Southern Illinois University School of Law–Legal Globalization & Comparative Law 2014

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Amsterdam and the Power of Words

The last leg of our tour consisted of three days in Amsterdam.  First and foremost, I discovered that Amsterdam is the largest city in Holland, and Holland is a territory in The Netherlands.  This may sound very simple, but it took a lady in McDonalds, a debate among peers, Wikipedia, and a final conversation with a native of The Netherlands to get this answer!  

This basic fact in place, I must start this post by stating that this city was by far my favorite of the trip. We were able to take a canal tour throughout the city, stopping at the stops to explore all the shops and dine. On the canal tour, we were able to see the beautiful buildings that have been standing in Amsterdam for hundreds of years.  Taking in a deep breath in Amsterdam on a canal tour is exactly what I imagined Europe would be like. I really felt like I had explored other countries by the time we got to this portion of the trip. We were so busy in Germany, soaking up information and understanding international court systems, that this was the perfect opportunity to sit back and reflect.

This leads me to my deepest and most profound form of reflection I have ever experienced in my life. On Saturday morning in Amsterdam, we were able to go through the Anne Frank Memorial House. The Frank family moved to Amsterdam, Holland to escape Nazi Germany and hid in the house that still stands. Gradually ascending the house, floor by floor, reading quotes by Anne all over the walls, I was emotionally struck.  Anne was a brilliant young girl, aware of the world and able to portray it through words. Seeing the walls she pasted newspaper pictures all over with a pot of glue gave me chills, and feeling the darkness they lived in for two years moved me to tears.  I happen to think the power behind words is indescribable, and so did Anne.  All she ever wanted to be was a writer, and although her life was ended much too early, she became exactly that.  I bought the book in the bookstore in the museum to reread, and I am devouring every word. The entire trip, ups and downs, was more than worthwhile, for this experience alone.  I have a deep respect for Anne Frank, and she has inspired my heart to continue to express myself through words.

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~TB

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