I like to think I can tell which passengers on the ferry are tourists. There are some dead giveaways, of course – suitcases on wheels, pairings of cargo shorts with baseball caps, shopping bags from cheese shops and major museums. What I envy is their fresh-eyed excitement.
When we turned our gaze towards Amsterdam Noord as a potential place to live, we had already been in Amsterdam for eight years. I wouldn’t say I was jaded, but a city that once inspired me to move across an ocean had lost some luster to the wear of everyday life. As soon as we’d step on the ferry though, something changed. It was like we were traveling again, and not just because the ground was literally moving under our feet. The ferry was our gateway to a new start, a fresh perspective, and a chance to fall in love with Amsterdam a second time. The whooping alarm that announces the lifting of the gangplank would cause a Pavlovian reaction in me. It meant that I was headed for adventure and I’d break out in a grin.
As an adult I’ve chosen to live in international cities with high immigrant populations. On any given day, I can meet someone from Ghana, or Croatia, or Iraq. I remain an eternal tourist in the land I call home. Every face I come across is uncharted territory. Every person I meet is a potential discovery. The ferry brings us all together without discrimination. There is no first class on the ferry, there’s just us. The working folk, the holidaymakers, the party people, we’re all one and the same. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I’m glad you’re here.
Rachelle Meyer is an illustrator and artist originally from Texas who came to Amsterdam 13 years ago by way of New York. She lives in Amsterdam Noord with her English husband, Dutch son, and two wild backyard bunnies.
The Faces on the Ferry installation can be seen through Nov. 17th in NDSM Fuse, NDSM-plein 85, Amsterdam Noord. https://facesontheferry.nl