Alle waarom heeft zijn daarom. “Everything has an underlying reason.”

So many things happen that I can’t explain while living on your own, living in Amsterdam, travelling Europe, or just trying to work out being a young adult in general. I decided to title this post with that particular Dutch proverb because I feel like no matter what happens over here, it was supposed to. Whether having (initially) just an acquaintance staying at your home or getting thrown off track while travelling, everything really does happen for a reason. Or you can choose to have resilience and accept it, therefore making it seem more natural, whatever works.

Where have I been? That’s something I’ve been asking myself also! My time was spent rotating between the Crea cafe (an adorable cafe attached to the UvA arts department), entertaining a friend from Claremont, and getting prepped for Dublin. I’ve also been spending time thinking about the fact that my friends here only for the first semester will be leaving in about a month and a half (or while I’m back in Dallas).

I loved having my girl Melanie (from Claremont McKenna but studying abroad in Copenhagen) stay with me for a few days. Melanie is an Environmental politics and economy major at CMC and I love that we’re basically in the same boat in terms of education and studying this topic abroad. EA majors in Claremont have mental crises every few weeks when we try figuring out why we put ourselves through such depressing and tough topics, but then we thoroughly enjoyed discussing carbon taxation in our free time, so maybe that’s why. She brought along her friend Danny, and the four of us spent time around Amsterdam and also went to the Amsterdam Music Festival (with Nat), and it was absolutely insane. The biggest Dutch house djs were there including Armin van Buuren, Alesso, and Hardwell. Amsterdam had their huge dance music festival last weekend and I guess over 300 different shows; that’s unheard of! Amsterdam Music Festival.

Luckily the weather was perfect that weekend. I talk about weather so frequently but it really determines what type of day you’re going to have. I met up with Melanie a few more times during the week when I wasn’t too busy studying. We went to the annual fall carnival in Dam Square and rode this giant swing thing that allows you to see Amsterdam from pretty high up. Spending just a few days with someone you only somewhat knew before can spawn such a friendship and I’m thankful Melanie reached out to me for a place to stay. Incredible!

"Around the World," our favorite ride at the carnival

“Around the World,” our favorite ride at the carnival

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After my exam last Wednesday evening I packed and got ready to ship out to Dublin to stay with my friend Ivanna’s twin sister (Ivanna is with me in Amsterdam and her sister studies at Trinity), and I met up with Ivanna and Kaitlyn there. That will be in my next post, but I wanted to cover my travel nightmares in this one (and not put such a damper on a post that should be about a glorious trip in Ireland!). My flight out of Eindhoven (1.5 hours away from Amsterdam) was rerouted to fly out of Maastricht due to too much fog– this entailed everyone on the flight loading onto a bus for an hour trip. Although I was obviously frustrated, I ended up getting to see the Dutch countryside for the first time. I saw the agriculture I study about and even traditional windmills. The country is flat but still beautiful. The leaves are changing but everything is still so fresh and green. I finally got to Dublin later in the afternoon than anticipated, but it ended up being alright. I met a woman on the bus from the airport to Trinity who was actually Dutch and so happy to talk to me about my time in Amsterdam and helped me navigate the city. Freaky coincidences happen every day, what a truly small world.

A Dutch sunrise, behind a dirty Dutch train window.

A Dutch sunrise, behind a dirty Dutch train window.

I’m not sure how much news about the UK hurricane is revolving around the US, but a pretty huge storm hit Europe today (not technically a hurricane but ridiculous winds). Luckily Ivanna and I flew out of Dublin before it occurred, but it became basically impossible to take a train back into Amsterdam from Utrecht because of electrical failures. A few people in Amsterdam even died because of this storm (falling trees), and that’s terrifying. Civilians were warned to stay inside and not to ride their bikes, so I guess you could say the weather was pretty serious. After 6 hours in the train station I finally made it home.  And again, as much as I wanted to complain about being stuck in the Dutch countryside, there was absolutely no reason not to smile when we finally got on a train to Central Station; you could watch sheep for miles out of the windows. The sun was starting to set under the dark storm clouds and everything was so green. Sheep and cows were grazing right beside the train and they were beautiful. No picture from the train could have done them justice.  I loved seeing the sheep while flying into Holland, but now I love seeing them from the train as well. The trees on this route were more bare and it felt more like winter than autumn, but nevertheless it was exactly what you might imagine from western European farmlands. I guess there are some upsides to unexpected changes in your schedule. That’s something I learn from studying abroad over and over again.

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