The courtyard, at sunset

I’m starting to feel the first pangs of homesickness. It’s not surprising or worth shedding tears over, just something to acknowledge. There are good times here, and then times when things are harder than they should be, you feel, and you wonder why you’re even here trying this. But that can be applied to almost anything good in life, so I feel at peace about it. Usually.

To make myself feel better, I’ve been looking for some cozy Amsterdam blogs. I have a few from Portland that I love to read–lovely words and beautiful pictures that showcase a snippet of what makes this place great. I finally found one from Amsterdam, from Pia Jane Bijkerk. And wouldn’t you know it, she wrote a book called Handmade in Amsterdam.  And in one of life’s lovely twists, my friend here owns that book, and I’ve leafed through it several times thinking, “This is lovely.” Her blog is full of that same loveliness, and her ethereal, sunny photographs are absolutely gorgeous. I’ve read through all her Amsterdam posts, and it’s reminded me why I want to be here.

Photo via Pia Jane Bijkerk

You could call it odd that with an entire city out my doorstep, I take inspiration from a blog, but that’s just the way it goes with inspiration. Sometimes I need someone else to point me in the right direction, divert my eye away from the dog droppings and chaos of the streets and into the little alleys and warm cafes, and to peek behind those lacy white curtains on the canal houses. Sometimes I need someone else to remind me what I want to do, and why I want to be here.

It looks like Pia has just moved back to her native city, so I’m still on the lookout for a real-time blog to keep showing me those lovely city corners. In the meantime, I’ll continue leafing through her old posts. And maybe when the rain and melancholy have passed, I’ll peek out and explore myself.