Friday, July 6, 2012


I had to look up the google translate for that word.... Onrustig in Dutch. And that's how I woke up this morning feeling... Today is my last day, its 10 am here, and I've got something that feels like it's going to be a long day today... I've done everything I needed to do before I left paperwork wise, said goodbye to almost all of my friends, went to the AFS end camp which was wonderful, but I'm still not prepared to go....

At camp we focused on three things, what we had learned, moving forward and saying goodbye. It was a very emotional weekend... I can't explain to you what it's like to be in a room filled with kids from all over the world, all hugging each other and saying goodbye. Some crying, others not. But everyone feeling the same exact thing. This is it. This is goodbye. But not farewell, oh no no. This is goodbye until the next time.

What a long day I feel this is going to be... My brother Brian is having a party tonight, and I'm not sure yet if I'll end up crying a lot or if I'll be happy... It's just so hard to leave. It might be hard to imagine that I've built a new life here, I have a wonderful family and a wonderful group of friends. And the hardest thing is, I've built a life that I like more than my other one.... and that's where I'm struggling. Everyone keeps saying oh but you get to see your old friends again, and your family. Yes, my parents will be there for me, but how many people have actually read this blog, or contacted me during the year... not as many as you'd think to be honest. I'll be fine next year though, after the culture shock goes away of course... because I've made friends here that I know will keep in touch with me, and people I know will be glad to see me when I come back on vacation. And I have a friend who was an exchange student in Norway and is going to help me a lot, because she just got home a week before I will. And she's going to be at the University in my town, so I'll have her to go to also. She's been a great help for me, as I have for her.

I think that when I go back I'll feel how much things haven't changed at home. Because I feel that I've changed a lot in this year, in ways I never thought I even would. There's been ups and downs, but through it all I've made it. This is the end of my year. And I've chosen to do something that many people never even dare to do. I think I Will keep blogging once I'm back in the states, because it makes me feel really good to write down everything I'm feeling. I've talked about how much I feel I have changed haven't I? The way that I look at things, or the way I talk to people... I feel I've changed so much. I couldn't believe it when I opened my letter up from the beginning of the year... the way I spoke to myself was mind boggling... I've gained a lot of self confidence in this year, and no one will ever be able to take what I've done away from me. And this, among other reasons is why it will be so hard to go home, because who even remembers what they were saying 11 months ago.

I'm going to miss the Netherlands. I hope I can come back here one day, and I'm going to keep speaking Dutch so I won't lose it. I'll miss biking to school... and biking with no hands, which took me a long time to learn. Or biking with someone sitting on the back of your bike, that I'll miss too... And of course I'll miss my family here, they've been such a big part in this year that you can't forget about someone like that. So this is it. I have to go finish the last few things I have to do today, and then well... just wait I suppose. And I have to keep telling myself:

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.


  1. Anna, I was going over some of my old e-mails and I had one from your Dad back in January. Your Dad and I met while in college in Erie, PA I still live in Erie. Your Dad suggested I take a look at your blog and it brought back memories of the brief time I backpacked through the Netherlands over 30 years ago. In the year that you've spent away you have gained a lifetime of experience. The friends you have made on your journey will always be with you. The richness you bring back to your life here will give you such a grand perspective and appreciation to all that surrounds you. Much happiness to you as you start your next adventure. Michelle B.

  2. Keep blogging!
    You've helped me so much and inspired me to start my own Netherlands blog soon. Every post I read here, it feels like I'm seeing in to the future.
    A friend came back from (a noticeably life changing year in) Italy and started a little job teaching kids who are going on his same trip Italian and giving them tips. The Netherlands isn't a very common choice but you could do something similar if you wish to keep the Dutch you already know.
    I'm starting my adventure, you and the AFS people I've met so far have restored my faith in humanity. Good luck and good life (:

  3. Having traveled to many different countries for extended stays, I have felt the culture shock that you are anticipating. It's hard at first, goes away with time, and most importantly your view of life and the world will forever be different than many Americans'. Ironically, I also moved during high school for a year and a half and then moved back to my original school. I was surprised by how much my old friends had changed and how easy it was to make new friends who shared my new interests. You have had an amazing experience, taken risks, and learned so much. I'm so happy for you, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing you again soon :)
    Mrs. Clark Evans

  4. As I take my first trip to the Old Country, I can't help but be in awe of what you have done in the last year. Cycling being my constant friend for the last 13 years, makes me imagine what it would be like riding everyday to school and back! What a self-health care plan! They probably save millions in health care. Congratulations Anna on your many accomplishments this past year.