I can now count my days left in Amsterdam on two hands. This is easily the worst part of living abroad: knowing from the beginning that it comes to an end and suddenly having the end thrust upon you. Now comes the question: how do I say goodbye to the people, places and things that changed me so much?
The people are probably going to be the hardest part. I know I’ve made friends here that I will have for life. I can’t imagine not being able to see some of these people everyday. And yes, technology like Skype and email make it easy to talk to people across the world all the time, but I can’t knock on my friends’ door simply because I’m bored. It took my a while to figure out how to best thank these amazing people (including those working in the IES Amsterdam office) for what has easily been the best experience of my life. I am in the process of writing each person individual letters. Small tokens thanking them and reminding them of the moments I’ll never forget that I spent with each of them. It is a little tedious, but it’s amazing to reflect on everything I’ve done and all my experiences. Also, it is a nice break from final papers.
There are places I will never forget. The simple beauty of walking through Dam Square with the Christmas lights lit up at night. Spui and Spuistraat a.k.a. the perfect place for people watching in the entire city. The Windmill bar. How does one say goodbye to all of these places? Lately, as I’ve been cramming for exams and writing papers, I take an hour and go through one of my favorite parts of the city by myself and reflect. Again, yet another way to distract from finals.
And lastly, the things. How will I live without stroopwafels? The bike bells ringing will not be nearly as loud. The blustering wind that comes when a tram passes. Now, I won’t be able to take that with me (except the stroopwafels) but every time I see something that I’ve lived with for the last three and a half months, it makes me smile.
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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>