“What time is it? The time of your life!”–said everyone
So I have roughly 3 days in Middelburg before I take off again, and there’s so much to do. Essentially, I have 3 days to physically, processually, and intellectually transition, as well as enjoy my lovely little city in July. Let’s get my final thoughts sorted out on all things Croatia, so in a few days time, I can make space in my head for all things Switzerland. Man, it can be exhausting being me sometimes.
Emma, the last guest I chatted with before I left, asked me what I had learned while staying here these past 6 weeks. And while I have learned a ton, I think my favorite thing that I learned, was just how many people are in this world. Working in hospitality really gave me a bird’s eye view of personalities and different world views. There’s so many mixes and matches, it was more than refreshing to witness. Living with the same 600 students sometimes makes you forget that life outside of uni exists, or that life outside of the Netherlands exists. Which means that having the opportunity to meet literally the world helped put things into perspective, and made me grow in self confidence and direction. It also showed me that there really is someone out there for everyone. If you can’t find people you mesh with in your current social or geographic location, then move, because I promise there are plenty of like minded people to hit it off with…like me and Mei!! Or me and Azzurra!
- Azzurra reassured me that it’s ok to be boring, regardless of the opportunity to be the opposite, because she’s just as boring as I am. We enjoy quiet nights with funny stories or solid life talks. And while we have very different external approaches to our environment, internally we’re very similar. Emotional, critical overthinkers that need to be less presumptuous about others :). I don’t particularly care to go out and get drunk, and have no interest in drugs. In Hvar, I had access to endless booze and club entry, which means that with money taken out of the equation, the party lifestyle still isn’t for me. It showed me that me not caring to go out much wasn’t because of money, or society telling me it’s what everyone does, it really is me that doesn’t find it as entertaining as others, and that there are other people that feel the same way. And I love finding stuff out about me that can’t be touched by outside influences. It’s just who I am!
- Not really into the hooking up culture either. I knew that before Hvar, but now I know that passed theory and hypotheticals. I experienced my first drunken kiss, and the closest thing I will ever have to a one-night stand. I put my own spin on it, but even within those parameters, hooking up isn’t for me. It was fun, something new to try, but the consequences aren’t worth the amount of fun. I get attached, I like getting attached (even though it sucks when he’s gone), I want to get attached, and I don’t want to teach myself to separate those things. I’m a romantic who wants to be chased and valued, and falling in love for 3 days doesn’t count. Yes, the other way around hurts more when things are over, but the time spent with the potential boyfriend is so much more meaningful than the mysterious traveler, even though the mysterious traveler is more exciting.
- Don’t settle. Whether it’s with friends or partners (or even with jobs!), don’t ever settle. There are so many people, if you don’t click with one person, someone you do click with is just behind the door. For me, that was Mei. We instantly clicked with our sense of humor, loudness, and inquisitive, talkative personalities. We’re also traveling a similar life path. She threw everything out the window and moved from one continent to another at 18, and while I went to university, she worked. And then we both ended up working at one of the best hostels in Europe. A SoCal girl who’s lived in the Netherlands for two years has a lot more in common with an Aussie who’s lived in England for the past two years than you would originally think, despite the fact that we’re both Chinese bartenders.
You don’t necessarily have to travel to find these people, if anything, I would recommend working in a hostel, haha, then everyone comes to you, and all you have to do is scrub a few toilets and clean a few dishes. Valuable work experience is icing on the cake. Not a bad gig.