I have just returned to the Netherlands after a five-week break. I ate a lot of festive foods and caught up with friends but spent a disturbingly large amount of time hanging around my cat Daisy telling her my secrets and imagining her replies.
I live in the South of France. It was fifteen degrees when I was there, I was prancing about in a t-shirt and I loved it. I don’t, however, love the French. It continuously baffles me how they can be so miserable when they live in such a ridiculously beautiful part of the world. But I’m used to them, they’ve been pissing me off for years.
What surprised me was how much I wanted to be back in Utrecht. I missed feeling short next to other humans. The French are so petite that they could fit in a Dutchman’s pocket. I craved the thrill of adventure that comes with exploring a new city and its hidden gems. I even missed riding my bike amongst a herd of Dutch commuters. But above all I could not wait to be reunited with my friends and rejoice in their foreign banter.
Before returning to Dutch turf I spent a week in the French Alps on my university’s ski trip. Ninety of us packed into one bus for a fourteen-hour journey all the way down to a land where gods and goddesses effortlessly glide down the slopes under the beaming sun. It was a fantastic week of eating overpriced Panini’s on the slopes, slipping on black ice, après-ski with Swedish men and light bonding with the Dutch.
I’m now back on campus and ready to take the new semester by storm. By that I mean making the absolute most of the time I have left in this country and ignoring most of my work commitments (bar my Dutch language homework, of course). I feel well and truly integrated into Dutch-land and will probably refuse to leave by padlocking myself to a bike rack. But I’ll cross that tragic bridge when I get to it.
It’s pouring with rain outside, I can hear the familiar Dutch twang in my friends’ chatter and I’m once again faced with revolting canteen food. This place is just how I left it and it’s wonderful to be back.