September, 2012

  1. I, Ij, Eye

    September 30, 2012 by Emma

    The flea market was half outdoors and half in this fabulous old warehouse space!

    I went to the most amazing flea market last weekend! It was called Ij-Hallen and it only happens every few months. It’s a ferry ride away from Central Station, across the Ij, and the crowds getting there were insane. I completely understood the hype when I got there though, as there were 500 stalls of people selling both their old stuff for cheap as well as tons of great vintage and antiques. My poor friend that I dragged along with me, I don’t think she has quite the stamina for digging through piles of stuff as I do! I didn’t get anything particularly wearable, but I did find an amazing vintage Dutch theater costume for 10 euros. The people who sold it to me were the most charming elderly couple– they told me that the outfit had been in their family for years and they were glad it was going to someone who appreciated it so much! I got a couple of little gifts for friends and family back home too. I think my suitcase back home for Christmas is going to be exclusively gifts and delicious Dutch cookies!

    After our endless day of shopping, we went out to dinner at Wagamamas. Apparently it’s a chain, but it was so delicious that I don’t care! Yes, I’m that girl. While I’m hopelessly in love with my Starbucks, I still want to support the little guys first! But I’m sure I’ll be going back to Wagamamas– they even had a separate gluten-free menu, which makes my life so much easier.

    The crowds were insane, but it was totally worth it!

    This is one of the dresses I got at Primark a couple of weeks ago! I just fell in love with the butterfly and flower print. I never used to think I was much of a print person, but lately I’ve been all about the florals. I wore this to class the other day, and I must admit that I got a couple of funny looks. It didn’t help that the heels made quite a bit of noise as I walked down the hallway. I don’t normally wear shoes with any sort of height to them as I’m already rather tall, but I figured I can get away with it now that I’m in the land of the tall people! I do quite like being the most dressed up person everywhere I go, though, and if that means towering over my classmates, so be it!

    On Sunday, I had a photoshoot with a Dutch photographer. This was my second one while in Amsterdam and it was so much fun! My instructions for clothing was “Three times feminine!” Once again, a bit of a language barrier, but feminine is right up my alley. It was just a trade shoot, my time for portfolio work and experience, but I really enjoy spending time in front of the camera. It was quite the adventure getting to the shoot location, though, because it seemed as though every street in the city was closed off for a bicycle race.  I think we got some really great shots, though, I’ll be sure to share them with you when I get them!

  2. Time for Tea

    September 23, 2012 by Emma

    I took the train to Zaandam with the greatest of intentions the other day– I had heard it was an interesting city and it housed a museum that I was very interested in, the house of Czaar Peter when he lived in the Netherlands. While this is rather a niche museum, I’ve always loved both house museums and Russian history, so I was terribly excited to visit it. It took me ages to find the museum, and when I finally found it tucked between businesses I couldn’t figure out how to get in. After practically breaking down the gate, as I thought it was merely stuck, I noticed a little sign on the window that said “We regret that the museum is closed for circumstances.” What?! What is “circumstances?” I couldn’t help but laugh and I’ve decided that this is going to be next excuse when I show up late to class. Why were you late? Oh, you know…. “Circumstances”

    It was not a total failure, I did get to drink a delicious cup of tea and get quite a bit of shopping in! Apparently, Zaandam houses the nearest Primark to Amsterdam and everyone takes the train to Zaandam just to go shopping there. It is located directly across from the train station and practically everyone on the train trip home was carrying a Primark shopping bag, including me! I must admit, I probably spent to much, but everything was so lovely and cheap. I got the most lovely dress and shoes that I’m sure will pop up on the blog sooner or later…

    I’ve been reading Wuthering Heights for one of my classes and it’s been putting me in quite the British mood. My tweedy blazer reminded me of a proper English gentleman (which, admittedly, Heathcliff is not) and I love the floral pattern on this dress. It’s even got little birds hidden in with the vines!

    I wandered to a little street near my house to take these pictures in mid-morning, as I didn’t think anyone would be out and about to gawk at me. Little did I know that it was dog-walking time… I finally decided to just go for it, when this elderly gentleman stepped out of his front door (which just happened to be the house I was taking pictures in front of) with his scruffy little dog. At this point, I figured I was too far into it to back out so I proceeded to stand in front of my camera and awkwardly smile while he stared. He ended up asking me if I was taking pictures for my portfolio, which was terribly flattering, and I said no, that I was writing a blog about my time in Amsterdam. He shot me a quizzical look and asked if the best part of Amsterdam I’ve seen so far has been his wall! I don’t think the concept of a blog translates that well through both language and age barriers…

  3. When it Rains, it Pours

    September 17, 2012 by Emma

    Well, the weather has certainly taken a turn for the worse. I still haven’t mastered the art of biking everywhere and still looking presentable when you get to your destination! Today was one of those days when it seemed pointless to even do my hair, as when I arrived in town I resembled a wet rat.

    I was planning on wandering around for a bit today, getting lost and hopefully finding some charming corner of Amsterdam that I haven’t stumbled upon yet, but I was so cold and wet when I finally made it to the center of town, that I decided instead to pay a visit to the Royal Palace, something I had been wanting to do for a while. It’s only open for certain periods, as the royal family still uses it from time to time.

    The bag I brought with me was apparently far too large to be allowed in, not to mention the fact that I was carrying a sopping wet umbrella and rain jacket. The security guards kept sending me back to the coat room to check more of my things– they sent me back three times before they finally allowed me in! Honestly, they may just have thought it was funny… The only artifacts that were not bolted down or behind glass were some dining chairs, so I don’t really see what I could possibly steal and hide in my purse. Alas, I was forced to walk around the palace with a little ziploc baggie holding my keys and wallet. Not exactly the most stylish look, or the most inconspicuous, as the plastic made a considerable amount of noise every time I moved. I was branded as a tourist, the one thing I’ve been trying so desperately to avoid!

    Anyways, The palace itself was absolutely lovely! It was nice to get a sense of the Dutch royalty, as that isn’t something I know much about and it doesn’t seem to be covered in any of the other museums in Amsterdam. And of course, the decor was as gorgeous and opulent as one would expect. I was particularly fond of the sculptures and paintings that adorned the ceilings.

  4. What’s Orange, and Red, and covered in Dots

    September 9, 2012 by Emma

    This past Friday I went to a football match (European football of course!) with my study abroad program. I’m a huge soccer fan, having played from age 5 through high school, so I was more than thrilled to be going! It was a World Cup qualifier between Holland and Turkey.

    Honestly, the metro ride to the stadium was one of the more terrifying experiences of my life. The atmosphere was so charged that I wouldn’t have been surprised if a riot broke out. My friend and I were packed like sardines in the subway car, surrounded on one side by a solid mass of orange (the Dutch) and on the other, red (the Turkish). Because there is such a large Turkish population in the Netherlands, this was a particularly popular game and the Dutch never seem to miss out on the chance to get drunk and watch football! Over the course of our 30 minute journey, we probably heard 10 different songs in support of the Dutch team and the metro driver requested over loud speaker that we please refrain from stomping as the car was shaking quite a bit. I couldn’t help but notice the considerable police presence as we exited the station…

    After that introduction, I could only imagine what it would be like in the stadium! The stands were full of orange and the raucous singing and stomping that had begun on the metro only got louder and, impossibly, more enthusiastic. There were fireworks and smoke whenever a goal was scored, which didn’t seem particularly legal, but nevertheless made for an interesting experience! The match was terribly tense, with Netherlands finally winning 2-0, scoring it’s last goal within minutes of the final whistle.

    This wasn’t what I wore to the match, obviously, but rather what I wore to wander around the shops in (and drink copious amounts of coffee in!) earlier in the day. I love how European women wear lipstick on a more everyday basis, and I couldn’t help but try it out myself. I absolutely love this shade of red– it’s from Kate Moss’s line for Rimmel. It makes me feel like such a lady, even if the rest of my ensemble is a bit more 90’s grunge.


  5. Fields and Fleas

    September 8, 2012 by Emma

    One of the things I love most about the Netherlands so far are the many flea markets I’ve been frequenting! There’s a great one near my apartment that sells mostly textiles (including the most amazing Indian sari fabric) and local produce. There was also this stall full of nuts and dried fruit– I must admit I got a bit carried away!

    On my way home from the market, I stumbled across this great big abandoned church surrounded by a field. I was so surprised that there would be so much unused space in the middle of a fairly dense urban area, but I can’t complain. I’d love to explore the church more if I ever get the chance… Once again, I got an audience for my picture taking, but I’m getting used to it :)