“It’s time to move on, time to get going”

I’ve had this Tom Petty song stuck in my head for a few days. Unfortunately the song is about moving on from something that’s bad for you and onto something better, which just isn’t the case. Still, it talks about time, and getting going, which is exactly what is happening.

I’m currently in the Philadelphia airport and am already fussy. Delayed flights are one thing, dealing with delayed flights after being in such an efficient country is another. I also realized that I haven’t heard conversations in exclusively English in a while which was a bit of a shock. When I am around people speaking Dutch, I don’t really know what they are saying so I’m not affected. But here, I can hear everyone complaining again, and it’s actually really annoying. I want to go up and confront them. Just some little observations.

I’m also reading through the Pitzer guide to coming home and the challenges you face after leaving being abroad. Sometimes the transition back is even more difficult than moving away! A few things stand out to me. First, people who weren’t abroad have a hard time understanding reverse culture shock. They might expect you to be exactly the same, and although I don’t consider myself to have gone through a colossal transformation that makes me a different person, I am no doubt a changed person. I keep saying that I’m looking forward to applying what I learned in Amsterdam (about life, in school, everything) to my “normal” life, but, living in Amsterdam was my actual life. I was there long enough to call it my home, to fall in love with it, and it will be carried with me for the rest of my life. I wish I had Natalie in my pocket to relate to and have someone who knows exactly what I went through.

Another thing the Pitzer literature says is about comparing the cultures in a negative way. Whoops, already did that and I’ve been in America for like an hour! I just need to stay flexible, give myself some time, and do some cultural research to see what I missed. I know what’s going on with the world in general obviously, I wasn’t living in a hole, but I’m really curious to see what trends the kids are into these days in Dallas. I hear juice bars might be a thing now? I suddenly feel old and out of it.

Well, I really have no idea how to wrap this up so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Firstly, thank you to everyone that read about my journey and supported me throughout this entire year. It moved so fast, but when I think back at it, so much happened. I feel like I’m living in a dream and I can’t really fathom what I just did exactly. Second, I can’t even begin to describe how much I appreciate the friends (international and Dutch) that I made abroad and look forward to keeping up with them for the rest of my life. The people do make the place, and they all accepted me for me, supported me as well, and showed me so much about living well and positive outlooks.

So there’s that. I did it. I moved to Amsterdam alone and survived. I went to Munich, Dublin, The Hague, Prague, Rotterdam, Barcelona, and Lyon and loved every one in their uniqueness. I studied what I absolutely love and love environmental policy even more, especially in an international light. I will be applying to grad school in some international places and a Fulbright and will really look into my options to preserve this wide worldview. I will look back at all of these posts fondly, and I hope you all do too.

Tot ziens, beste, Lily

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