It seems like Chicago becomes more and more beautiful as summer nears.
Our street is in full bloom now, the tulips are flowering, the cafes put their outdoor seating up and my face has turned a much more appealing shade of light golden brown.
Despite all of this loveliness I have been very homesick to Holland recently. There is one thing in particular which triggers those emotions: the Amstel Light commercial.
The first time I saw this ad on TV I cried. Yeah, I know it's sad. I didn't expect it to happen either but you know - I have a lot of memories connected to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is where I first could be who I wanted to be. Where I met people who understood who I am. It's where I realized that I could be a photographer. It's where I changed from being a little wallflower who was too shy to order a beer into a person that people want to hang out with. It's where I learned to appreciate alcohol.
It's where I first kissed my husband.
And it's also a lot of other things which are too TMI to post here.
The reason why I miss it more than ever right now is that it's the most beautiful time of the year there - Spring. Spring in Holland is when the sun is shining, when everything is colorful and pretty. People sitting outside and having a beer. Queensday and more importantly - Queens night which I have very fond memories of. The Amsterdam parks are full of people with cheap bottles of wines, sitting on old blankets until the sun goes down or at the beaches in Scheveningen in one of the many beach bars.
But I do realize that it was time for me to move on. As much as I loved living in Holland there was one thing that always bothered me (apart from the weather). I felt like I was stuck. I had wanted to do a creative job all my life but I was stuck in the jobs for German speakers. Boring office jobs. And while I met a lot of fantastic people that way I felt like it was eating at my soul. I was very unhappy doing what I was doing. I could have gone back to school and then maybe move into marketing but this is pretty much the hight of creativity I could have gone for. To make a living as a photographer in Holland is possible but difficult. It's a small country with a lot of creative people so the possibilities are limited. I met a lot of professional photographers and I know they were all having a difficult time unless they were Dutch or famous in their field BEFORE they had moved to Holland. I met one photographer who was working as a cook at night to be able to work as a photographer during the day. I also met a few non-Dutch photographers who were successful like my mentor Wanda Michalak but she had been famous for her landscape nudes (check them out) long before she moved to Holland.
So I am trying my luck here in Chicago and I am surprised how things have been working out for me so far. I mean, I am not actually doing paid work but I have been working on different projects and it's been a lot of fun.
One thing which I am very proud of is that I will have some of my pictures exhibited for a few weeks at the Logan Bar and Grill for a few weeks. So far in my life I have only had my pictures exhibited once - that was in Amsterdam at the Amsterdam Center for Photography - thanks to my former mentor Wanda Michalak who I mentioned above. Those pictures will be available for sale and I will also open an Etsy shop for my pictures. I have checked out the competition and found a Chicago based Etsy shop which funnily enough has pictures very similar to mine (same locations - Italy, Chicago, ...) but mine are (and I hope that doesn't sound really arrogant) way better. And that woman sells!
So after opening my shop I will have to start promoting as much as I can. I am not sure how to promote an online shop but I'll read up on it.
My photography classes are also teaching me how to do studio work and I am in the process of building a little photo studio in our dining room. I have been studying a lot recently and it's been very helpful. I am now pretty confident that I can do professional work once I finish my studies (which will still take me at least 6 month even with me studying about 10 hours a week right now). Looking at other peoples work on the internet I see that I am better than some people who call themselves professional photographers but that I still have to learn if I ever want to become as good as the people I look up to.
So things are very good. I have made a few new friends through the German center I have been doing volunteering work for and I am actually really enjoying my time here.
This might sound strange to you since I started this post off by saying how homesick I am but you know what - you can be homesick and still be happy. And happy I am.
And a big shout out goes to my friends A+M who got engaged!! And my friend L-A who is pregnant with a baby boy! I wish I could be there with you guys to celebrate!