Happy Endings

With the end of 2013 came several other endings in my life. My adventures in the Netherlands came to a close and I am now back in Ireland, partially homeless, but back to work and quickly falling back in love with the hospitality industry again. I said goodbye to the wonderful people I have spent the last 15 months with, unsure as to when I will see them next. I have officially completed my masters degree and will be graduating in June. I am no longer the eternal college student, which will be an adjustment in itself, however for the first time in almost 8 years I have these things called days off and frankly, I have no idea what to do with this free time! With all these endings going on, quite a few people have remarked that I never concluded my Dutch Adventures with a blog. I am honestly overwhelmed by the amount of people who have joined me over the last few months and even more touched at the people I know in my personal life that also tuned in, even just a couple of times. I am genuinely touched at the feedback I have received, so because of this, I give you the end of my three months in Holland.

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My closing weeks in Utrecht were spent intensively working and preparing for final presentations. Very boring! Somehow though, I managed to squeeze in a bit of fun with my friends, going for dinner & drinks, revisiting the places that I loved and truly taking in this charming city that I called home for three months. I lost count of the number of times I took the ‘long’ way home around the park just to catch a glimpse of my favourite house with the two-story-tall bookcase! Those last few weeks reinforced my love of the country and I fell head over heels for it again – the culture, the people, the lifestyle, the buildings, the parks, the canals. On my last day, I had to sell my beloved bicycle. I was heartbroken. My bike was my baby and it felt like I was losing an integral part of myself. It was like I was giving my child up for adoption. Luckily, I found it a good home with a lovely French girl who promised to send me pictures of it via Facebook from time to time, just so I knew it is being treated and looked after well!!

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Those last few weeks also taught me a lot about myself. Without sounding too cliché, I met someone who I spent a lot of time with and in turn, made me question a lot of things I thought I knew. I’ve never thought of myself as typically Irish, but I quickly learned that I am very much an Irish cailín, and also that I am hugely proud of this fact. As I’ve previously said, the Dutch are very direct people; the complete opposite to the enigmatic Irish, which was extremely refreshing! Ironically, I am fully aware of how cryptic I am being right now, so I’ll swiftly move on…

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I’ve been told that Holland has changed me. And maybe it has. Little did I know three months ago that a little bit of my heart would be left in a country that means so much more to me than I ever thought it could. It simply means that I’ll have to go back at some stage to reclaim the part of me that I’ve left behind!

Until the next time,

Charlene

xoxo

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