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Finally! I met people! People who wanted to exchange numbers and get together outside the context of a Meetup event. Friday night I went back to Molly Malone’s for drinks with the expat Meetup group. This time I showed up about an hour after the event started so I wouldn’t be the awkward girl sitting at the bar alone. My plan paid off, the place was already hopping when I got there but I didn’t recognize anyone. So, I bellied up to the bar and ordered a Jupiler (Belgian lager). I think the bartender recognized me from the last time I was there (good sign or bad, I’m not sure) and was very friendly.

After receiving my adult beverage the girl next to me asked, with her American accent, where I’m from. “California” I responded. Side note: this has become my default response to this inquiry. Not many know where Reno is, let alone Nevada so I’ve found it easier to stick with a generic response. No offense Reno. Turns out this girl is also from California, Santa Barbara to be specific, a mere 60 miles from my hometown of Thousand Oaks. Needless to say we were like long-lost friends and immediately began talking.

The rest of the night I spent hanging out with my co-Californian, her English roommate, a couple of French people, and a guy from Ireland. I mean really, how much freaking cooler can life get?! Somewhere in the middle of the evening my fellow American asked if I had any plans for the weekend which, of course, I did not. We exchanged information and would get together.

Saturday was spent recovering from Friday night. Somebody really needs to remind me that imperial pints are bigger than American ones and that the beer is stronger here. This morning I woke up back to feeling human and heard from my new friend around 9. Over the course of the morning we planned to meet at the castle outside Nieuwmarkt metro station. Again, how freaking cool…a castle outside a metro station.

Quiche and a salad

I met the American and Brit along with their French roommate, the male contingent. We were also joined by the French girl from Friday. The five of us were off and walking heading to a restaurant nearby which, we found, had moved a street over as they renovate. After finding the temporary location of De Bakkerswinkel we stood in the queue for about an hour waiting for a table, but the wait was well worth it. I’ve decided as well that there should be some type of multiplier between wait time and how long you stay at your table. Ours ended up being two hours of table time for the one hour wait. Not bad. The food was great and the company even better. This afternoon was exactly what I was longing for. A nice, relaxing meal with nice and interesting people.

The three flatmates kindly invited everyone back to their place for a movie and tea. More tea. We’d already gone through three pots over lunch. But why cut a great afternoon short? So we all headed to their place. On the walk, I was asked if I were afraid of heights. Apparently the stairs are steep and they’ve had previous incidents. I assured them I’d be fine. When we got there, I saw what they meant.

Steep, narrow, and scary

This photo doesn’t do it justice. The stairs on this first stairway are only 6″ deep which fits about half my size 9 foot plus they practically go straight up. After the landing there’s an even smaller, narrower spiral staircase up to the top floor. To walk up these stairs is treacherous, but to walk down is worse. Note to self…don’t drink at their place.

After the movie and more tea it was approaching 8pm so I thanked my hosts and new friends and headed back to the metro station and home to Amstelveen. Days like today really light the fire under me to find a new place, as if I weren’t already motivated enough. I really appreciated how friendly and open this group was and hope that this isn’t our last outing together and that I meet more people just like them.