My friends and I have fallen into a routine. Every night, more or less, we cook our own dinner in our own rooms and come together in my room to eat all together. We sit cross-legged on the concrete floor slurping pasta or biting into some vegetables as we joke, laugh and catch up on our daily adventures.
About once a week when the conversation seems to lag a little bit, I call that we should play a game. That game is high/low. The rules are fairly simple. A person starts and says his or her low point of the week and then moves on and describes their high point. This simple game has become a ritual in our little circle.
At first, the highs would be going to museums or planning a trip and the lows would be that the Albert Heijn was out of peanut butter. As we’ve gotten to know each other better and better, our games have become an intimate reception for all things good and bad.
The lows can bring us to tears. Whether it’s crippling homesickness, a fall off of a bike or a bad grade, we feel each others’ pain. Sometimes lows cause hugs to be exchanged or chocolate to be dug out. Sometimes they are breathed in and out by the group before we move on.
The highs are often accompanied by large belly laughs and strange private jokes.
“Remember when Jimmy said he wanted to marry a cactus?”
“That time we started a U.S.A. chant at a pub in Liverpool!”
“Our trip to Texel.”
Highs can bring an overwhelming smile to all of our faces. I think the best high came from my friend Erin, who said:
“I just like being here with all of you.”
We have become a family. I can’t imagine being abroad with a better group of people. And that’s part of the reason these two months have been so amazing.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I’m Julie Alderman, a junior at the George Washington University studying political communication, and I’m ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Amsterdam. I love strong coffee, good writing and all types of music (from opera to country). I hail from Manlius, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse and I am ready to live it up in Amsterdam and travel all around Europe!</span></p>