Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Less Traveled Road

I'm an extremely mobile person. Plopping down in a new and foreign place is generally a pretty effortless and exciting task for me. Perhaps too effortless. But as I'm about to finish the school year (finally!), bringing about a new set of changes and transitions (although I will fortunately still be in a Delft for a bit longer at least), I realized I'm getting really attached to my life here and this flat, grey, little country in general which is a frightening concept for a person who feels most alive when I'm meeting new people and exploring new places. I'm getting attached to:

  • Hopping on my bike and riding around to any place I need to go on the well organized and separate and FLAT bike lines. Any distance that is less than 15 km from my house is faster to reach by bike 90% of the time. I've taken this ease of transportation for granted and I'm too keen to lose it any time soon. 
  • The small and friendly health food store near my apartment. I pick up my weekly bag of fruits and veggies, buy my quinoa and beans and appreciate how the employees now recognize me and take the time to inquire about my well-being. 
  • My precious, precious Greek roommate. We get along so incredibly well I've almost forgotten how fortunate we are in this sense. Not only do we get along well but she is one of my dear friends here. While I have no plans of losing her, we will VERY unfortunately not be living together next year and every time I am reminded of this fact I get extremely sad. 
  • My football team. Joining a football club where many of the members have played together for nearly ten years might seem rather intimidating. But my teammates and the club atmosphere in general is welcoming, inclusive, and positive. I'm immensely happy that I'm finally playing the sport that eluded me for so long! 
  • Dutch directness. I've always erred on the side of speaking my mind too freely, but I've come to the conclusion that although we certainly need to pay caution to the words we speak, being direct saves so much time and confusion in the end! Working in Korea with a culture where the word no was practically forbidden, was beyond frustrating. I've taken for granted that I can get a direct answer to my questions and I don't have to doubt people's sincerity. 
  • My bike (s). I recently purchased a racing bike (his name is Joop--pronounce Yoop) so in addition to my rickety city bike that gets me from place to place, I've been taking advantage of the flatness of Holland and the well developed network of bike paths to cycle! 
  • Borrels. There is no proper English translation for this common Dutch word. The best translation would be something like cozy drinks. The word "cozy" or gezellig is very rooted in Dutch culture. Having a biertje (small beer) with friends after football or after a long day of courses and studying is so much a part of Dutch culture and I can't imagine life without borrels. 
  • My classmates. While I think we drive each other crazy half the time, we are also a close knit and friendly bunch. Next year we will all scatter to either study abroad, do different specializations (meaning different courses), or do graduation projects abroad (me!). I'm sad that our little group will split and I will dearly miss this funny, smart and diverse group.
As much as I love the experience of being in a new place and being inspired by new people, I actually HATE change and saying goodbye. How this is possible, I don't know. So while I'm thoroughly looking forward to my cram packed summer and the reunions and new faces that it will bring, I'm also thoroughly dreading the goodbyes and see you laters and closure that will occur in the next few weeks. The transient life is not an easy one.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by.  And that has made all the difference.”
- Robert Frost

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