Monday, February 16, 2015

Over One Month Since Coming Home

It's weird to think that about a month and a half ago, I was still in the Netherlands, although getting ready to board a plane that would take me home to the U.S.  As I said before, I was beyond not ready to go home.  But I had no choice.

Now I'm home.  I returned to school, caught up with a lot of my friends (although not all of them yet), went back to work at O'Shaughessy Theater on my college campus, and just generally tried to keep busy.  That really worked for me.  Study abroad students who have recently returned from their host country or will in the next handful of months after their semester ends, I highly recommend this strategy, especially after making such an important connection to another culture.

Now that I've had a little distance from my semester abroad, I feel more comfortable going back to it-- looking at pictures, telling stories, etc.  My university runs an art and literary journal, so I decided to submit six photos from my European adventures.  Wish me luck on that front, I'd love to be published, even for photography (someday I'll get my act together and submit writing).  The Global Studies office at my school is also hosting a photography contest with the categories Cultural Connections and Katies Abroad.  I'm going to send in these photos later today.  Again, wish me luck!

What's weird is that when I look back at all of the pictures I took over Fall 2014, I get this feeling of disbelief that that's me in those pictures and that I saw those things that I photographed.  Those memories are mine, I know, but they feel so out of reach to me.  They happened so long ago, you know?

I've noticed a lot more Dutch things around me.  The gas station a few blocks from my house?  It's a Dutch company (Shell).  I see Old Dutch chips everywhere, once while I was at work I saw a lady waiting in line to get inside the theater and she was reading "The Goldfinch" based on the Dutch painting.  The teacher I volunteer for saw that I brought Stroopwaffels to put on my tea cup and she knew exactly what they were.  People pop up out of no where and they either know someone who is Dutch or have visited the Netherlands or passed through Schipol airport.  It's a small world and the Dutch seem to be everywhere.  In a way, it's comforting because it's like the country that I've grown to love so much isn't all that far away (or at least things reminiscent of that country aren't that far away).  

I'm doing okay right now, but I don't think that I'm engaging with Minnesota the way I used to before leaving.  I'd like to change that, since this state will be my home for the foreseeable future (not that it wasn't my home before, but my point is that my home feels different in a way I can't explain).  I need to start exploring parts of my state that I haven't already explored.

Traveling around Europe has sparked my interest in traveling once again.  I know that someday I'll return to Europe, but I'm ready to explore other continents now.  I think that South America is next.  Honeymoon in Ecuador?  Sounds good to me.  Australia sometime after?  Absolutely!  I'd like to go to a different part of Africa too, although I haven't decided where I would go or when I would make that journey.

So that's where my brain is right now.

Tot Ziens or Hasta Luego!


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