Spring Break at a Dutch Beach

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Hello everyone, I just came back from a run in Vondelpark and I thought I should tell you a little bit about my Spring Break. It has been a lot of relaxation, going to the gym, and walking around Amsterdam so nothing really special (well, being in Amsterdam is special enough but you know what I mean), except for my getaway day with my housemate to a Dutch beach very close to her hometown and to our apartment in Amsterdam. We went to Vooges, a beach restaurant in Zandvoort. It is a cute and nicely decorated spot with excellent food, friendly staff and a good view of the beach.VoogesMy housemate, as I already told you in previous blog posts, is a Dutch friend I met in Boston, and although we live together, we do not hangout as often as we would like to because of our busy schedules so it was really nice to be able to catch up and have a lovely evening in front of a cozy fireplace with some tea, flammkuchen, sushi, Turkish bread with guacamole, and a delicious lemon cheesecake with forest fruits to share. We talked for hours and we had such an amazing time!

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With my housemate, Maaike

Maybe I did not do many exciting things during my Spring Break but this day made it up for me. I am looking forward to go back to this lovely restaurant as the weather is getting better and warmer every day.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend as I am certainly enjoying mine (binge watching tv shows). Sadly, the routine will start again on Monday but I have great expectations because this will be the last term of my international foundation year in business and management, with new subjects that promise to be very interesting. Another reason to go back to school: I want to get the results of my final exams.

Okay, a tv show awaits. I will continue binge watching and enjoying my last days of freedom.

Until next time,

M. Victoria Barroeta.

Life is always better at the beach.

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Amsterdam Coffee Festival

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Amsterdam Coffee FestivalCoffee is much more than just a drink, and this weekend was a proof of that. Thousands of coffee lovers, including me, attended the Amsterdam Coffee Festival for a unique and delightful experience that brought together both international and local coffee brewers, different coffee chains, and the Dutch Barista Championship.

Many may wonder what I was doing in a coffee festival when my final exams start this upcoming week, but I studied nonstop the last couple of days just so I could attend this event that I had been looking forward to for months.

I am currently experiencing a caffeine overdose after a day at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival. I am not kidding when I say that I cannot remember how many cups of coffee I drunk today. From Colombian, Salvadorian, Ethiopian, and Kenyan strong espressos to coconut, soy, oat, and organic almond cappuccinos. I also tried milder versions of coffee like green tea and skinny blend chai lattes.

Chai Latte Flavors

Chai Latte Flavors

Every coffee stand that was part of the festival had its own barista who served fantastic coffee with beautiful designs. No wonder why it is called latte “art”. I even got the privilege to be served by the 2015 Dutch Barista Champion, Nick Vink.

With Nick Vink

With the Dutch Latte Art Champion, Nick Vink

I do not know why you would need a break from coffee, but just in case that you did, you could also try different types of tea from all over the world, fresh juices, and cocktails while you submerged yourself in the lively atmosphere, full of art, music, and contagious good vibes.

Chocolate, pastries, cookies, and bars were also offered to accompany the protagonist of the day: coffee. Lately, I have been really into organic things, which is why I loved that most of the products had no artificial additives and were more to the healthy side.

Besides promoting the coffee industry, The Amsterdam Coffee Festival is also raising money to support Project Waterfall. 50% of every ticket will help this organization to bring clean drinking water to coffee growing and producing communities, which I personally consider a great cause.

I have to thank my Vietnamese friend who joined me this weekend and shared my passion for coffee. I am sure that after all that we have learned today, we will continue searching for good cafés, and enjoy quality coffee even more than we did before.

There was a wall at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival where you could write what you would do without coffee so I thought of asking you the same question. I would not survive my exams without it, which reminds me that I need to go back to study. Wish me luck and let me know what you would do without coffee, I am curious.

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Souvenirs from the Amsterdam Coffee Festival

Until next time,

M. Victoria Barroeta.

“Coffee is a language in itself.”

Jackie Chan.

Day Trip to Groningen

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GroningenSince I arrived in The Netherlands I have been looking forward to explore different cities of the country and today was Groningen’s turn.

I had to meet my friends and classmates at my hotel, the Victoria Hotel (okay, I recognize it was a bad joke but I had to make it), really early in the morning in order to start our university trip. While we were waiting for the buses to pick us up, I needed my daily dose of caffeine, so I went to Illy, a way too overpriced Italian coffee roasting company where I got my usual soy latte.

We headed to Groningen as soon as the buses arrived and it took us about two and a half hours to get there. Considering that I am Venezuelan and that my country is over 20 times bigger than The Netherlands, I think Groningen is quite close to Amsterdam but I find pretty funny that many Dutch people almost place Groningen in a different country due to its distance.

A nice and tranquil bus ride later, we got to Groningen, a small and lively city in the north of Holland. There are so many cute cafés and restaurants throughout the city center, as well as charming shopping streets, historical buildings and canals that make it a unique and interesting destination. I love the fact that Groningen is a student city (more than 50 thousand students out of a population of 200 thousand inhabitants), and I actually found out that it is the city with the youngest population in the country. Wherever you walk, you only see young people (on bikes, of course, because it would not be The Netherlands otherwise).

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Walking around the city center

A highlight of our trip was our visit to one of the city’s icons: Groningen University. Besides being well positioned in respectable international rankings, the university’s architecture is definitely something to admire. Once we finished our guided tour of the campus, we went to The Grote Markt, which is the starting and finishing point to wander through various lovely streets of the city center. I have to add that I found a Venezuelan food truck in the middle of this square, which truly amazed me and got me very excited, as it is the first time I see something related to my country here in The Netherlands.

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Main building of Groningen University

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At Grote Markt

After a lovely day and a karaoke session with my friends in our fun ride back to Amsterdam, it is time to say goodbye but before I do so: I would for sure recommend Groningen as a place to visit because it is such a nice city; perfect for those of you who want to see something new and beautiful without all the tourist-craziness you might find in cities like Amsterdam.

Until next time,

M. Victoria Barroeta.

“I travel, therefore I am blessed.”

Louise Williams.

A Saturday in Amsterdam

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My best friend finally came to visit me for the weekend after two months without seeing each other (I know it is not so long but it seemed like forever). Although we talk every day, there was a lot of catching up to do and a very nice Saturday ahead of us.

  • MoJo Japanese Kitchen

Our day started with what my best friend and I like to call “brunchiner” because it is so much food that counts as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We went to MoJo, an all-you-can-eat restaurant where you get access for two and a half hours to all the sushi and Japanese dishes that your body can manage to take in. To be honest, the sushi is not outstanding but the experience certainly is. It is a very fancy-looking restaurant and you get a tablet from which you can order (how cool is that?). I am still full from all the great food and especially from the insane amount of dumplings and springrolls I ate. This will not be my last time at MoJo because it is hard to find good restaurants near the city center that are not overpriced or packed with tourists all the time, and this is one of the exceptions. A quick tip: I highly recommend you to go during lunchtime, as the entrance fee is cheaper.

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Our first round

  • Winkel 43
Winkel 43

Before trying the apple pies

There is always room for dessert so after leaving MoJo we decided to walk along the Jordaan, one of the nicest and most famous neighborhoods in the city, while looking for Winkel 43, a small restaurant in the corner of Noordermarkt. I have to say that there is a reason why this spot holds the title for “best apple pie in Amsterdam”. Soft apples on the inside with a crust baked to perfection on the outside are served with whipped cream to deliver a beautiful tart that will leave you wanting more, and to make it even better, you should order some fresh peppermint tea with honey to accompany the pie. Oh, and one more thing: if you go on a weekend day, you should be patient because this place will be definitely full of both locals and tourists who are anxiously waiting to get their apple pies (I can assure you they are worth waiting for!). I am looking forward to go back to Winkel 43 and treat myself to another slice of this delicious pie.

Winkle 43's apple pie

Best apple pie in Amsterdam

The Jordaan

The Jordaan and one of its many canals

  • Boyce Avenue Concert

A food coma and two happy stomachs later, we went to Melkweg in Leidseplein, which is a popular club and concert hall. The venue is quite small so we got to see Boyce Avenue really close and my best friend was even able to catch one of the guitar plectrums they threw to the crowd. This was a particularly special concert because it was a Christmas present from her and it was our second time watching them live together, first in Boston and now in Amsterdam. I could not have asked for a better way to end a lovely day!

After another awesome but unfairly short weekend with my blondie, it is time to start studying for my finals that are getting closer every day. I cannot believe the second trimester of my foundation year is almost over.

Until next time,

M. Victoria Barroeta.

“A day spent with friends is always a day well spent.”

Venezuelan Food

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12345408_10206924656027261_2596599671748852612_nVenezuelan politics and our current economic crisis have been dominating the news for a long time but because food is way better than my country’s politics, and Venezuelan cuisine is one of the many reasons why I love my country, I thought about sharing with you some of our traditional dishes while I try not to cry because of how much I miss them. I hope that this post is enough to show you that Venezuela is much more than all the negativity the media and many people tend to highlight.

There are only certain recipes I can cook here in Amsterdam or anywhere in the world, as they do not require neither fancy nor special ingredients, but there are others that will simply and unfortunately have to wait until I go back to Venezuela.

Here we go, a list of extremely delicious Venezuelan dishes that are super tasty and as colorful as our flag:

  • Arepa

Arepas

It is a bit hard to describe an arepa, but let me try: An arepa is a corn based “flatbread” formed into a patty. It can be grilled, baked, or fried before it is split open and stuffed with literally anything you want. It is one of the most traditional Venezuelan dishes you can try and it is definitely one of my favorites! As arepas are so easy to make and the flour you need for the mix (Harina P.A.N.) can be found basically in every supermarket with an international section, I highly encourage you to make them and I promise you will not regret it!

  • Cachapa

980x-5I introduce you to the Venzuelan version of pancakes. This sweet and savory dish is made from corn dough and traditionally served with a type of soft white cheese called queso de mano, which literally translates into “cheese of the hand”, but it can also be eaten with a meat of your choice. This delicious treat scores high on my list of favorites and it will be the first thing I eat as soon as I arrive in Venezuela.

  • Empanada

Empanadas are deep-fried and half-moon-shaped corn pockets that can be stuffed with anything your imagination allows you to think of. They are made with the same flour used to cook arepas, and the result is simply beautiful. Many Latin American countries have their own version of empanadas, and maybe I am a little biased when I say this, but nothing like the Venezuelan version.

  • Tequeño

Tequenos-frenteGTequeños are small sticks of salty white cheese wrapped in slightly sweet dough and fried to golden perfection. It is common for foreigners to compare tequeños with mozzarella sticks after this type of description (I strongly recommend you not to do it, unless you want to offend a Venezuelan), but it will only take you one bite of this piece of heaven to take it back. And just so you know, there is no such thing as a Venezuelan party without tequeños as they are the most iconic party snack.

  • Hallaca

The hallaca is the most traditional Venezuelan Christmas dish. It is a version of the corn tamal (yes, I know what you are thinking; we love corn very much). Just like arepas and empanadas, hallacas are made with the same corn dough but in this occasion the dough is mixed with annatto to give it its characteristic yellow color. An interesting fact about the origin of the hallaca: when we were a colony, the slaves used all the leftovers of their owner’s Christmas festivities and came up with this dish (thank you ancestors!) that nowadays is usually stuffed with a stew of beef or pork, “adorned” with raisins, capers and olives, folded in plantain leaves, tied with strings, and boiled. The star of our Christmas dinner requires hours of preparation and it is commonly cooked by the entire family in some sort of party or celebration with a great atmosphere.

  • Pabellón Criollo

imagen-1The pabellón criollo is our national dish and the most traditional one after the arepas. It is a delicious combination of shredded beef in stew, white rice, black beans, and tajadas (fried plantains in slices).

  • Patacón/Tostón

Patacones or tostones are twice-fried-green-plantain thick chips that can be served as an appetizer or side dish with sprinkled salt on top, or as the main course when accompanied by any meat of your choice. They are very easy to make so you should start cooking them as soon as you finish reading this blog post.

As I just showed you, Venezuelan cuisine takes simple ingredients and transforms them into unique and incredibly delicious creations. I could actually continue showing you many more Venezuelan dishes but I think I have suffered enough, and I also think that these choices already made you hungry and left you wanting to pay Venezuela a visit, which was the main purpose of my blog entry.

With a hunger for Venezuelan food and the desire to go back home to taste all these mouth-watering dishes again, I will say goodbye. And remember, you cannot buy happiness but you can buy Venezuelan food.

Until next time,

M. Victoria Barroeta.

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

Julia Child.

All the pictures of food used for this blog post were taken from Google Images.

Summer in Winter

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IMG_9642I wish I could go back in time and relive my wonderful Christmas vacation.

I went to Germany for four amazing days with lots of family reunions (actually my best friend’s family reunions, but it is almost the same thing because they all treated me as one of their own), delicious food, as I showed you on my previous post, and a night out with my blondie in Nachtresidenz in Düsseldorf for a fun Cookies and Cream Party.

My holiday did not stop there. After visiting Duisburg, Dinslaken, and Düsseldorf in Germany, I went to Tannheim, a small town in Tirol, Austria, for a whole week, including Christmas’ Eve, where I got to hear a lot of German, I took a carriage ride that made me feel like Cinderella, I skied (and fell a lot) for the first time, and I watched live the World Championship of ski jumping. Words cannot describe how nice that week was. I am blessed for having Julia, my best friend, and her family in my life. It was unexpected but incredibly nice to have found a second family.

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First time skiing

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My German family

When time came to say goodbye to Austria and its fake snow (way too warm to have real snow), I came back to Amsterdam with Julia to celebrate New Year’s Eve here. I can summarize our night in one word: INNEFABLE! We went to Double Tree Hilton’s SkyLounge where we had sushi, tortilla chips, a traditional Dutch apple pie, many glasses of wine, and the most amazing view of the city. The magical atmosphere, all the fireworks, and meeting with some of my friends from Holland ISC made the last night of 2015 a night to remember, and the perfect way to end a year that blessed me and taught me so much. Although I missed my family and I wished they could have been here with me, it was the New Year’s Eve of my life!

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New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam

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View from Double Tree Hilton’s SkyLounge by http://www.skyloungeamsterdam.com

It has been almost a month since 2016 started and it promises to be a good year. I am looking forward to all the upcoming adventures and accomplishments I plan to achieve. I know this may sound very repetitive and some sort of a cliché, but life is giving us an opportunity to make things even better than they already are. Remember that you set your own limits so there is no such thing as the impossible. There is nothing left to say but: enjoy the rest of this warm winter that feels more like summer, and ask yourself every single day of your life if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. Whatever it is, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Okay, I do not pretend to bore you with inspirational quotes or my philosophical thoughts so I leave you.

Until next time,

M. Victoria Barroeta.

“Soon we learned that paradise is more a moment than a place…”

German Christmas Markets

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Hello everyone, I am back.

I am sorry for taking so long to post a new entry, but I was really busy studying for my final exams (by the way, I survived!) and immediately after I was on vacation, which left me with no time to update the blog and to share some memories with you.

I want to wish you all a belayed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you had an amazing holiday as I certainly did. I went to Germany and to Austria with my best friend and her family, but I will let you know more about my travel experiences in those places in upcoming posts. I want to dedicate this entry in particular to those of you who started 2016 trying to be healthier and to lose some weight as one of your new year resolutions. This is my way of torturing you a little as I share with you all the delicious things I ate in Düsseldorf’s Christmas Market, and that you should definitely try when you find yourself in any German Christmas Market.

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Düsseldorf’s Christmas Market

I always heard great things about German Christmas Markets and they happened to be true. In these magical winter wonderlands that make you feel part of a movie, you can buy all sort of traditional Christmas gifts, decorations, and craftwork merchandise. Many are unique and difficult to resist, especially the following tasty snacks that will make you wish you had a bigger stomach so you could try them all:

  • Glühwein

glühwein-vino-calienteGerman Christmas Markets are filled with stalls selling steaming mugs of Glühwein, mulled wine usually made from red wine combined with spices such as cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar. It is the perfect hot drink to keep you warm while you walk from stand to stand in the cold winter.

  • Bratwurst

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One of the first things you notice when you step into a German Christmas Market is the aroma of grilled sausages. They are served in a baguette type roll with optional ketchup, mustard, and/or curry sauce. They are simple and delicious.

  • Flammkuchen

flammkuchenThis is the perfect dish for the thin and crispy pizza lovers. Flammkuchen is composed of very thin bread dough, generally spread with crème fraîche (a French type of sour cream). While you can use any toppings of your preference, from sweet to salty and sour, the most traditional combination includes bacon and caramelized onions with a bit of nutmeg and black pepper.

  • Gulaschsuppe

goulash-served-in-breadAlthough it is not German, this Hungarian dish deserves its spot in German Christmas Markets. It is a tasty soup or stew of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika, pepper, and other spices. To make it even better, you can order it in a bread bowl.

  • Reibekuchen or Kartoffelpuffer

Classic-Latkes-Applesauce-2These deliciously crispy and chewy potato pancakes are the German version of hash browns, usually served on their own with a side of applesauce.

  • Knoblauch Champignons

MushroomsNo description required for these tasty sautéed mushrooms in garlic sauce.

  • Dampfnudel

DampfnudelIt is a fluffy and sweet yeast dumpling served with vanilla sauce and traditionally eaten with marmalade, but I gave it a little twist by ordering it with Nutella instead. As I never tried anything similar before, it is hard for me to describe its taste. What I can tell you is that Dampfnudeln are uniquely delicious.

I know Christmas markets are over, but do not think it twice if you ever have the opportunity to go to one in the future. It is definitely on my bucket list to visit many more Christmas markets because it is an incredibly nice experience.

It is now time to join those of you losing weight and getting back in shape after all the food I had during the holiday. Again, I wish you a happy and successful new year. Make it your year! Make it count!

Until next time,

M. Victoria Barroeta.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind…”

Calvin Coolidge.

All the pictures of food used for this blog post were taken from Google Images.

What is it like to live in Amsterdam?

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I will start this post by quoting the American author John Green: Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.

Amsterdam is much more than what many people may think. Although weed is the characteristic smell of the city and prostitution is allowed, Amsterdam is much more than just coffee shops and the Red Lights district -where I ended up by mistake in my attempt to explore the city at night with one of my friends, which nobody seems to believe, but that is a different story-.

Amsterdam is a beautiful and vibrant place and it has oodles of character, charm and history. It is a city and a village, all in one. There are always things going on in Amsterdam: hundreds of festivals happening around the city throughout the year, from big dance parties to fashion events, arts fairs, and food markets, especially now that Christmas is getting closer. Boredom does not exist in Amsterdam.

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Holland ISC

But what is it like to live here? These past months have been quite busy between adapting, studying, and exploring the city. I am doing an international foundation year –something like a pre-bachelor- in business and management at Holland International Study Centre. It is actually very nice to find myself again in an international atmosphere because I get to know people from all over the world and learn about their cultures.

What drew me to Amsterdam was the feeling of infinite possibilities it brings, as its motto is all about open-mindedness and freethinking. I feel like I can do anything I want and I never know where the day will truly take me once I leave the classroom.

It seemed scary to start from scratch in a strange land as I used to be a very rigid person, but living in Boston helped me expand my horizons and brought me to Amsterdam. I started this adventure of a lifetime almost three months ago and now I know there was no need to be afraid of the unknown. It is hard to believe, but Amsterdam already feels like home.

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My room, courtesy of my German mom

Some friends have asked me if the fact that I am living in a city with so many tourists and that I have only international students as my classmates makes it harder to meet Dutch people, but I happen to have the best of both worlds because I share an apartment with three really nice Dutch girls who have let me get to know at close hand an insight into various aspects of Dutch culture.

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Bitterballen and kroketten

I have eaten new food like bitterballen and kroketten, both Dutch meat-based snacks, and I have tried to speak Dutch albeit I sound very funny in my attempt to pronounce words with the letter G; those who know Dutch understand what I am talking about. I have also learned new things and challenged my views on people, as everyone is so friendly and welcoming in this city.

Everything is going exceptionally great so far, except for the bipolar climate that made me lose faith in weather forecasts. I miss going out without thinking what to wear because it might rain. Besides that, I have nothing to complain about.

I have tons of streets to wander, museums to visit and sights to see. Oh, and I almost forget that I also have to study for my final exams so I should go and do that right now.

Until next time,

hjvhvn

M. Victoria Barroeta.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”

Alan Cohen.

My life in suitcases

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Last day in Venezuela

Last day in Venezuela

Leaving the place where you were born is not an easy decision to make, especially when you are only bringing with you your dreams and leaving behind all your affections, the streets and places where you made so many memories, the clubs where you partied and had a blast with your friends, or the restaurants and cafés where you spent a lot of evenings. It is not easy to leave the place where memories live on. The tears behind the airport gates were part of the reality I had to face when I decided to leave Venezuela.

Some people will think that it is a selfish decision. They might even say that I choose to abandon my country, that I take the easy way out, and that I am only thinking about myself. The thing is, I could not feel free in Venezuela. I was always scared. In fact, I am still scared because I know that most of my family and friends are living there.

It is such a shame to see how the situation in my country gets worse day by day. The conversations with my family and friends are not only to know how they are doing and to tell them how much I miss them, but also to hear about the insane lines they have to make to get necessity products like soap or toilet paper, and to hear how someone you know got robbed, kidnapped, or killed. This sucks even more when you know how beautiful Venezuela is, and how rich it is in natural resources that have been poorly managed, unfortunately.

I am asking those who are judging me right now to try to understand. There are countless reasons why I left; reasons I want them to respect. Every Venezuelan who leaves the country has a story, including me. The fact that I am an international person and I am now living thousands of kilometers away does not change my commitment to my country and does not determine what I can do to help make things better, even if that is on the other side of the world.

First day in Amsterdam

First day in Amsterdam

After two flights and fifteen hours, I found myself at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, with all my life and dreams packed in suitcases. I could not believe it was real. I was in The Netherlands for the very first time. I was about to jump into the unknown and to start a whole new chapter.

When I was on my way to take a taxi, I saw three familiar faces approaching. It was not a mirage. My sister from another mister and two of my friends from Boston drove all the way from Tilburg and Germany, respectively, to surprise me and to pick me up from the airport. What a pleasant surprise! But it did not end there. When we arrived to my apartment –it sounds so surreal to say “my apartment”-, another friend from Boston and my housemate-to-be had prepared a welcoming brunch. These nice and amazing gestures did nothing but to reassure that I had made the right decision. I knew I was exactly where I need to be. My home away from home.

Time flies, it really does! It has been two months already since I arrived in The Netherlands and I am in love with this country! Now that I have finished all the paperwork I needed to fully establish myself in Amsterdam (residence permit, bank account, phone number, and so on), I am excitedly exploring the city and the country, making new memories. Now I can really see how different my new life is from my previous one in Venezuela and in Boston, but I am enjoying every minute of it.

Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela

Boston, United States

Boston, United States of America

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

That is it for the moment. I promise you will read a lot about my experience in The Netherlands and my favorite places in my upcoming blog posts. Meanwhile, I will be discovering them.

Until next time,

M. Victoria Barroeta.

“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed, and that changes everything.”

Amsterdam, a new start

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11021551_10205584061553237_3919000638422624470_nHello! I am a Venezuelan who recently lived in Boston and currently studies in Amsterdam. I would describe myself as a person who is curious about everything that surrounds me and as a world traveler who loves meeting people, discovering new places, and getting to know different cultures.

Last year I decided to study abroad, reason why I went to Boston. It was the first time I would travel alone and I would be in a place where I did not know anyone, but I happened to meet the most amazing group of people someone could possibly have as friends and I had the best year of my life so far. When time had come to say goodbye and to leave Boston, I realized that my experience as an international student could not end there. I found myself hungry of new experiences so I called my parents one day and I told them about my crazy idea of moving to Europe, but I thought that could only happen when it would be time to start my master after graduating from university in my country.

After Boston, I went back home to my beautiful country, Venezuela, with the initial plan to study there, which is why it was very painful to see how its economic and political situation was much worse than when I left.

I truly love Venezuela; it has one of the world’s biggest variety of ecosystems within one country composed by breathtaking landscapes, from tropical beaches to Amazonian rainforest, to desert plains, to the snow-capped Andes. It is home to Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall. Venezuela also has an incredible culture with a lot of history, interesting traditions, friendly people, and the most beautiful women; we have won more worldwide beauty pageants than any other nation.

In spite of the previously mentioned and all the things I love about my country -and I cannot mention in this piece of writing because it would make it too long to read-, the insecurity, high inflation rates and the economic recession, exacerbated by falling oil prices, make people want to leave Venezuela. I am one of those people; I am one of the many who have had to consider the possibility of leaving everything behind and saying goodbye to family and friends as the only viable option.

My country’s current situation made me realize that it was not just a matter of fulfilling my desire to travel, but actually having the opportunity to spread the word and raise awareness about what is happening today in Venezuela.

Having said that, I want to welcome all of you to my blog. This will be my personal space to share useful tips, anecdotes about my trips and my new life in Amsterdam, and you can also expect some posts related to my country, Venezuela. Enjoy!

“…I want to go to places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.

F. Scott Fitzgerald.