In a mere three days I will cross off six months of being abroad. Part of me feels like its been an eternity since I left and the other part feels like I only left yesterday. I have witnessed so many things, felt so many emotions, laughed, cried, appreciated and cursed at what life has thrown me in the past six months but I wouldn’t take a second of it back. I’m still on the search to find who I really am and I’m still making mistakes that I shouldn’t be but I am in a much better place emotionally and physically than I was before I left.
My top five moments of the past six months..
– Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. Seeing something first hand that you have seen a thousand pictures of is a feeling you can’t describe. It took me two days to realise that I was actually in Paris and by this time we were driving out of it. Nonetheless seeing the grandness of the Eiffel made me realise I had done it, I’d achieved my dream of coming to Europe and there is nothing that can replace that feeling.
– Breathing in the impossibly fresh air in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, and standing in the campsite surrounded by snow capped mountains. Despite a wicked hangover and an approaching cold, I felt so healthy and free in Switzerland. The air was invigorating and for the first time in a long time, I felt so alive.
– Meeting my host family for the first time. Actually no, the moment when I first felt at home with my host family. Having a family of strangers welcome you into their home is one thing but making you feel like a part of the family is another. Its the smallest things like enjoying a glass of wine with my host mum to having a special handshake with the girls that make me grin bigger than the Cheshire cat.
– Walking the dog through Scheveningensweg Park. Theres something about the crisp winter air and the crunch of the gravel under my runners that makes me feel so happy. Whenever I’m feeling a bit lost or not my usual chirpy self, I grab the dog and set out for the park and every time I come back feeling like the world is back spinning in the right direction. The mix of endorphins, fresh air and the absolute joy that the dog gets from running around makes me realise how lucky I am and how grateful I am for this experience.
– Laughing til my sides actually hurt with my new au pair friends. With the crazy mix of Spanish, Hungarian and Australian, my three closest friends here are what makes my time here the most memorable. The conversations, the nights out, the language barriers and the endless coffee drinking have bound the four of us in a weird and wonderful way. Coming home from Belgium with these girls, feeling like I have cemented in friends for life was the pinnacle of the past six months and these girls friendships are ones that I want to keep for a very long time.
Of course there are about one zillion other incredible moments but I think I would wear out my keyboard from typing them all down. Along with these experience I have learnt a lifetime of lessons – but here are my most memorable ones.
– Friends are easy to make. Being the eternal worrier that I will be the dork with no friends, coming to Europe has slowly shaken that concern. From the Topdeck trip where I had an instant family of about 36 people, to coming to Den Haag and making friends faster than I could master bike riding one handed it made me realise friends are just strangers you haven’t met yet. And meeting them is a breeze.
– In saying this – friends are easy to lose. And sometimes, you just have to let them go. Moving away from my Aussie friends have determined which pals will stay in my life and who won’t. Its nobody’s fault but sometimes not being with a certain person on a regular basis means you move on with life. And its okay. There is a reason they came into your life and a reason for why they left.
– Sometimes you just have to YOLO. Whether its deciding to turn a quiet drink into a absolute bender, or forgiving a boy who hurt you, sometimes you just have to remember that this life we have is the only one we get so we have to make the most of it. Yeah, you might end up battered and bruised, but you could also end up making the best decision of your life. Sometimes you just have to take life a little less seriously to actually live your life and not just exist.
– Being a health nut is good. But so is enjoying food. Before I left I didn’t have a totally strict diet, I just didn’t indulge as much as I do here. Living out of home meant I was cooking for myself, which meant alot of salads and no naughty temptations in the cupboard because I just didn’t buy them. Moving into a home with snacks galore and bread and cheese up to my armpits meant that my diet has slackened off incredibly. I have tried to maintain a healthy diet and I somewhat succeed but sometimes you just have to eat the Nutella out of the goddamn jar. And enjoy every last spoonful.
But I guess the biggest thing I have learnt over the past six months is to love again. Not so much love for another person.. But to love myself, my choices, my experiences and my life. I’ve fallen in love with the world and I’m picturing us growing old together happily. And it looks rather good.
From the girl who is feeling rather deep and insightful after writing this.