An Expats Story in Amsterdam

I lived in Amsterdam for more than two years and was able to live the full gamut of the expat life. There were times I thought my run in the city had come to its natural end, but I used one travel rule to keep that dream alive: I wouldn’t go home with my tail between my legs defeated. That was my way, if things were bad I’d have to find a way to fix them and not just leave.

At first, I did what all people in Amsterdam do. I smoked lots of pot with my array of Dutch and expat friends. I’m not going to lie it was a lot of fun. The job I got at first was through a temporary agency that sent me out to wash dishes at lunch time at different ABM Ambro office buildings. In actuality it was a nice way to make money. The minimum wage in Amsterdam was high and the responsibility of the position low. At night time, I’d go down to the Museumplein to the outdoor Basketball courts and play. Great times and I made a lot of friends doing that.

Where things got a little sour was when one day, I argued with one of the mangers at the ABM Ambro kitchen and was sent on my way as a dishwasher. At that time, I was staying in a nice little apartment that I subleted, but that was coming to an end as well. Really it would seem that destiny had conspired against me and that my time in Amsterdam would be coming to an end. I decided that I could get free accommodations staying in London with my best friend. I had what I remember to be one of my favourite Christmases then I went back, with no job and no place to live…

Could have been the end, but it wasn’t. I found another temp agency that got me a job for awhile sorting clothes at the Tommy Hilfinger warehouse on the outskirts of town. I literally jumped from hostel to hostel looking for the cheapest I could find. Nothing was going for me till the Travel gods smiled down and it all just changed like that…

A friend of mine called me saying she was going to South America and would I like to sublet her room for two months. For the same cost I went from staying in a really sketchy hostel in an 8 bed dorm near the Red Light District to a huge room with grand high ceilings. At the same time a correspondence I had started a few months back for a job from an expat web site started coming together. They were asking for English writers.

In classic Dutch style, I was interviewed and without even providing a resume or references hired. From being a dishwasher I would be working as a copy writer at one of the cities preeminent advertising agencies. All I can say about it all is, never give up when you’re abroad with perseverance it will turn around. Don’t be that person that runs for the hills the first sign of trouble.


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