This past week, I had a moment of clarity in which I finally started to know where I am, what direction I’m going and how to navigate my path. And I’m not talking figuratively, but literally-how to navigate my way through the maze of seemingly identical, twisting streets here in Rotterdam. Coming from a place where the streets are laid out in a perfect square grid with every turn a right angle, adjusting to Rotterdam, where almost no streets are straight, the buildings all look pretty similar and the name of a street changes every couple of blocks you travel, has been a bit of a challenge. For the first several months I basically had no idea how to get anywhere unless the GPS was on (and that’s driving, cycling and walking). But then, suddenly, I recognized where I was and I knew what was further down the road if I kept going or what I would run into if I turned a certain direction. I knew how to bike to the stores I wanted to get to. I also successfully took a tram into downtown, got off at the right place, knew when my stop was coming up without looking, wandered around without getting lost and found another tram stop to go the opposite direction back toward home. And finally, I was able to drive to our weekly violin lesson without needing the GPS. Now, this may not seem like much to people who are used to navigating new cities or have moved often and had to learn a new town, but for someone who has basically lived in two very easy to navigate towns in their life and who never drives in cities that we visit, this is a big deal. Now, I can say- I know where I am!
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