Departing: My final Dank JeAmsterdam, Spring 2011

Is this really happening? Am I really putting together a departing blog submission? I honestly can not emphasize enough how difficult this post is going to be to write, I feel at a loss for words. Or, at least, at a loss for words that can accurately and powerfully describe how I'm feeling right now. Are their words that can begin to touch upon how absolutely amazing and (sorry for the cliche) life changing this entire experience has been? I guess I'll try my hardest to find them - so, here goes! It all started with a late flight - I arrived freaking out. My initial plane had been cancelled and I had to rely on a last minute EasyJet one that had me landing about  six hours late. I had a crazy cab ride - with cabdriver Pete who was undoubtedly a member of the Mafia, and then was dropped off at the orientation dinner. There I was, with all my luggage, standing along amongst a group of scary looking people - I can hardly remember gazing upon my fellow funen-ites and not knowing how absolutely amazing each of them is. But at that point in time, I was veiled in ignorance. From there it was a whirlwind. The beginning was tinted with harsh and chilling bike rides, teeth troubles, language barriers, and new classes. I learned how to manage time, how to relax, how to work hard, how to speak some extremely (and embarrassingly) basic dutch, how to get around the twisty turns of the canal city, and so much more. There are so many experiences that I will never forget and people that I know will be part of my life forever. I cannot believe how lucky I am. First off, i got to know a city that so many people write off as a party town. If ever you are blessed enough to visit the capitol of the Netherlands, after you take in the coffee shops and red light district (if you want to see what all the fuss is about) I beg you to take some time and go get a cappuccino and a film at Kriterion, wander through the Artis Zoo, grab an AH baguette and sit along a sunny Canal, dance your thursday night away at Studio 80, take in some live music at the Watering Hole, stuff your belly with cheese, stroopwaffels and frites met mayo, and bike everywhere and anywhere. But most of all, make sure you do it all with some great people - because in the end of the day, even if your homes are scattered in locations around the globe, the experiences you share in Amsterdam will bond you forever. To all my Funen folks - I love you more than you may ever know. I would lovingly refer to us as the greatest group of weirdos out there. Every single person in our program carried their own special and unique attributes. I count myself so lucky to have met all of you and I know that our journeys together - though we are all a bit more spread out - are just beginning. I am excited for a future of funen fun Facebook chats and friendships that conquer any distance. From crazy club nights to lazy, lounging afternoons you have made each experience in Amsterdam even more beautiful and poignant. Thank you. Before the tears starts again (and believe me - there have been buckets), I will end this post here with a plethora of dank jes. Thank you IES for setting this all up, thank you Amsterdam for being my home (my favorite home), and thank you so much for every single person that made this unforgettable (my teachers, my fellow students, and my friends - both in funen and beyond). I will conclude looking back on a conversation i recently had with a close friend of mine, Megan; we were discussing whether Amsterdam had changed us and, if yes, then was it for the better. It took us only beat to conclude that both of us had changed. Amsterdam changed us into better, more confident versions of ourselves. It was as if it had brushed aside some of our bad bits and highlighted our strengths. So, one more thank you to Amsterdam and all who inhabit it, for making me the best me I can be. Though I won't be returning to America for another month yet (I'm spending June in Ireland with my family), I can safely say that I will return home and do my best to hold on to every little lesson this semester abroad has taught me. tot ziens, lovely city, hartelijk dank.
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