I don't really make New Year's resolutions but if I were to one of them would be to write more and update this blog more. Compared to my thoughts and posts in Uganda I feel like I have nothing significant to say about life in the Netherlands. Someone has already written "Stuff Dutch People Like" (I may create a Ugandan version though, now that I no longer work for SP), I'm generally not confronted with daily life-changing lessons like in Uganda nor do I have the strange cultural interactions of Korea. However, since I know some people read this blog to simply keep updated on my life, I thought I would share random thoughts, events, and stories periodically (probably only when I'm procrastinating on doing something else, like right now). The last month and half, although lacking in the daily challenges that Ugandan life provided, has had its own share of humorous and unfortunate events.
- I truly am my father's daughter. When our apartment was broken into in November I had arrived home very late from a football match in Amsterdam. Upon arrival I noticed that our kitchen window was open. Often our apartment gets stuffy and we open the window; therefore I just assumed this was why it was open. Since it was late I also assumed my roommate was already in bed and didn't bother actually checking her room. Exhausted and just as I was about to dose off my roommate knocks on my door in a panic asking if I had opened her window. No. Shortly thereafter we discovered that both our laptops were missing. As any normal person would react my roommate was a bit panicked: "We've been robbed!" Since by this point it was about 4 am and the only thought on my mind was sleep, I couldn't bring myself to feel panicked or stressed. The problem could be sorted in the morning right? Fortunately, my roommate convinced me to call the police and have them come and file a report. Again, like a normal person she was unable to sleep while I promptly collapsed into bed and fell into a deep slumber only thinking about the 9 am meeting I had the next day. I have now warned her that I am virtually incapable of doing significant tasks at night and it's best just to force me to do things. In the morning however my reasoning capabilities are at their best and my mind is free and clear to do anything. This realization is a bit frightening, knowing how my dad reacts to similar late night catastrophes.
- In the last month I have managed to take the wrong key off my keychain when leaving for a run only to get locked out of my apartment, get hit on my bike by a scooter (not my fault), and drop my key off my eight story balcony into thick bushes below. So much for life in Holland being boring compared to Uganda. Perhaps my constant need for change and adventure has caused me to subconsciously create misfortunes to keep life interesting.
- For the first time in my life, I've found a church that I love and am beginning to feel a part of. It is diverse, has a big focus on social justice, and is filled with well traveled inspiring individuals.
- Loving the work you're doing makes a remarkable difference when you're very busy and overloaded with work. Although I've never been a slacker per se, when faced with work I dislike my motivation is extremely low. For the first time, I might almost be considered an over-achiever (but this is still too strong a word to use).
- Delft feels so much like home it's actually terrifying. Although I've wanted a dog for some time, my dog yearnings are getting stronger and stronger and may actually materialize into taking action (don't tell my apartment company).
- On a similar note, I really think I'm aging (or perhaps finally becoming mature?). Although lately I've been having some serious wanderlust pangs, I've also been considering not studying abroad next year because I feel so settled and happy in Delft (What?!). I have little to no desire to stay out late on weekends and would much prefer going to bed early and waking up early to go running (okay, maybe this isn't a change... haha!). I actually spend money on proper food without having a heart attack about the cost. And most recently I came to the realization that maybe it's occasionally worth spending 50 euros more to fly on a proper airline or save hassle in some other area. I've also contemplated foregoing the hours and days that I often spend evaluating any major purchase for its thriftiness. Perhaps the next step will be reducing my risky behavior (probably not likely if I am my father's daughter)?
- Visiting the US truly felt like a visit. And with each return I feel more and more disconnected in the US. Sometimes this makes me very sad but I think it's too late to fix it. I was frightened at the seemingly unnecessarily wide roads, frustrated with all the driving we had to do (I think the distance I traversed would have carried me through all of the Netherlands), and shocked at the clothes that some Americans felt were appropriate to be in public in (I'm not judging, it just surprised me. The scary thing is used to be one of those people and now I find it shocking). On the other hand, I appreciated the diversity (even though the Netherlands is also quite diverse), friendliness of random strangers, and the long time friendships I have in the US. I love my family and American friends dearly and I don't know how to resolve this love with my love of the unknown and new and the feeling that my heart is scattered all over the world. For those of you who perceive my confusion over perhaps common Americanisms as dislike for my country or snobbishness I apologize that it may have come across that way. Try living in four different countries, surrounded by an extremely diverse group of people for 2.5 years and then try to reintegrate into your old life. It's virtually impossible.
- After spending most of my life wishing I had played soccer, I am finally on a team and loving every minute of it. Even though I lack skills, I am getting lots of positive feedback and help. It's never too late to start something new!
On a concluding note, my visit to the US also reminded me how all my friends are in different places in life. While I suspect we can't all completely relate to each other since so much has changed over the last two plus years, I deeply appreciate and value all my friendships. I sincerely hope we can continue to stay in touch and understand each other in spite of our different places in life. Likely I will never reach many of the life goals some people have set for themselves and I'm sure that most people will not have any desire to do the ridiculous things I do. Regardless of the direction our lives go, I love you all and hope that we can continue to stay in touch!