Feeling blessed.

Good Evening!

I have just got back from a kopje koffi ( a cup of coffee for those who do not know Dutch), with one of my Dutch class mates. And I really and truly feel blessed,  and nonetheless content with how things are going during my time in the Netherlands at this moment in time, so much so that I want to share it with the rest of you. Although my Dutch is certainly not perfect, the fact that I managed to hold a so called ‘meet- up’ in Dutch, really showed how much my Dutch has progressed. The conversation just seemed to be a bit easier than it did two months ago, also I felt like my effort to try and speak the language has slightly paid-off, even if only slight.

A couple of weeks ago it seemed like the world was going to end, I had received some not-so good exam results, and was suffering with a horrible ear infection. That toppled with being in another country really seemed TOO much for me. I had the feeling that it would be so easy to just go home. But thank heavens I didn’t listen to that absurd advice. Its’ amazing what time can do to a situation and I can now look back and see that my feelings at that time were only temporal. Plus, were things even that bad actually? I should consider myself lucky, I have the opportunity to live in another country and go and visit so many beautiful places- not everyone has the chance to do this.

A valuable life lesson is: if something is not going right then do something to change it. You are the master of your own happiness, and only you have  the power to do something about it. This week I made the effort to go an see one of my tutors about my exam. This not only made me feel better about passing my courses here in the Netherlands, it also made me see why it happened in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I believe that everything happens for a reason, and only now can I see the good out of a situation, which I had considered all so bad at the time. When you move to another country or even another place, you always think ‘oh it will never be the same as home.’ Although this is true to a certain extent, I feel blessed at how at home I feel in Nijmegen and at the University here. I have made friends so quickly, and friends which I can speak to so easily, and in just the same way as I can speak to course-mates back home. For me that feeling is so precious. I noticed that today, more so than any other day. It’s just the small things, like what the picture below illustrates. For me I think it shows how quickly you can feel comfortable in a new place, and this is naturally helped by the friendly people that you meet. I am certain that some of my friends from my time in Nijmegen will be friends which I will keep in contact for a long time, and for that I feel truely grateful.

2013-11-27 16.21.19(Playing Guess who in the lecture ha!)


Pass me a crumpet please!

ImageHoi my dear readers, a little update on my Year Abroad , in case you want to know how I am getting on! Once again the last two weeks have been very up and down. For me I can have really good days and then suddenly it all comes crashing down, no middle ground! Nobody said living abroad was easy but I am getting much better at dealing with these Year Abroad situations by remembering the well known saying:  ‘it’s much better to laugh rather than to cry’- it actually works!

Anyway, the week before last was definitely one of my most favourite weeks of the year abroad so far. I think that’s because I went and explored some more,and got to see some familiar faces from back home. I think this is what the Year Abroad should be about- although we are meant to be here to study, we really need to make the most of the opportunity to see other cities and countries! On the Wednesday I finally went back to Amsterdam- it’s so strange that I haven’t really been there as much as I thought I would, and it’s so easy to get there too.  I went there to meet up with some friends coming from the UK, who came over for the Ajax vs Celtic game in the Champions League. I’ll say it was definitely a new experience for me, I literally thought I had been somehow transported to Scotland- soo many Celtic fans!  We walked through the streets of Amsterdam- took a quick wonder down to the Red Light district as you do there,  and went to a few pubs before the game started. Typical of the Netherlands, it rained most of the night (why is the UK known for its rain?)…. And the rest of the night was filled with lots of alcohol and yesss….

So on the Thursday Morning I woke up feeling not too fresh, it was good that we had breakfast included- that was definitely needed! SO after that we left for the train station and before I knew it I was on my way back to Nijmegen. I really wasn’t looking forward to having to go to my evening class, but I thought I better keep up appearances and at least be there in person- if not in mind! I had Friday to semi- recover before Germany, with only one class at uni.

This leads me on to my visit to Bonn. I had been looking forward to this ever since I booked my train ticket weeks ago. Finally I could see two of my good friends from Sheffield, I seriously can’t believe that the last time I saw them was June- how did that even happen?! I got on the train at 8:00 AM in Nijmegen- I certainly wasn’t looking forward to my changes. Knowing my luck I would miss the change over’s or end up in some unknown place. However, it all went smoothly, with a stop in Venlo and Dusseldorf on the way.  I arrived in Bonn about 11 and was greeted with a massive hug by Maisie at the Platform. She took me to a Coffee shop, I mean café, where Jack was. So I walk into the café and Jack is soo excited to see me that he nearly knocks himself out on the lampshade and I almost trip over the chair- however we both recovered well and I don’t think anybody noticed this! We had a well needed catch up about our year abroads and chatted for a while, like we had never been apart! After a while we went back to Maisie’s place, it was nice to meet some of her flatmates who were also from the UK on their Year Abroads. And …..it was very strange how one of the girls actually went to my secondary school before she moved to Scotland, and is also friends with some of my friends from back home- small world.  We had a nice dinner before our night out in Bonn- which was very enjoyable!

We all woke up pretty early on the Sunday morning, not feeling too bad actually and headed towards town and the train station! I had arranged to meet an old friend, who I went to sixthform with and she now lives in Cologne- not too far from Bonn! After a little catch up, I made my Imagejourney back to Nijmegen via Cologne and that was that! That week has made me want to go to another places, so I have organised a weekend in Belgium (I have never been there before), we are staying in both Brussels and Antwerp! Also, this weekend I shall be going to visit another Uni friend who is teaching in Leiden so  I have plenty to look forward to 🙂

As far as University is concerned, I don’t really have much to say to be honest. It’s also been good and bad. The good thing is that I have picked another module ‘City culture’ – which is far more interesting than Dutch Literature, and also  had the chance to meet some more Dutch students, which is  perfect for my Dutch 🙂 However the midterm exam results were pretty mixed, and all I can say is I hope I scrap through the last two months. Going to a different university makes me realise how much I enjoy being at Sheffield. But I know being here is a great experience and I will realise that when I have finished here. Plus. I have had the chance to meet some great people!

I have also started to miss all things British this week (its heading towards 4 months its only natural!) , for example Crumpets, Starbucks in walking distance, the UK Highstreet.. well the list goes on.  I think being abroad makes you appreciate your own country so much more and  you see all the good things rather than the bad things. So I think people should stop moaning about the UK, because it is actually pretty great, and I’m looking forward to raiding M&S, feasting on Yorkshires and buying out Top-shop when I return back to the homeland in a month’s time!

That was the latest episode, until next time!