I’ll see you in Amsterdam

Sometimes we have to wait a long time to see those we love. When I moved back to the Netherlands that is what happend. I left my Spanish friends behind. Luckily we can catch planes and last week I met a dear friend in Amsterdam. So how was it?

First of all, I know that the Netherlands is a small country, but for Dutch people traveling from one side to the other feels long. My boyfriend and I took the train and it took us a whole two hours! Yes two hours to go from the east (I live almost in Germany) to the west. Ok, my friends had to travel three hours by the plane, so I won’t complain, but I did cross my country twice that day. Just saying.

Going to Amsterdam to me also feels like being a tourist on a day-trip, although I used to work there. What did we do as ‘tourists’ when we got there? You probably know all the stereotypical things about Amsterdam? Eating cheese, drinking coffee and shopping? Oh no, I meant the other more controversial things, even though what’s on your mind is not controversial in my capital city.

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So now imagine some Spanish and Dutchies in a boat on the canals of Amsterdam. Passing by cool boat houses and having a little picnic. What did my tourist friends bring? Some beers, some chips and some marijuana. I personally don’t smoke, but it was a funny sight to comply with the stereotypical tourist activity.

But what was the best part? To see my friends and especially my dear friend Amanda. It had been a year since I last saw her and a lot had happend. Of course we already knew the big things, but now it was time to share the details around the big things. She got engaged, so I wanted to know exactly how her boyfriend proposed and the wedding is going to look like. And I got to share the details of how I met my boyfriend. Just the typical girl-friends stuff.

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And what is the good thing about amazing friends? It literally doesn’t matter that a year has gone by and that you live on opposite sides of Europe, because when you’re together it’s like no time has past. It’s exactly the same as when we would meet every week opposed to meeting just once a year. And that we got to meet on little boat cruising the canals of Amsterdam made it all the more fun. Because let’s be honest who doesn’t have fun in Amsterdam?

Can we start over again?

With the end of the year approaching people usually start talking about what they want different for the next year. All the things they didn’t do and all the places they couldn’t see. But what about the things you did do? Perhaps that matters even more.

When I think about everything that happend in 2017 I almost can’t believe that all happend in the same year. I’ll give you a very short summary. If not this will become a book and not just a blog. Maybe I can add writing a book to my list of things to do for 2018.

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So, what did happen? Well, there were a lot of changes. As you probably already know, I moved from Spain to the Netherlands. I even moved back to my hometown to be close to my family and friends. That meant getting a new job and a new home. I also started running, which was my biggest fear for a long time. After a few months I called it quits on the gym, but I’m still running.

And in between all the changes I also got to enjoy some holidays. My mom and I went to the Italy and had a little road trip there. I also went back to Spain to visit my friends and in the beginning of this year I went skiing with my grandparents in Austria. I guess I can’t say I didn’t go anywhere this year.

Looking back at the past year would I change anything? Probably not, not even the messy parts. Sometimes it’s scary to start something new, because we don’t know how it will end. On the other hand that’s the beauty of it. We shouldn’t know all the details yet, because life is in the details.

Are there things I wish I could’ve done and didn’t do? Oh so many things! But it’s never too late. We’ ll have a new year soon and therefore a symbolically new beginning. Even though I believe that every day can be your new beginning. You don’t need to wait a whole year to make a change.

So while we are approaching the new year I’m excited and a bit anxious. One of my best friends just had a baby and she will have her first year as a mommy. My other best friend is getting married and will have her first year as a wife. And what will I do? I don’t know. I have no clue. Don’t think I’ll be moving to another country again, but who knows! No mom, don’t get scared, I really won’t. At least I don’t think so.

What I do hope for the next year is that I’ll keep on growing as a person. I can see a huge change from last year until now. I’m a lot stronger, also physically and that’s probably because of the running. But how do you keep on growing? Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Keep trying new things and making new adventures. But remember as I said before, life is in the details. So don’t forget to enjoy every bit of it.

On to the next phase

Do you know the feeling? When you realize you and your friends are moving on to the next phase. It’s no longer partying in the club every weekend, but it’s talks about weddings and babies. Suddenly you notice that not just your life, but also your friends lives are changing. What will this mean for your friendships and for yourself?

So I guess this usually starts when you’re in your mid/late-twenties. I remember thinking for a long time that I wanted to start a family as soon as possible. That was until my nephew was born. Don’t be mistaken I adore my nephew, but when I saw him for the first time I realized that I wasn’t ready for that kind of responsibility. I was twenty-three so there was no rush for me to start either.

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I don’t know what happens when you turn twenty-five, but out of nowhere everyone around you is having babies. Ok, some of my friends who started having families were a bit older than me, but still it makes you think. When also my father was having babies again it really made me feel I was falling behind. Then again I travelled, lived in several countries and speak multiple languages, still no rush. I’m ok.

It’s when your best friends are moving on to the next phase of their lives that you will change too. You’re preparing a babyshower and the talks are about which baby clothes will  look good, no longer which dress to go out in. Of course that can still happen too, but the change is also kind of beautiful. And you suddenly feel like such a grown up. Baby talk, who would’ve guess that five years ago?! Now one of my best friends is almost ready to have her first baby and I can’t wait to become an aunty. I also can’t wait to see how our friendship will evolve having this new miracle added in the middle.

One of my other best friends is getting married next year. Another exciting event I can’t wait for to happen. We already went dress shopping and I’m sure she will look amazing and will be a very beautiful bride. I’ve never been a bridesmaid, but now I will be. We already had a meeting with my friend the bride and the other bridesmaid. No longer talks about nights in the club, but talks about the bride maids dress and the bachelorette party. So that phase will be ended with a sparkling boom.

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And what about me? Well I’m not getting married yet and not having a baby either. I do have two dogs who are like children to me. Does that count? Well to me it does, so I guess that’s all that matters. I’m getting tired of the question though when I’ll have babies. So please don’t ask me that again. Just because I’m twenty-seven and a woman doesn’t mean I want to answer to that question all of the time. If you do ask me, I might just answer that I have two sons. Yes they’re adopted and a bit hairy, but who cares?

It is a nice feeling though that everything is falling in to place. My friends are settling down and I’m back in the Netherlands, so I can witness it all up close. And I’m so happy that my friends are happy and that we’ve grown from teenagers into real mature adults. I can’t wait to see what happens when the babies are growing up and another phase will start. First we need to turn thirty though. Another milestone that deserves a celebration.

Do you appreciate what you have?

You probably know the famous quotes about appreciating what you have. Well, I agree and that is why I try to do exactly that. I am talking about quotes like ‘Appreciate what you have before it turns into something you had’. And how do I do that?

Well consciously thinking about appreciating what you have is also scary. Why? Now it makes me think about losing what I have all the time too. It might sound familiar or weird, but I am constantly scared to lose the people I care about. And that’s something else you need to learn to deal with.

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My grandmother is eighty-five years old and she is awesome, but she was also under the weather lately. She had the weirdest pains and no doctor figured out what she had. Finally two weeks later they found out she had tears in her bones in her back. Quite a shock and apparently due to arthrosis. I know my grandmother doesn’t have the eternal life and that she is quite of age, but still.. she is my grandmother. And whomever it is, you never want to lose someone you love.

Growing up I remember my mom telling me that she wished she would’ve had more time with her grandparents. Her saying that got stuck in my mind and drove me to do things in a different way. Well, maybe a precautionary way. I figured that I should enjoy my loved ones, such as my grandparents, as much as possible. In this way I could never think ‘I should’ve spent more time with them’ or ‘I wish I told them that I loved them more’.

My family and friends might think I’m naturally a hugger or just crazy about telling them I love them, all the time. But honestly it is also because I’m scared and I want to appreciate the time I have with them. So yes, I hug them a lot, maybe up to the point that it gets annoying. I know guys, sorry about that, but I can’t help myself.

You might wonder how did I live so far apart from my family for years? Missing them was the hardest part, but since I have a great connection with them, I could do it. I talked to my parents, grandparents and friends all the time. I also tried to go back home every three to four months. Plus my family and my best friends also came to see me regularly.

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Someone once told me in Spain that I couldn’t be close to my family if I was living so far away. What?! No way, because I am close them I knew they would support me no matter what. And with the technology nowadays it is so much easier to stay in touch. I must admit though that it feels a lot better living in the same city again. Now I can just hop on my bicycle and go visit anyone I want.

What I’ve also learned from spending years apart from family, is that I appreciate them even more. Better said I appreciate the time I’m with them more. I enjoy the fact that I can spontaneously decide to go for a coffee with my mom, visit my father, go to the movies with my cousin or have a chat with my aunt.

So in case you’re not sure if you appreciate the people around you enough, you can do what I did. Just to warn you, don’t take it to an extreme. So, I like I did. Now I have to learn not to be stressing out about not having enough time with them. Wether it’s your family or friends that you want to spend time with, enjoy it to the fullest. Because you never know what happens next. Do what you think is right and live with a heart filled with love. And for the sake of it, I’ll just keep on giving extra hugs.