It’s been a long 24 hours, friends.
Sleeping was insanely difficult and very little of it took place. I went to bed at 2am and tossed and turned until 7am. I’ve checked my email every five minutes since I woke up. I wish I were exaggerating. I’ve been on the edge of my seat. Friends and family have messaged me throughout the day to ask if I’d heard back yet. Having this international community is such a gift. I’m never alone. I always have a support group. Life is good.
Sometime mid-afternoon, I heard a faint “bling” from my mail. It was the International Exchange Office and this time they weren’t responding to assure me again that I absolutely would get an email on the 17th of August. It took me a solid five minutes to steel myself to open the email. When I finally did an initial read-through, I couldn’t comprehend the message at first.
I’m not going to Scotland.
It’s ok, don’t panic! I’m not heartbroken. I’m still going to Europe. The exchange program has simply thrown me for a loop. Here’s the deal: I have been accepted into the program, but I’ve been placed in the Netherlands instead of in Scotland. This has been a completely unexpected turn of events, but it’s not completely inexplicable. I applied for seven schools, in a list based on top priority to lowest priority. Among those, the top four were based in Scotland. From there, I listed Dublin University, Lund University, and Groningen University, in that order. I’ve been placed in my “if all else fails” pick.
Finding out was like biting into an ice cream that you thought was strawberry, only to find out that it’s actually cherry flavoured. Both flavours are fantastic, but the shock of the unexpected taste freaks you out for a moment and all you can do is stand there gagging and feeling lied to. After a minute, you remember that you actually adore cherry ice cream and all is well once more. I actually adore the Netherlands, but I was expecting Scotland. I had a brief moment of disappointment before I slapped myself up the head for being a privileged brat and started celebrating.
I’ve had a few hours to reorient myself to this new path of adventure, and I’ve come to a few conclusions:
- The Netherlands is amazing. Will and I agree that our favorite stop on our Europe adventure a few years ago was Amsterdam, where we stayed in a tiny guest room overlooking a little street and spent our days exploring and discovering that we quite liked each other. I’ll be living a $7 bus ride away from Amsterdam. Heck yes.
- Groningen itself looks unbelievably cool and I can’t believe my luck. Can I go tomorrow? Please?
- I love the idea of being on mainland Europe. I’ll be a short flight or train ride from everything. Weekend trips will be a must. Ryanair will be my new best friend.
- I need to start learning Dutch.
- All of my plans have been completely uprooted by this change in location (and in semester start date), so I’ll get to plan all over again! This may sound miserable to you, but planning my travel dreams is what keeps me going through exam season.
- I’m the luckiest girl in the world. I know I put a ridiculous amount of work into my dreams, but I have a hard time crediting my life to hard work alone. So much is determined simply by where you’re born and into what family. This is something that’s been weighing on me lately and you may hear more about it soon. I feel almost guilty for the life that I have, like I have to give back threefold to the world and to the people around me for the gifts I’ve been given and the prizes I’ve won through hard work. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I told you that even if I didn’t get into Scotland, adventures awaited me. I had no idea how right I was.
Do you have friends or family in Groningen? I’m looking for contacts to reach out to for housing information and more! As it turns out, Will has relatives there. Who knew?