Coming Back Home

After having lived in Berlin for 3 years, and without ever going back to see your family and your home town, you finally finally return… What is the first thing you'll do, what does your first day look like?

Schiphol Airport. With the first Dutch announcements about a certain Mister Verhoeven delaying the flight, a happy pang of safety pops up in my chest: the awful-sounding yet familiar language gives me that sense of belonging that I’ve so missed, and at the same time, have been trying to get away from.
The various Dutch shops in the airport -HEMA!- make my heart thumb in my throat. I catch the next train home, and after seven minutes on those green train seats, the well known yet slightly depressing buildings of Amsterdam South Train Station come into view. I inhale the cold rainy air, and on my walk home I cast an emotional look at my old primary school.
My street! The dark staircase, the bohemian flat that I was raised in. My mum is crying with happiness, my sister is there with her kids, my god, my nephew is taller than I am! They have laid the table with soft Dutch bread, hagelslag and fresh young Gouda cheese. Soon we are all happily chatting away; I realise that my speaking has Germanized, to the hilarious laughter of my nephew and niece.
In the evening, after my mum’s speciality -Surinamese chicken- I borrow my mum’s bike and bike the route to my friend Sara’s place, through the Vondelpark. Ah! Delicious nostalgy! The blue teahouse is still filled with yuppies, the hippiefield is still filled with junkies, nobody cares about the slight drizzle.
Me and my friend Sara watch television at her place, and after this quick update on Dutch politics and screamish talkshows, we bike to our cafe, same old. Past the old disgusting looking canals -does nobody EVER clean Amsterdam?-, past the old stoned tourists walking on the bike paths, past our old high school. In the cafe we meet some friends, drink Heineken and eat old Dutch cheese. I am shocked to remember that the cafes close at 1am. Nothing has changed. Is this why I left? Why did I come back?

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