Home. After a year away, it feels strange to be “home”. I say “home” because I have gained many a home this past year. I found a home with people from all over the world, with a language alien to me, and, most of all, in a little house in Uden.
I’d like to start by saying thank you:
Thank you to the other exchange students who opened my eyes beyond compare.
Before this year, I had a clouded view of the world. It was almost as if I knew there was this great big world out there, but I couldn’t actually envision how each part, or it’s people, lived. Now I know how to cook some Thai food, I know that swearing in Argentina is in fact very different than in Chile, and that Italians really can’t live without a good pizza. It’s going to take a big world tour in order to visit all of you - guess I better start planning.
Thank you V4D, my class, for allowing me to be a part of your little group.
Walking into your class on the first day of school, not knowing anyone within thousands of miles or how to speak a word of your language, was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Maybe hard isn’t the right word, but I definitely sweat through my shirt that day. I don’t think all of you realize the impact that you had on me. I’m not being dramatic when I say that each and every one of you changed my life. At the beginning of my year, Wout asked me if I thought you were all crazy. At the time, I said no. Looking back, the answer is definitely a big fat yes, but for all the right reasons. Whether you know it or not, this class taught me more about life than I ever could have hoped to learn at school and jullie hebben een grote plekje in mijn hart.
Thank you to my gal pals, for showing what friendship is all about.
In a group where you have known each other for years, you treated me as if I had always been a part. I’ll never forget bike rides in the rain or movie nights in. Festyland and Carnaval will always have a special place in my heart. However, I think my favorite moments were during “pauze” at school. I was the kid with nowhere to sit and you invited me in so wholeheartedly. It was in moments such as these that inside jokes such as Roos de Koe were born and I wouldn’t trade this wacky bunch for anything. My favorite thing about you guys is that each of you have such a distinct, individual personality within the group, and it just meshes so well. I’ll miss that.
Thank you to my host family, who became my true family in the space of a year.
I’ve learned more about love and more about family in this one year than throughout my entire life so far. Never would I have thought that I could love complete strangers as mijn echte familie in such a short space of time, but you made it happen. I can’t imagine what it was like to let this random teenage girl into your family, but I am eternally grateful to you. From you, I have learned that love looks different in every family, but the essence of love is the same. I felt loved while we played a board game and incredibly loved when you “named” me Belke. I know that no matter where time takes us, we will always be just a phone call away.
Honestly, I don’t know how to put the emotions of a year into a short blog post, but I know that I’ll never quite do it justice. This year has been the greatest adventure of my life and I’m heartbroken to see it end. My heart will forever be split between here and there, stuck on the magical year I spent in a little Dutch village. It was nothing that I expected, but everything I needed. My heart is beyond full.