Goodbye, 2013!

I’m sitting in the departures lounge at Pearson Airport, waiting to head back to ‘real life’ after a short but wonderful visit home for the holidays.

I feel like it’s been a big year.  The first half in particular seemed to bring stress after stress and, at certain points, had me questioning my decision to stay in the Netherlands.  I’d even started to half-believe in the unluckiness of the number 13.

But 2013 was also really good to me.  I got to go to London, to Rome, and even home to Toronto – twice.  I was visited by many friends and also by my lovely Maman, and I was lucky enough to have enough flexibility at my work to be able to properly enjoy their company.  I lost my job – but then, with blood, sweat and tears, and also the help of my wonderful Pieter, I got it back.  I learned to drop my pleases and thank yous and people actually listened.  I guess you could say I got the hang of the Dutch way (although I’ll still apologize to you if you run me over with your bicycle).

Campo dei Fiori - take me back!

Campo dei Fiori – take me back!

I got my master’s degree and my friends and family celebrated with me.  I started figuring out what I might want to do with that degree, and taking steps towards reaching my goals.  More than ever, I have a real sense of control over my own life.  (It may falter on occasion but I know it’s there!)

Celebrating graduation with amazing friends

Celebrating graduation with amazing friends

I had a realization recently while I was in Toronto for the holidays: that I in fact have two homes.  It’s a comforting thought, in a way.  No matter how long I’m away, my relationships remain strong (if slightly different) – something I was worried about when I first moved.  I’ve also managed to continue to fall more and more in love with both Canada and the Netherlands, whereas I used to think that to love one more than the other was inevitable.

(How’s this for a random entry?)

I don’t want to make a big list of resolutions, but I would like to share two.

First, I’m going to speak Dutch.  Actually speak it, and not just listen to it and then answer in English.  I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and try not to be too ashamed of my many MANY grammatical errors.  It’s high time I did!

Second, I’m going to experiment with this blog.  It’s not going to be perfect, and my updating record likely won’t be either!  But I love to write here and so far it’s brought me many good things, so I’m not going to stop.

On that note, I’m off to board my flight.  I wish everyone a great end of the year, and a very happy new year 2014!

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