Food, Life, Travel

A non-cynical view of living alone in a foreign country

So I’m living alone in a foreign country. People ask me, “Have you made any friends?” My answer is a lame-o “eeeh, not really?” I answer almost like a question, as if there’s room for debate whether I’ve made friends. But the truth is, I haven’t. Of course it would be nice to make friends, but I don’t feel at a huge loss. Here’s why:

I’ve always wanted to read more, blog more, write in my diary more, cook more, sketch more. I’ve also got several European friends that I’ve made weekend plans with. I’ve been able to do these things, living on my own. I’ve been able to wander the streets of Amsterdam, going where I like, popping into shops and stopping for photos whenever I want. It’s true, I could do all that with a buddy, but there’s definitely a freedom that comes with exploring on your own too.

After a long hiatus, I’ve picked up Les Miserables again. I started reading it after the movie came out A YEAR AGO. To give me some credit, I stopped reading it in February when I got very busy. Marius was on his way to the barricade for nearly 8 months!

Almost done-ish!

Almost done-ish!

I was excited to hear that my friend Simone also loves the author Bill Bryson, who wrote my favorite non-fiction book, Mother Tongue: English And How It Got That Way. Bill Bryson writes with strong wit and light-hearted sarcasm. I thoroughly regret not bringing it with me, especially now that Simone’s lent me two of her Bill Bryson books, his memoir, The Thunderbolt Kid, and his novel about traveling the U.S., The Lost Continent, I wish I could have lent her my book.

Mother Tongue cover    

Just look at this jolly guy. If he were a professor, I’d audit his class for sure. (I just googled, “Is Bill Bryson a professor?”; it doesn’t look like he is.)


I’ve only sketched a little bit, to be honest. I’d like to paint a typographic piece of my address here. My sister, Kim, did one of her address in Los Angeles, and it looked so cool! I’ve got the design, I just need to buy the painting supplies! I’d also like to paint my bike basket!

Some of you who know me may know that I LOVE persimmon fruit. So you may know how thrilled I was about the “recall” persimmons at the flea market yesterday – cheap overripe persimmons! So today I made persimmon bread! Or more like persimmon bread pudding, because I didn’t add nearly enough flour and it doesn’t hold together at all and is very moist. But that’s kind how I prefer it to be honest… But for my failed bread, I also deserve some credit – I have no measuring cups or measuring spoons!

Juicy persimmons before adding them to the flour mixture.

Juicy persimmons before adding them to the flour mixture.

It’s hard not buying too much food for one person. I went to the flea market to do most of my grocery shopping and some people gave me odd looks when I’d ask for a 25 kg of dried berries, or the smallest piece of salmon available. But seriously that piece of salmon better be good because I spent €4,20 on it!

So some people don’t like to drink on their own. I, too, once thought this an odd solitary activity. But since living on my own, I now totally understand it. It’s still a nice relaxing accompaniment to evening reading, and honestly, a good stress reliever after a hard day of work. Of course, I don’t waste my money on the good stuff. I bought pretty bad wine for €3-something before, and this time, I found some for €2,49! I’ll let you know how it is.


And I’ve visited a friend in Maastricht and a friend has visited me here. I have several trips planned in the future – two to England and one to Germany/Austria , and I hope to add a few more trips to the list! I’m so ecstatically thrilled about all of them I can’t even say. I still can’t believe my life has brought me here. I think I could live here 10 years and still be amazed.

Having said all that, I totally just joined several groups on

I’ll leave you with two more things: Firstly this Turkish Döner Pizza is absolutely spectacularly delicious. I think they’re popular throughout Europe, but I can’t verify that myself. However, if you come across one and you happen to be hungry, yes, it’s a good good choice.


And then this: I don’t know much about rowing, so I don’t know whether curvy canals are good or bad for the sport, but at least it’s a beautiful view.