Just like a first year in orientation week, I am learning and experiencing constantly. There are back to back activities scheduled and mandatory meetings happening activity fairs are taking place outside. Organized chaos at its finest. Trying to do it all is tiring in and of itself, but trying to fully experience what you are doing is even harder with no rest inbetween. Two important lessons I had to relearn is that it’s okay to be tired, and that it’s okay to do things alone.
It can be so easy in the beginning to feel pressured to always be social and participate in every adventure that your group of newly-made friends may be going on. Yet some of my favorite memories, so far, have been discovered by myself. I spent a day biking around Amsterdam’s city center exploring local markets, boutiques and second hand stores. Once I was familiar with an area, I would lock up my bike (*very important step*), settle down by a canal, and have a mini picnic with me, myself, and I.This time alone allowed me to observe and to absorb my environment.
I enjoyed playing a little game with myself called “guess the tourist” when gazing at the bustling bike paths. It is quite amusing to watch all the newcomers make the same mistakes and experience the sharp learning curve that I too, had to learn when biking in Amsterdam. Just like being the first year traveling from, Minnesota to Eastern Washington for college, everything is new, everything is a little different, and it’s awhole lot of fun. It has been amazing to look back at photos from even the first week in Amsterdam and see how much I have changed, learned and grown in such a short amount of time. Time is already flying by, and this blog serves as a little mentalnote to take time to myself, slow it down, and appreciate where I am physically in the world, and where I am mentally in my life.