists of groceries we need and projects brewing for Al Stampa.  What I've learned is life moves fast, and every decision counts. I grew up fast in Brooklyn, and it changed my outlook on new places, and making somewhere feel like home. I'd say this place for sure feels like home.

Happy almost full-on SPRING!

AmsterdamAlex Labriola