A week ago on Monday I had the panicky realization that I am halfway done with my semester abroad in Amsterdam. A million thoughts have raced through my head this past past week: How did the time go by so fast? I still have so much I want to do! Where is all my money?! Why don't I feel like I've done anything? I haven't done anything. The paralyzing fear of wasting my time has been like another person sitting on my shoulder whispering all of my failures and shortcomings into my ear. I also have the added complication of being a college senior, meaning I'm going to graduate in May. I need to look for jobs, I need to patch up my resume, I need to think about where I want to be come next June, I need to do a million things that have nothing to do with enjoying where I am or taking advantage of this experience. But how could I possibly think about anything other than Amsterdam and travel when I only have nine precious weeks left?!
So yes, my mind has been a bit hectic this past week and thinking about a theme for a blog post was just not an undertaking I could consider. Then last week we had a mandatory check-in meeting with IES Abroad to consider the progress we'd made thus far and to discuss the coming opportunities and goals for the final half of the trip. In the first meeting we had, ten weeks ago, we made a list of ten goals we wanted to accomplish in our time abroad. Our IES Abroad coordinator asked us to look back at those goals this week and reflect on our progress. I had completely forgotten about my goals and realizing that this direct representation of my inadequacy exists, made me feel sick. Just today I dug up my list of goals and to my incredulous surprise, I have completed eight of my ten goals already.
So I have been doing things! I think I forgot just how little I knew the city before I got here, and just how alone and confused I felt (in a good way). Now I feel like Amsterdam is a place I could easily call home, and I do when I come back from traveling! I've joined a dance class taught in Dutch, I'm able to get many places around the city on bike or on tram without directions, I've traveled to four Dutch cities outside of Amsterdam, I've been to at least ten museums, I've biked into the Dutch countryside, I've traveled to Ireland and Belgium, I've been to a concert alone, and I've learned more Amsterdam history than I thought possible. These things were goals that I made for myself ten weeks ago and I accomplished them all without even thinking about it. So I deserve more credit than I'm giving myself. What better way to celebrate all I've done thus far than by sharing photos! I haven't posted many pictures on this blog (because I am tech-challenged and really can't figure it out) but without further ado I'm going to share some of my favorites. Enjoy!
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<p>I grew up in Ipswich, MA an incredibly beautiful (though much too small) town on the northern coast of Massachusetts. I began college in 2013 at the University of Rochester, planning to major in Brain and Cognitive Science. I ended up having to take some time of of school for health reasons and I was lucky enough to travel to India for three months where I backpacked with a gap year program called Carpe Diem. It was the most incredible experience I've ever had, how could it not be. But to be honest it feels surreal now. I am so excited to get back to living far away from everything familiar to me. When I came back to U of R in the winter of 2015 I decided to major in English and Anthropology and now my dream is to work for NPR. These days I'm usually listening to a podcast or book on tape, reading, or writing.</p>