Vondelpark- Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Photo creds: Laura Branson)
Being a student comes with so many responsibilities and stress, especially being a student at UCSB, because school in the quarter system is NOT easy. It’s fast paced beyond anything I imagined, with another midterm or another paper ever single week. Throw in a job, an internship, and being Vice President of a club, and you’ve got me pulling my hair out day after day.
It’s days like today, where it’s nearly 5 pm and I haven’t had time to eat a single thing, that make me long for the relaxing grass of Vondelpark, where Laura and I enjoyed a quiet picnic and I had nothing to worry about except for which cheese I wanted to put on my cracker. We picked up a joint (thank you Amsterdam), picked up a bottle of wine, got some cheese and crackers, and found ourselves a nice spot in front of a lake. Although it feels like a lifetime ago, this picnic was really only 5 months ago, and anytime I’m stressed out or frustrated, I look back on my day spent bathing in the warm sunlight, sipping rosé, munching on cheese and crackers, playing with ducks, and napping, and the memory instantly soothes me. That’s why I love memories so much, they pull you out of reality and just for a moment, you can feel the way you did at any other time. Vondelpark had the most remarkable calming vibes, with people doing as they please whether it be riding a bike, playing music, or anything else. Nobody was bothering anybody, and everyone was happy and content.
I know Amsterdam is a breathtaking and beautiful city, with so much culture and story behind it, and I know there are long lists of things to see and do in Amsterdam, but my advice is, if you’re ever in Amsterdam, make Vondelpark a priority. Take a few hours in the afternoon, after your day of touring the red light district and getting free beers at The Heineken Experience, and relax in this massive park. Let it sink in that you’re in this incredible foreign country experiencing things you never could back home. Let the peacefulness of Vondelpark settle in you, and take that memory home. That’s what I did, and here I am, writing about Vondelpark as a way to distinguish the ball of stressful pressure I feel in my chest. Who needs Valium when you’ve got Vondelpark!