Living in: Den-Haag
Zoe moved here for adventure and a change of scenery. She says the biggest challenge by far was getting her luggage from Schiphol Airport to her new house-share in Amsterdam. She had arrived with a backpack (about half her height), a duffel bag and a big suitcase she’d left in storage while she backpacked for 6 weeks..
At Amsterdam Central station she lost hold of her suitcase and it slid down to the bottom of the stairs. It made such a noise that people everywhere stared at her. Zoe says she was so embarrassed and so tired she was ready to give up and leave the luggage where it had landed.
But a woman Zoe didn’t know came to help her. They struggled, but they got all the luggage back up the stairs. On the way up the woman gave Zoe encouraging words, telling her it’ll get easier and soon she’ll hardly remember how tough this day was.
Time for goodbye and Zoe thought of a packet of chocolates in her bag as a thank you gift for the kindness the woman had shown her.
She dug into her handbag and instead of pulling out the chocolates she pulled out a bag of white powder. Zoe was mortified, it looked like cocaine.
It was actually washing powder – she always travelled with a small bag for emergency handwashing when she couldn’t find a launderette. Panicking, Zoe convinced the woman to smell the powder.
Swapping the bag between them got the attention of the station police who of course came over to question them.
So there they were – Zoe, a stranger and 3 station police. Standing in a small circle all sniffing a lavender-scented bag of white powder while onlookers took photos.