I thought I was done falling. I don’t normally fall. I have managed for quite some time to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. Until I got to Amsterdam last week I can’t remember the last time I fell. Then I did that amazing fall to my knees as I tried to step up over the gap from the house boat to the landing. That was a good one. Today’s fall takes the prize. Sima had to go to her salon. She normally rides her bike. Since I am here we decided to take the Stop and Go part of the way and then walk the rest. The Stop and Go is little bus. More like a van but bigger that makes a big loop in this area. It is one Euro and will stop whenever you wave it down. We walked to the corner and one came in moments. We got on and off we went. About half way to our destination another woman got on. Sima told the driver where our stop was and asked for her to stop on the bridge. Instead, she stopped short to leave us on the corner. I had been looking at a map the whole time. I was thinking that given how bumpy the ride was reading the map on the bus was a recipe for car sickness. When I looked up I felt a bit dizzy. Unlike the tram, there isn’t a huge rush to get off but I jumped up and headed for the door. As I got to the step I just sort of jumped. I can’t describe it really. My head felt foggy and it seemed like a long drop down but I thought I was going to make it. Then mid flight I realized “this is going to suck!” My feet went down but the momentum threw me forward onto my hands and knees. For a brief moment, I wanted everyone in Holland to be somewhere else. Unfortunately, 3 people were standing in front of me. There were two men on the corner. Sima was behind me and then next to me in seconds. “Are you okay?!” she asked me as she went to help me up. I stood up and then there was all of the obligatory “are you okay?” “do you need help?” etc. from all the strangers. I told everyone I was fine and off we went. But WOW were my knees and palm of my hand burning. Again, the pain to my ego was extraordinary compared to the rest of me. I think I will be fine in the morning. Maybe a little sore. Maybe a little bruised. Like Ben said, I will never see those people again. If they see me they may remember me as the fat girl who took a swan dive out of the Stop and Go but I certainly won’t recognize them.
I spent some time with Sima in her shop. It is in a very quaint neighborhood. I walked around a little bit. It was Monday evening so a lot of the stores were closed or closing. I went into a health food store. They smell the same as they do in the US. I window shopped and then went back to Sima’s salon.
I had been thinking about going to the Anne Frank House. I had actually decided against it. I knew it would be emotionally difficult for me. Then today I decided I wanted to go. I didn’t want to regret not going or to always wonder if I missed something. Sima and I left her shop and I walked over to the Anne Frank House by myself. The line earlier in the day had been very long so, I wasn’t sure if I would even get in. When I got there the line was rather short so I waited and paid my way in. I walked in and as soon as I turned the corner and saw Anne Frank’s pictures on the wall I just stopped and felt overcome with emotion. I stepped aside as my eyes filled with tears and a lump formed in my throat. The rest of the way through I kept finding myself having to step aside and compose myself. They have dated quotes from her on the walls. They have brief videos of people who knew her and her family discussing her and them. Again, I had to deal with those crazy Dutch staircases. I couldn’t take pictures in there but they were remarkably steep and narrow and difficult. They have a small opening behind the bookcase for you to climb through just like they had to when they were in hiding. It was an overwhelming and challenging experience. First, for me physically but also for me emotionally. What they endured until they could no longer endure is incomprehensible. Seeing the picture of her father standing in the empty house in 1960 was so moving. I am so glad I went to the Anne Frank House. It put so much into perspective for me. Life is so short and precious. Not a moment should be wasted! This last quote is the one that I feel compelled to share,
“April 5th 1944. I can shake off everything if I write, My sorrows disappear, My courage is reborn.” Anne Frank