There's No Crying in Amsterdam

Emily Xouris
March 9, 2015
Zaanse Schans windmills

A League of Their Own? There's no crying in baseball? Get it? Anyway... Why in the world would somebody be upset while studying abroad in Europe? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you should be excited and enthusiastic since stepping off the plane. Well, this is not the case. After the first week in Amsterdam, I experienced this uncontrollable bliss and happinness of being in a foreign country by myself. I could hardly sleep each night because I was thinking about all the new places and things I would see the next day. I thought that high would never end and I would skip over the homesickness stage of studying abroad. This false idea became total nonsense after this week. It started out slowly but gained momentum after I fell ill with food poisoning or some unknown stomach bug last weekend. I was terribly homesick and it took me getting actually sick to face it. I missed my friends, family, and pets. I also missed going to the store and knowing where everything is. I missed driving to wherever I needed to go without getting lost. I felt so selfish being homesick when I was experiencing something not everyone gets to experience.

Everyone experiences homesickness at one point or another. I experienced it the first night being in Amsterdam and then a month and a half later. There is really no telling when it will happen or how bad it will feel being thousand of miles from home. I think what made it worse for me was not keeping in touch with family and friends. I would send them texts occasionally but I thought it would be better to cut off communication such as Skype in order to lessen the desire to be back at home. I did not want to be that student who Skyped their family every night and missed out on the study abroad experience. After actually getting sick, I discovered how much I missed physically talking with my loved ones back home. I wished I was sick back in Kansas City rather than Amsterdam. The day after getting sick I stayed in my room in a depressed state, wishing I could see my family. I felt that familiar and terrible gnawing at my stomach which I knew would cause uncontrollable crying. Before that stage came (thankfully) my roommate told me she was going to take me to her secret place. Okay... sounds good, I guess. We walked less than fifteen minutes away from the apartment to a small dock resting against the sea. I had no idea we were so close to the water. We sat peacefully overlooking the water until a couple of violent ducks started fighting in front of us. Honestly, this made my whole week. We made our way back and I scheduled a Skype session with my parents. I discovered how much I needed to talk with them. It felt so good to see their faces and realize we really are not too far from one another. The moral of this story? There is a fine line between contacting loved ones too much and too little. It also takes a special moment, even as small as duck fighting, to wake you up from a homesick episode.

In contrast, I also want to mention my visit to Zaanse Schans, a small village outside of Amsterdam spotted with windmills. This was one of the best times I have had so far in Amsterdam. The town had a tourist vibe but was nonetheless a great time. It consisted of a cheese factory with unlimited samples, a clog making factory (my favorite), endless ducks swimming on the small creeks running through the town (I have a love for ducks so what?), and air which smelled like chocolate from the nearby chocolate factory. Heaven on Earth, right? The same week, I went exploring through the markets in Jordaan where I came across a friendly feline friend jumping from car to car. I then casually walked into an authentic Delft store where I purchased a small tray. Buying the tray was the best part. The cashier was possibly on of the most gentle and slowest human beings I have ever witnessed. Not an irritating kind of slow but the perfect slowness for someone to be working with breakable items. Later in the week, a group and I went into the Rijksmuseum library to study which, literally, looked like the Beast's library from Beauty and the Beast. Needless to say, I did not get a lot of studying done because it was so beautiful.

I cannot make every blog post enthusiastic and unconditionally superficial because that is not what studying abroad is. It is an emotional roller coaster filled with incredible happiness and incredible sadness. Ultimately, it is something not everyone gets to experience so I appreciate those happy and sad moments. The sad moments are what make the happy moments even greater.

Emily Xouris

<p>Although I am a Kansas native, I can honestly say I have never witnessed a tornado, tended to the farm, or religiously watched The Wizard of Oz. I am a studious college student who enjoys going into the city and testing new ethnic restaurants or going to a symphony performance on the weekends. This explains why my phone primarily consists of photos of food porn and Kansas City architecture. I study international relations and Spanish, both of which offer me a different perspective to the world beyond the Midwest. I often find myself distracted walking to and from class because I hoard pinecones and insist on showing my friends the ones I come across.&nbsp;</p>

Home University:
William Jewell College
International Relations
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