There’s Brangelina, Kimye, and Bennifer. But they’ve got nothing on Atlansterdam.
January and February were pretty busy this year, but in a very good way. That’s because I was able to travel to some awesome new places and then make a celebrity name mashup to use as a title for this long overdue post.
If you haven’t guessed, the two cities this name represents are Atlanta and Amsterdam. Yes, both were work trips, and yes, we got to play a little.
First stop was my first time attending a trade show: the International Processing and Production Expo to be specific. For everyone who has never heard of this show (probably 99.99% of you) it’s a show about chickens – breeding them, feeding them, eating them. I know, please try to contain your excitement about this subject matter.
We did have a balloon to mark our booth until it was deemed some sort of hazard and had to be deflated. So try to contain your excitement about the balloon too, please. It’s gone.
Although it would be a lie to say I’m hyped about chicken processing, I’m telling the truth when I say I was excited about helping to organize meet-ups and interviews with the media for our company’s representatives. Although you won’t see us in Time or The New Yorker, the experience I gained is definitely valuable. Who knows? Maybe someday I will meet with someone from Time or The New Yorker.
Luckily, the trade show took place in Atlanta, Georgia, so we were able to enjoy 60-70 degree days while everyone at home muddled through a 20 degree week.
I was able to better get to know my coworkers, especially those who are almost always out in the field, while testing my knowledge of our products and meeting with media contacts from all over the world.
When I wasn’t busy coordinating interviews and pretending I know the science of feed additives, I was able to walk around Atlanta, taking in a city I’d driven through but never spent much time in. Usually it’s just a big traffic jam between me and Florida. Thanks to company cards and tastes, we enjoyed swanky rooms at the Westin downtown and swanky eats in 4 and 5 star restaurants nearby. I had amazing cheesecake in a rotating restaurant and I miss my room with a view. I’ll be back soon, Atlanta.
There was little time for touristy stops, but running over to the World of Coke museum to get some stuff from the gift shops was a must. And now I’m thinking about Coke on Ash Wednesday, the first day of my Lenten fast from junk food and soda; soooo, new topic.
That brings us to Amsterdam! I was so excited for this trip and I’m still excited even though it ended a few weeks ago. Luckily it’s annual – #Blessed.
Even though it took 20 hours of traveling just to land in Amsterdam, let me tell you it was so worth it (that and being told by Paris airport security that my factory-sealed, 2 oz contact solution bottle needed to be in a baggie).
Amsterdam is a city so packed with history, you wonder if you time traveled. Just don’t get too lost in awe or you’ll get run over by a bike – they are EVERYWHERE. Seriously, cars yield to bikes on those streets. If you’re on two wheels you’re on top of the food chain. And speaking of food, every other shop is a bakery, which is how all cities should probably be set up.
Some other cultural notes I mentally took include:
- When you buy a multi-use train ticket because you must scan out. If you get off a train without scanning out, you have to buy a new ticket. Maybe they have an issue with people sharing tickets? Haven’t figured this one out yet.
- Almost everyone can speak Dutch AND English, so if you’re an American who can only understand some Spanish (like me) please humble yourself before the entirety of The Netherlands. They’re bilingual bad-asses.
- They have the tiniest sidewalks I’ve ever seen.
- If you want to visit the Anne Frank house, you have to book months in advance. I read, “The Fault In Our Stars” so I now have a new appreciation for Gus’s travel skills.
- It is extremely hard to get a check at a restaurant. I’m not sure if we eat too fast or what, but at least 30 minutes of each meal were just us waiting for our bill with empty plates in front of us. We’re full, can we leave pls?
In addition, if you’re going to Amsterdam, let me recommend the Citizen M hotels for your accommodation. If you’ve ever wanted to control mood lights with an iPad, poo and shower in a pod, or feel like you’re in a sci-fi film these rooms will definitely be up your alley.
Walking around and just taking in a city is my favorite way to travel, and that’s what we ended up doing: wandering along the canals, eating macaroons, watching people window shop for weed, and yes, taking a short walk through the Red Light District because that’s something you have to see to believe. I don’t know the full history, but apparently the district was started by a nearby church, as denoted by an interesting female-inspired cobblestone in the road near the place of worship. Amsterdam is a wild place.
This city wasn’t our final stop however. That honor goes to Amersfoort, another historic city with its own legends from the lighthearted one about a boulder dragged all the way from another town simply for a bet, to a few darker ones from the Holocaust. Whatever perspective you might have on Amersfoort’s past, you can’t deny that presently it is gorgeous and full of life.
Our meetings were held here, so we were stuck inside a hotel for most of the days. I’m not the biggest fan of all-day meetings, but when you finally get to meet people you’ve been emailing for months as well as other colleagues from all over the world, that tends to make it better. It was nice to take a little break from the U.S. and not be surrounded by Americans for a few days.
Oh and you wouldn’t believe the reaction some people had when I told them we have a shirt referred to by the slang term “wife beater.” Yeah, you can probably imagine the hilarious, incredulous looks I got. But we really do need to clean up our act, people….
Despite all these meetings, I did manage to use an hour and a half break for a walk into Amersfoort proper to snap some photos. There were awesome new developments right outside the hotel, but in a five-minute walk you come upon things like these:
Our last night in Amersfoort also involved a trip to Media Park in Hilversum, a major TV station in The Netherlands. There we completed a team activity and filmed short movies about our company’s values. I was placed in the “Capable” group, and was cast as “Trouw Nutrition Man” who fought evil alongside “Trouw Nutrition Woman.”
Both of these trips were jam-packed into two weeks, but it was an excellent two weeks in my opinion. I’m very much looking forward to attending these same events next year, as well as all the other places and people I’ll get to see throughout the rest of 2017.
For now, I need to catch up on some freelance work (I’ve launched my first campaign for Thaddeus Rex’s Science of Charisma books and seminars!) and keep looking for apartments. Soon I’ll be adulting even more than ever – it might not be as fun as I’m imagining but just let me keep imagining.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with this hilarious picture my dad sent of a banana he left on his desk over the weekend. His coworkers gave it a makeover… let’s make March as glamorous as this banana!
Thanks for reading!