Giving Thanks

Hoi, alleman.

It hardly seems possible that I have arrived at my three-month marker already.  Well. I take that back. It kind of does. Time feels like is passes quite slowly here for me, but then every Thursday I tell myself I’ll read my assigned articles early. Then I wake up and it’s Monday morning and I’m scrambling to get to class and look for cards from my grandmas.

So, it more accurately feels like I’m in some sort of bizarre caffeine-induced time warp sprinkled with moments of clarity and excitement. Quite sobering when I actually reach a milestone in time where I have added another month to my conquest.

Today is one of those days– Though it heralds the conclusion to my third month, it also rings the bell of the first holiday I spend without being surrounded my friends and family.

I thought I would feel more homesick than I do. But instead I’m sort of filled with a bittersweet mixture of gratitude and sadness all at once.   There is a word in Dutch called ‘gezellig’ (roughly pronounced heh-sell-ick).  There is not English equivalent for it, because it is a word that describes an ambiance or essence of a place/person(s)/situation. English doesn’t have many words like that.  But if there was ever a situation in which this word is the first one my brain turns to for the US, it is the holidays. It feels like Thanksgiving at home: cozy atmosphere, lots of friends and family socializing, good food, and enjoying company. It is how Thanksgiving and Christmas feel. Thanksgiving is very gezellig, and I am sad to be missing out on the few times of the year I get to experience that word to its full effect.

However. I am grateful that I have had such good experiences to miss. Moving abroad for a good amount of time is by far one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. You gain a lot of perspective about what it is that defines you as a person, and the strength of bonds that you have.  And through every card, skype call, videogame, and text I get nearly every day from my fiance, my family, and my best friends, it is impossible to not be humbled that so many people are looking out for me and doing what they can.  You can only be so sad with a support group like this, you know?

 

Take the time to be thankful for everyone who has helped you find your adventure and leap head-first into whatever unknown you’re facing. I know I certainly am.

Tot de volgende keer.

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