One of the nicest things about having an “old” blog is the fact that I can borrow from it and that is what I am doing today. This was a post done in 2009 but the sentiment applies today. I know for a fact that I appreciate everything more than I did 7 years ago. I never thought that would be possible…
I titled it Blame it on the Dutch and when you read it you’ll see why. A few words have been changed and obviously added from the original post.
Many years ago, 38 to be exact, (OMG it is now 45 years) I had the opportunity to be an exchange student in The Netherlands. Right now I am screaming silently in my head- has it really been 38 years? (45 Years, how did this happen?).
I have to tell you that this experience changed my life in many ways and that is why I blame it on the Dutch.
When the opportunity to be an exchange student presented itself, I JUMPED on it.
I had never been to Europe, didn’t speak Dutch (took Spanish in high school), and had never lived away from home. I really wanted to have this experience and hoped I would be one of the lucky ones.
On the plane over to Amsterdam, I had second thoughts. What was I thinking? I don’t speak Dutch. Only one member of the large family I would be living with spoke limited English.
This could be a nightmare.
Actually, it turned into a life changing experience for many reasons.
It gave me confidence. I realized I could do something outside of my comfort zone and live through it.
I started to learn Dutch. Shaky at first, it was quite funny. The youngest kids in the family taught me little songs, etc. In return, I taught them English phrases and songs.
I still remember a bit. Ik hou van jou- I love you (but that is a whole other story).
The picture above is the house I lived in. I thought it was just perfect.
I always loved flowers. This love just grew in The Netherlands with flowers everywhere. As a girl, I would come home from Church and change my clothes so I could “help” a neighbor with his garden. As I look back, he had the patience of Job!
This photo was taken in the backyard. So peaceful. It had a happy vibe. I knew when I grew up I had to surround myself with what made me happy.
I learned to enjoy life, and savor every experience.
Beauty is everywhere, we just need to open our eyes. This experience opened my eyes. I learned to take chances.
We would ride our bikes through the woods.
I don’t mean little rides but serious (even Lance at that age would be shaking his head) bike rides.
I learned to really live in the moment but I knew I was destined to move to Europe.
And I did. Several years later, I moved to Switzerland.
The exchange experience opened my mind to possibilities and for that I am extremely grateful.
New addition 2016… Life is short. Don’t waste time on things that aren’t important to you. Take a chance. You will never know what could have happened if you don’t take that chance. This year I have taken some serious chances and I am so glad I did. No regrets and that is a good thing.