Oh Middelburg, where shall I start this? I guess the best way to start is to thank you for turning the feeling of nervous excitement when your name was called out on the NS train, into comforting relief over the course of countless weeks of calling you home.
Thank you for being the home to University College Roosevelt, and for being an amazing University Town. Thank you for bringing such an amazing and diverse collection of students together for an unforgettable learning experience. Thank you for selecting some unforgettable professors who have impacted my learning journey incredibly. And of course, being housed in, arguably, the most beautiful buildings in the city.
Thank you for your cobblestone roads inside the (former) city wall for making that magical feeling of Europe (you know, the one us non-Europeans see in the movies) real every single day. I don’t even mind that the rain made you slippery, and that I never really knew where the sidewalk ended, and the road began.
Thank you for letting me experience the convenience and freedom of riding my bike. I love that hopping on my bike would take me most places within 10 minutes; and if I went in the correct direction for 40 minutes, I’d be at the beach. I’m suffering from some major withdrawal from my bike now that I’m back in a city that isn’t too fond of bikes or cyclists.
Thank you for your unpredictable weather patterns teaching me that the weather in Holland is even less predictable than it is in Toronto, and that bring your rain jacket with you, yes, even when it’s been beautiful all day it will probably rain on you coming home from school just to spite your optimism, is absolutely necessary; that winter doesn’t exist; also, it is always windier than you think it will be.
Thank you for the gem that is the Common House, Elliott. Whether it’s running in to print a homework assignment, trying to find a seat to enjoy a sandwich and a cup of tea at lunch, or the laughter and music, followed by the sounds of shushing upon exiting on Tuesday (and Thursday) nights, Elliott was a place where great times were enjoyed.
Thank you for the ever alive Market Square. The Thursday morning bustle of the weekly market made Thursdays one of my favourite days of the week. The sight of locals and students together; the sounds of vendors selling their products “1 kilo banane voor 1 euro”; and smell of fresh stroopwafels, kibbeling, or often the smell of nuts wafting overpoweringly (which made me learn to hold my breath for record time); and not to mention, all the adorable dogs that would be walked! The excitement during Sinterklaas when the delicious promise of oliebolen were added to the equation, or the music blasting on King’s Day; the quirky antique market, that one time we got to pet an owl, or the choir festival that took place one weekend – all of these things made the Market Square one of my favourite places in Middelburg.
Thank you for always having something beautiful to experience, yet being so humble about it that you really have to stop and appreciate it. The absolutely gorgeous doors of the homes on the walk back from the Albert Heijn, the way the sun falls on the canal, the remnants of the city wall (I think that’s what it is at least) that we climbed one night because there was no studying being done, the sheep that cut the grass organically that week in May, and after a great volleyball practice, being completely in the dark and being able to see the moon and stars in all their glory.
Thank you for giving me a new place to call home. Thank you for giving me a second family. Thank you for giving me the experience of a life time. Ik houd van jou.
Song of the Week: I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You – Ingrid Michaelson
(Listen the Fleet Foxes version too, it’s really good, but Ingrid has my heart)