Sunday 17 January 2010

Ignoring the Sabbath for church and library

Getting up for church

My church runs two services on Sunday, the early one starts at 10:15AM and the later one at 12:15PM, in the last two weeks I have woken up early enough to attend the first service but end up going for the second one instead with more than enough time to spare.

In general, my alarm which is on my mobile phone is set to wake me up at 8:10AM on Sunday morning, however, stirring up at that time is just not as easy as it sounds, after a few snooze taps which last 5 minutes, I dismiss the alarm and get out of bed, immediately preparing to go to church.

Up for firsts but doing seconds

Last week, though the weather was dreadfully cold and inclement, I was already at the tram stop when I realised I hadn’t pocketed my wallet and had to return, so I took the opportunity of missing the rushed attempt to catch the first service to relax and have breakfast then plan for the second service instead – I probably was amongst the first to arrive primarily for the second service.

This week, I was already dressed up and ready to leave for the first service then decided it was better to have breakfast and plan for an early arrival at the second service, it also allowed me to take my morning pills at home rather than at church.

In fact, I am thinking of moving my pill hours from the awkward eleventh and twenty-third hour of the day to something more reasonable around the 10th and 22nd or the 9th and 21st – ideally, the last option is probably the best time, consideration of the 8th and 20th is a possibility too – I have to work on the logistics of the pill times.

The library is full

After church, I planned on spending a few hours at the Amsterdam Public Library [1], a 7-storey expansive edifice with reading tables, 600 computers split between Apple Macs and PCs, free wireless access upon registration, a number of theatres with performances, cafes, restaurants and all sorts of areas for many kinds of activities.

I usually take a place on the 5th floor which is quiet and secluded enough whilst offering the opportunity to study or do some work and even talk on the phone.

Arriving at a few minutes to four in the afternoon, the library seemed to be completely full, none of those seeming secluded places were available, I walked most of the floors to no avail, on a second run of the floors, I found a space on a communal table to do some work.

The serious youth of Amsterdam

I should have reckoned that with the mild sunny weather people would come out to play, but again, it was not like people were out to play but to read and study, the examination times for the universities, colleges and the like must be quite near.

One would be taken aback realising for once that there is indeed a serious side to Amsterdam youth and their education, it is unlikely that many of these people were out clubbing on Saturday night doing everything to excess and nursing hangovers on Sunday.

What church?

In the same vein, I do not think many of the attendees, who were not in hijabs and all those ostentatious turbans, warps and religious or cultural coverings had gone to church in this supposedly Christian country.

The Sabbath does not get observed anymore, from what I could see of the library this afternoon, very few were here with their kids running about and this could easily have been a weekday with work as usual.

If anything, the people of Amsterdam do come out to read and study, the library provides a great atmosphere to get things done, I wish them all good luck with their examinations – it is quite gratifying to see this, really it is.


[1] Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam – Public Library Amsterdam

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