How many times have we heard the expression about glasses being half-full or half-empty?
Not to mention the innumerable little puns and plays on words and whatever that people come up with attached to that first expression.
I have tried to attach a lot of meaning to a lot of things since I’ve been here. On my first trip to Amsterdam in February 2012, one of the first things I wrote back to friends and family in the States was “one day I will learn Dutch and move here forever.” I was kidding; I just immediately fell in love with the history and richness I experienced in that city. And now there is the very real possibility that this could happen! At the very least I am going to start learning Dutch in the near future (thanks to the neat language groups some people in the Mundus programme have started up), and will be moving to Amsterdam over the summer for my specialism year.
But still, it was pointed out to me that this desire I offhandedly expressed two years ago is coming to fruition.
I am not a believer in fate. I also don’t believe in coincidences, however small (which gets me into incredible amounts of trouble sometimes). I have always gone on the basis that everything, however insignificant, happens for a reason, and that most of the time things happen just to happen. You could argue that is the definition of a coincidence, but you have to remember that I am sort of a sentimental idiot.
Trekking around Swansea, the Gower, and London was surreal. Stumbling around the cobblestone and brick, a whole host of emotions and memories came flooding back (nearly literally, helped by the British rains, some streets turned into small rivers). The salt smell in Swansea. The vastness of London. And everything about the Gower.
Sparing all details, I first came to Swansea at a hellish time in my life. My proverbial glass was empty, and I have never had a more negative image of myself. Coming back last week I could not have been a more different person; I have been astoundingly happy in my time in Aarhus, and have been full of the promise of possibilities for the life I am creating here. But being back in Britain, and Swansea in particular, was like flipping a switch. Despite the amazing memories I cultivated in my time there, the longtime friends that I made, and the fact that I was having such a good time, I felt trapped in this bubble of nostalgia that threatened to drown me.
It makes me wonder: when I leave Aarhus, and presumably come back to visit, will there be places like that here? Will I be back a few months or years after my departure, and find myself stopped in the middle of Peter Holms Vej or Åboulevarden with a rush of sentimentality? I have such great expectations for the time I have left. I am in an international Master’s, networking and making friends with my colleagues; I am working for a publication that I hope to boost my CV and my confidence in my own work; I have my hoops to improve my skills and keep my sanity.
I want to be conversational in Danish. I want to ride a bicycle. I want to finally make it to the damn Bazaar Vest. To make real tacos and fix whatever I have wrong with my biscuit recipe. To make it out to the parks and sit by the sea a few more times.
I want to be unafraid of myself and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.