I easily could have spent the whole weekend exploring Paris, but when my new fellow study abroad friends asked if I wanted to join them to visit Amsterdam, I couldn’t help but accept! It’s not like I had any set plans to do anything yet, and I am in Europe–where everything is pretty close together.
So Saturday at noon, we set off on our six hour bus ride to get to Amsterdam! I’m used to long trips, so the duration was no issue for me. As we made our way north, I was in awe of the beauty
of the French countryside. The petite villes, in a world of their own, each containing a local cathedral. It was like something out of a fairy tale. If I ever get rich, I’d choose one of those little towns as my retirement place.
The next day, we went to the Rijks Museum. That was pretty wonderful. It was really interesting to see an assorted collection of art from so many different eras and places. Though, I have to admit that when I arrived at the modern art section, I couldn’t help but think to myself incredulously, “Really?? This is the best my era has to offer? THIS…is what we’re known for?”
However, my personal favorite section was the basement–which was filled with assorted collections. They had some Christian relics and icons and sculptures, as well as china sets, clothing designs from throughout the ages, model ships, and interesting illuminated art (pictured below–try and guess the Bible story for the first two!)
Sunday night, we stopped by the Sex Museum. It was most certainly interesting, though highly inappropriate. Sadly, I had left my camera in my room, so I have no pictures of this museum.
Finally, the last thing we ended up doing was visiting the Anne Frank house. We had suspected that there would be a long line and had tried to book tickets beforehand, but had not been successful. Fortunately, it was necessary since the line only took about five or ten minutes to get through. We spent about an hour or so there, going through it all. There were so many awesome artifacts included. They had the actual diary of Anne Frank and videos from her dad and other survivors. They had arranged the house in the way that it would have appeared back then. They had the original bookshelf that covered the door to the small rooms where they lived. They even had the pictures that Anne had pasted to her wall. They wouldn’t allow pictures, but rest assured it was incredible. If you ever go to the Netherlands, make the Anne Frank house a MUST-SEE item on your list. Now I just need to read the book!
Spiritually I’ve already learned a lot and I have a feeling that this is going to be an interesting semester. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Messiah College, it’s great. But I think I’d kind of fallen asleep under a nice cozy blanket of complacency. I knew that France wasn’t going to coddle me or my faith. I knew I’d have to search for authentic Christianity if I wanted it. But surprisingly, I didn’t think I’d crave it this soon.
Alas, I am craving spiritual refreshment. Less than a week and I was already spiritually exhausted. This past semester at Messiah, I really let my faith take a bit of a back burner while I dug myself into a hole of busyness. So this Christmas break I was really trying to work on rebuilding strong spiritual habits again–journaling, reading my Bible, and really striving for a better prayer life (it was such a blessing to have my pastor preach about prayer for the month that I was home for college). I’ve been up with my Bible and journal, pulling in a bit of strength but I still feel like I’m running on fumes and I really need Christian fellowship. That’s my goal for this week. Get serious about plugging in here in Paris.