In July 2008, I spent eight hours in Amsterdam during a layover. I was charmed by the city. But I didn’t think too much of it. At the time, I was just becoming somewhat adjusted to living in New York, with no interest in making any moves in the near future.
In September 2008, I had a reading with a psychic who asked me quite nonchalantly why I would be looking for a relationship with a boy when I hadn’t yet figured out where I wanted to live – or what my career would be. Sadly, at the time, I thought I had figured out those things, at least mostly. Her words were pretty jarring. She told me to “consider the world as an option.” That’s all it took to start the wheels turning. What about Amsterdam? Could I live there?
In January 2009, I attended a week-long professional development course for nonprofit middle managers, where I met some introspective smarties. While learning some lessons that would help me in my day to day job responsibilities, I began to question critically what my path could look like beyond the short-term. In conversation with a fellow nonprofit middle manager, I said something along the lines of, “I don’t really enjoy living in NY. I wish I could move somewhere like Amsterdam.” To which she responded, “yeah, it’s hard to make that kind of international move – unless you’re going to school.” The wheels were already turning. But she revealed the road.
Later in January 2009, I was on vacation with two college friends, one of whom we were visiting in Jamaica. In relaxed, supportive friend mode, I articulated the idea that had been brewing and was finally becoming clear. What if I applied to a grad school program in Amsterdam? What if I moved to Amsterdam? What if I stayed in Amsterdam? As crazy as I thought it seemed, my nomad-spirited friends were all for it. That encouragement was all I needed.
In April 2010, I was admitted to a Master’s program at the University of Amsterdam, committing me to at least a year and a half there. I make the move in January 2011.
A visit, a question, an idea, and a conversation. And so it begins.