I began the year surrounded by friends and in the arms of the man I love. Since then I have seen the sky above the clouds, dipped my feet in the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and ridden a bicycle in the South of France. I have gone thousands of miles further from home than I had ever dreamt I would.
I’ve walked the streets of London and cried tears of joy over the sheer beauty of one of it’s bookstores. I’ve tasted award winning wines in a chateaux and spent far too many euros at the carnival. I’ve sat seven long hours for a connecting flight and earned the stamps in my passport. I’ve watched the rolling fields of Flanders and the rocky forests of the Ardennes from the window of a train. I’ve ridden all of the roller coasters in three theme parks and watched video game themed fireworks in awe. I’ve thrown myself into a pile of 50 beanbags and learned to barbecue fish with wine.
I’ve sat in the garden and painted the flowers, cuddled in a tent in a thunderstorm and visited Platform 9 and 3/4s. I’ve danced among the masses to music so loud that I needed earplugs to protect my ears. I’ve stood inside churches five times older than my country and stood on beaches where wars were waged. I’ve seen the flags of Europe wave in the setting sun and been humbled by how young I am in a world so old.
I’m learning more everyday about how to be a couple that’s separated by 5000 miles and yet continues to thrive. I’m learning to speak and write Dutch, something I never thought I would be capable of. I’m discovering how to be comfortable both in solitude and in taking risks. I’m learning that perhaps I was never meant to take a normal path, but to carve my own out of the materials in front of me.
I end this year looking back on the amazing, welcoming people I have met. His generous, loving parents. His kind, quiet brother. The friends who invited me to play games with them or to join them on adventures. The friends who taught me terrible words, taught me to BBQ and make sushi. The friends who drove us, housed us, guided us. All of the people who took interest in the abnormally quiet girl, so out of her element that she barely recognized herself. Thank you for the efforts you made and the confidence you gave me. I won’t forget it.
I have made my life into something that requires risk and faith and overcoming a lot of fears. I’ve lost sight of old goals, old friends and my old path. I’ve stepped extremely far outside of my comfort zone, left behind everything I knew and dedicated myself to making sacrifices. It’s become something that requires hard work and dedication and long, lonely hours. It has become something worth the trouble, something worth following.
Cheers. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and I hope to see you all again soon.