What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Blogging

Something funny has happened both times I’ve moved abroad: I become way more active online, especially with social media. Partly it has to do with the fact that I’m visiting a lot of really cool places that I want to share. But even more than that, it’s for myself… it is the easiest way to feel like I’m still connected to everyone at home. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook which is 90% hate and 10% appreciation for Facebook Messenger because that is how I often communicate overseas. Social media makes me feel like I’m still keeping in touch with people, even when I barely am. It makes me feel involved, even when I’m a billion miles away.

Blogging does too, but it takes more time and thoughtfulness, and recently, I’ve been taking that time and doing other things with it. I’ve been going on more micro-adventures and meeting new people……..and watching a lot of Game of Thrones……. (I started it two weeks ago and I’m on season 5, so.) Not blogging felt good for a few weeks. And now blogging feels good again.

So, I’ll catch you up on some of the things I’ve been doing lately instead of blogging:

– I went to the Amsterdam Coffee Festival and drank 11 coffees and had the BEST TIME EVER

– I went to the Rollende Keukens Food Truck Festival and ate 3 fried crickets among other things




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– I went to the Food Truck Trek festival in Utrecht (do you see a trend here?) and ate a lot of things and realized how much better America is at fried chicken and Mexican food than Europe but how much better Europe is at festivals

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– Had my first beach day of 2015 (!!!!!!) at Zandvoort with much prosecco and tapas and no swimming cuz it’s still too cold


– My friend Kate and I went to the Body Worlds exhibition and it was strange and beautiful. The whole exhibition is real corpses and body parts used to teach about the human body– but many of them are presented in an artistic way. The theme was “The Pursuit of Happiness” and our bodies’ cause/effect relationship with happiness. At the end, everyone was encouraged to pick a card and follow the instructions for happiness. This was mine:


– I volunteer bartended at my favorite little storytelling place in Amsterdam, Mezrab.

– I went to the Game of Thrones Exhibition and sat on the Iron Throne and did this crazy 4D simulation of going up The Wall and getting shot down and I pledged House Lannister and bought a Lannister coffee cup like the evil blonde that I am

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– I brunched at G’s A Really Nice Place which is supposed to be one of the best brunch places in Amsterdam, but it was only OK. I got egg’s benedict and a bloody mary and they were both mediocre (and super expensive) compared to American brunch. One more thing I’m looking forward to in the good ole USA. Ideally I will get right off the plane onto American soil and be handed a bloody mary. Friends, who can make that happen? Discuss.

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– I went to a great English Literary Festival event about “The Book That Saved My Life,” and picked up a copy of the novel by keynote speaker, Eleanor Catton, called The Luminaries, which I can’t wait to read! I love events like that because I always leave feeling super inspired and grateful that, although I’m unsure of most things, I am sure that I want to write forever


– My friend Holly and I went to OT301, which used to be a squat but is now referred to as an “alternative cultural space,” for ping-pong night and it was so funny and Holly and I were so terrible at ping-pong. It was literally a 20-person (sometimes more in the beginning) game of ping-pong in which everyone just circled the table and hit the ball when you made it to the 2 ends. Both times Holly and I got out our first turn, so we spent most of our time there drinking beer and wine under the disco ball and watching other people play ping-pong. Some people were extremely serious.

– My future roommates and I were approved for the house we really, really wanted in Richmond! I love Amsterdam and Europe, but I’m also very ready to be back in that sweet southern river city with my best friends. My favorite part of our new house (whose exterior brick is painted entirely turquoise, btw) is that we have a backyard! A rare luxury in the city. I can’t wait for all the BBQs.

– On the au pair front, I took the kids to a local carnival and we bought a bag of cotton candy that was literally almost as big as them. And this week, all over Holland there is this tradition that Monday-Thursday nights all of the kids walk a 5k or 10k every night, depending on how old they are. So, the 7 year old is doing a 5k every night and the 9 year old is doing a 10k. I decided to do the 5k yesterday and it was funny and disorganized. Also, part of the tradition is that they all make this…. orange snack (?) where they cut an orange in half, place 3 peppermint candies on the orange and then wrap the whole thing in a thin cloth and then like… eat it (suck it?) through the cloth. I don’t know. It is weird and I’ve made a point to tell everyone how weird I think it is.

– I’ve also been reading and loving a lot of Joan Didion lately, and photographing as many sidewalk flower pots as I can because I can’t get enough of them and they are everywhere in this city!


SO, that is a little bit of what I’ve been up to in the past two weeks. Looking forward, into my last full month in Amsterdam, I have a few plans: a USA vs Netherlands football (soccer) match, a hotel rooftop movie screening of Reservoir Dogs, a writing workshop with the aforementioned writer and youngest ever Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, visiting the FOAM Photography Museum’s new exhibition, Swinging Sixties London–Photography in the Capital of Cool, and also Orange is the New Black AND True Detective come back in June 😉  I also hope to make many more beach trips (I’d like to explore some of Amsterdam’s urban beaches) and cross as many things off my A’dam bucket list as I can before heading to Greece and then back to the golden US of A.

Much to look forward to, much to be grateful for.


  1. Avatar June 9, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    I have that exact same relationship with Facebook haha. Great photos and enjoy the rest of your travels!

  2. Avatar August 7, 2015 / 4:09 pm

    Isn’t The Luminaries excellent??? I had to restart it a few times because there are so many characters, but it was worth it. I really like your blog and I’ve been reading it for a bit, but I just had to comment when I read about your meeting Eleanor Catton! That’s so awesome!

    • Sarah V. August 13, 2015 / 8:22 pm

      I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list of things to do! After hearing Eleanor speak at an event, I immediately knew I had to buy it, though! Can’t wait.


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