In the beggining there was Carlota. This is the short story about how I met my first friend in Amsterdam.
Carlota and I were introduced on facebook by common friends that thought we were a good match. We were the same age after all, both coming from the Iberian Peninsula, both graduated in an artistic field and both starting a brand new life in the same city, on the exact same day – January, the 10th, 2012. So as soon as we arrived to Amsterdam we met for a beer.
Our friends’ predictions proved right. We instantaneously considered each other the perfect partner in crime. We both wanted to go everywhere, try everything, meet everyone, and the coolest thing, we decided right there, at the table of Cafe del Mondo at the Nieuwmarkt, to do it together. We made plans over a map, nachos and some beers, and went through our life stories and future goals. Furthermore we discussed bikes, winter coats, food preferences, weather, things to explore, jobs, house hunting. After that we went for a pizza at some forgettable touristic restaurant in the area. Our first dinner out with a friend in Amsterdam tasted great though. In fact, nothing could have tasted better at that point.
We were two happy birds as we started to make more friends, share findings, ideas, recipes, enthusiasm. Deciding to celebrate every 10th of the month by hosting a party was something that seemed obvious at some point. After all, no travel, dinner, hang-out, party, beer, movie or tea was planned without including one another first.
In the meanwhile so much happened. I changed jobs, she started freelancing. She moved in with her boyfriend, I broke up with mine. We travelled to Sardinia and Florence together. People from our original group of friends moved away. We met more people. We learned to speak dutch.
Carlota moved back to Madrid a couple of months ago, and this was sort of a shock given she was so enthusiastic about living here. However difficult, this is how it goes in the expat community in Amsterdam. People come and go all the time, and our to-visit-list of friends suddenly grows. Different lands get new meanings and, above all, faces. Spain means, for instance, Carlota but it also means Kike, and Margarida and Almudena and Cruz. Carlota will always remind me of shiny beginnings, energy, and that kind of blind-optimism which makes everything go right. By the way, I am planning to awaken the 10th-of-the-month-celebrations again, and I will celebrate as always, for the two of us.