When I had to leave the Netherlands in January, the most obvious change was the geographical move. Here we were, Beertje and I moving from a busy city in the Netherlands to a quiet smaller place all the way in South Africa. However, the biggest change entailed a move in an emotional sense. One which I had tried to prepare for but could not have understood until after it actually took place.
Truth be told, I never cared much for the Netherlands. I hadn't really warmed up to the place in the year and a half that I had been there and I might never for years to come. To me it's a temporary rest stop, a means to reach certain ends. And although I must admit that I've had amazing experiences there, I can't say that I've developed an emotional attachment to the country itself.
However, being away has made me realize that living in the Netherlands means something different to me than I had originally thought. It isn't just the land of cheese, cold weather and Beatrix; it's the land where the people that I love are. My close friends who have become like my family. The people I adore, trust and can always count on. Some of them teach, some of them sing, some of them draw, some of them make music, some of them stay up with me every night, some of them have been in my life since I can remember. Some of them are the best conversation partners and others make me laugh hysterically. But they are all unique in their own way. Trying to explain my friendships back home to people is futile, as there are no words that can do them justice. I already knew I'd miss them all dearly when I left. I acknowledged that I was lucky to have something which made saying goodbye so hard. Nevertheless, being gone for almost 5 months now I can say that I am even luckier to have something which makes saying hello again so wonderful.
At the same time, I didn't expect to meet people in South Africa that would come to mean so much to me in so little time. People who have opened their homes to me, who have made me a big part of their lives without any questions asked and who have showed me a lot of love and care. What a truly pleasant and fortunate surprise. If a person's life can be compared to a train moving forward through different stations with different passengers continuously hopping on and off then some of the people I've met here have just been temporary companions along the journey. They've accompanied me for the ride before they hop off at another station and embark on a new train. I might never see them again but they made the ride worthwhile for the time being. But a few of them have become so irreplaceable to me that they have been assigned a permanent seat on the train. I hope they never get off as I intend to have them be a part of my life for a long time to come. (And there have been others that I just want to push in front of a train, but this blog entry is not about that so let's carry on with the positive vibes shall we).
|Hiking trip at the Drakensberg|
How strange it is to fly across the world and meet people who are so much like you. How even stranger it is to not be able to imagine your life now without someone you didn't even know 6 months ago.
|baie liefde vir hierdie meisie <3|
I left the Netherlands a nervous girl with nothing to comfort her but a worn out bear. And as I clung on to that bear like my life depended on it the first weeks, I've found that no matter where you are, it's who you're with that makes it worthwhile. How lucky am I to have the most amazing people around me everywhere I go. To all of you, you are loved more than you would ever know.