Top Five Things I Miss About Utrecht
1. My beautiful bike.
I miss you, bike! I miss the sensible bike lanes, the sensible bike locks, the sensible bike rules. I don’t bike in America because I WOULD DIE. Nothing is sensible here, y’all. We have drive-through Subways. NOTHING IS SENSIBLE.
2. Albert Heijn
The song doesn’t lie — but I do kind of miss biking with groceries on my back, trying to get my bike in the rack (IMPOSSIBLE), the surly cashiers, the idiot shelf-stackers, and cinnamon ice cream.
3. The Domtoren bein’ real loud at inconvenient times.
Once, in a controversial blog post, I talked about my extreme dislike of kroketten. I came around, and now I actually miss them. Bizarre.
5. Intercultural learning
((hanging out with my Swiss family)
I MISS IT, Y’ALL.
You Will Survive: A Letter To Read Before You Study Abroad
I wrote this letter to my beloved MadSteb, who is studying abroad in Bologna, Italy for Spring 2013. Her blog has the best name ever, and I’m not even saying that because I suggested the name.
My dearest, darlingest MadSteb,
Today (or tomorrow, if you cheated, which I kind of suspect will happen), you become a woman, which is to say you hop on a plane that will carry you far, far away from me. Though I am sad and will miss you terribly, I am SO excited for you and all of the wonderful things you are about to experience. I am 100 percent sure that studying abroad will be the best thing you do in college, even if it feels really scary and hard sometimes.
It will, by the way.
You’ll get lost somewhere where they don’t speak English, and they don’t write English, and they don’t understand English, but they do have greasy, pervy boys who will follow you and stare at your boobs (you’ll of course be in a bathing suit or a lowcut dress) or creepy pickpockets who will steal your money (right after you’ve gone to the ATM) or scary grandmas who will yell at you about goddamn America (even if you swear you’re Canadian). You’ll sit in your apartment and be really sad sometimes, just for no particular reason. You’ll cry so hard in the airport TGI Friday’s that the awkward waiter will bring you napkins, and you’ll not be able to finish your potato skins.
These things will happen. These things will suck.
But you know what? You shall overcome.
You are smart, talented, beautiful and generally awesome. You will kick the asses, proverbial or otherwise, of these problems, and you’ll probably look like a combination of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler while doing it, which is JUST NOT FAIR.
And most of the time, you won’t feel like this at all. You’ll have such a good time that you might feel guilty about it, thinking about us peons at home, slaving away for the next Mass Comm Law test.
You shouldn’t do that either. You should eat ALL the pasta, see ALL the museums, go in ALL the sketch kebab stores, meet ALL the people, buy ALL the things at H&M, take ALL the days off from the aforementioned activities that you feel like, and you should have a damn good time doing it.
Here is my best unsolicited advice: don’t come back with more than $30 in your bank account. Take a night train in Eastern Europe for the lols. Go somewhere no one you’ve heard of has ever gone (for me, it was Belfast) and become very pretentious about this fact. Take a million pictures, and put them up unabashedly on Facebook. Assume that everyone cares deeply about everything you do (we do). Trust yourself. If you’re going to do pot in Amsterdam, smoke it, don’t eat it in a brownie. Sleep in public places. Do things that you will never tell any of us about until you get drunk. Gain ten pounds eating whatever you want, just because you can. Skip class to travel; you learn more outside anyway. Don’t be an Ugly American. Avoid EuroShopper beer. Seek out 2 euro wine. Eat the local cuisine, but feel NO SHAME in eating American food every once in a while. Watchseries.eu or a similar site are totally fine. Think a lot about how much better Bologna is than Norman. Don’t feel bad if you aren’t super excited to go home. Don’t feel bad if you’re so happy to be home that you can hardly stand yourself. And come hang out with me when the reverse culture shock (IT IS SO REAL) gets bad.
Trust me on this.
Lots and lots of love,