Porgy

Some exciting news! And as per my resolution, I’m writing a short entry without pictures or an elaborate plot. Progress!

Anyway. Pieter and I had to say goodbye to our beloved Clyde last week. (His real human, Hilary, is going to revamp a bookstore in Nova Scotia – which is very cool even if it means that Clyde is no longer on our continent!) We were set on getting a cat of our own to love but weren’t having much luck. On Saturday we made the treck out to Wateringen to check out the animal shelter. While it was a good experience, it seemed the only cats labelled as ‘indoor cats’ were the ones who had suffered in life or who were extremely scared and withdrawn. The inner cat-lady in me wanted to save them all, of course, but we did the wise thing and left without a new furry friend. We wanted one we could love for many years to come, after all.

I was feeling a bit hopeless. We were trying advertisements online and looking at other shelters but were having no luck … And then late Sunday night, after an episode of Boer Zoekt Vrouw (Farmer Seeks Wife), as we perused Marktplaats with little expectation, we suddenly found her.

One thirty minute tram ride later, we were in a foreign apartment, meeting our new kitty. She is about one year old and very small, but will gladly devour everything you put in front of her … A girl after my own heart! We wanted to give her a real ‘person name’ but, somehow, Porgy just fit.

We’ve only had her about 36 hours but I think it’s safe to say we’re both madly in love with her already. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve been warned: prepare yourself for an onslaught of cat pictures!

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!