Two weeks ago today, my parents arrived for their first visit to Amsterdam. They are the first of our family to visit (not counting my wife’s cousin (and his SO), who moved here in February and stayed with us for a few weeks until they found their own place), so I was excited to show them around.
We had a packed itinerary, so we got busy right away. I took them to the Bloemenmarkt, the Anne Frank Huis, Museumplein, De Jordaan, De Pijp, Zaanse Schans, Dam Square, and many others. Then, last Saturday, we all hopped on a plane and went to Rome. It was Roxy and my second trip to Rome, having spent a few days there on our honeymoon back in 2007. We were excited to see the city again, and to know our way around.
From Rome, we took a day trip to Florence, which was beautiful. Rome is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Florence was much more similar to Amsterdam. It’s a big small city. You see lots of bikes being used (and not as many scooters as in Rome), it’s a fairly clean city, and it has beautiful architecture. I’ll post pictures in a later blog entry, since I have several hundred to sort through. Those of you who I’m friends with on Facebook can see some of the pictures there.
After Rome, my parents came back to Amsterdam for 1 more day, and we spent it at Keukenhof, which is a large tulip garden near Leiden. That will get its own blog entry as well. We finished the day with some birthday shopping for me (since my birthday is in a few weeks), and then dinner at a nice little place in De Jordaan.
Saying Goodbye was difficult as always. I had hoped it would be easier this time, since this is the 3rd time we’ve had to do it since moving. I was wrong. We hugged and said goodbye at a bus-stop, and then all hopped onto bus 22. As we got to the stop for their B&B, we waved goodbye, and they got off. I feel bad that I didn’t go see them off from the airport this morning, but they had an early flight. Couple that with today’s change to European Summer Time, and I would be leaving home at essentially 4:15am.
In our previous goodbyes, we always had something to look forward to. When we first moved back in August, we knew we were coming back in October to get our dog. After that trip, we knew my parents were visiting this Spring. With this goodbye, there is nothing imminent to look forward to. We probably won’t be back in the US until next year at the earliest, and it will probably be a few years until they come back to Europe.
This is the part of being an expat that is hard. Missing out on family gatherings, playing cards, going to baseball games, watching my niece (and God-Daughter) grow up. Skype and Facebook make it easier, but it’s not the same. I think today, I’ll throw on my birthday gifts (a new pair of shoes from Sketchers, and a Hugo Boss zip-up sweatshirt from De Bijenkorf) and remember the good times.