Firstly, I feel that I should apologise for being so silent for the past two weeks. Yes, it’s been exactly a fortnight since I wrote a blog post although it’s not been for the want of trying. Life has been busy and I’ve also been ill a fair bit which hasn’t been so much fun but has narrowed down the amount of time available! That said there have been multiple occasions where I have sat down, meaning to type, and found myself unable.
It’s not been for want of something to write about as life has been a whirl of social and academic madness. There’s been such a speed to things because of the intensive period at university and this means that life has taken on an immediacy that is daunting – indeed I have my final exam in today, a mere two and a half weeks after starting the course – but also beautiful. The moments that have been stolen away from study have been startling in the freedom they have offered. Silly things like cooking for Robbert with Dania to pay him back for teaching us to ride months ago and listening to them both sing as they attempted to give me the confidence to join in have made me, once again appreciate how lucky I am in my friends here. Slightly reckless things like going for a walk in the park late at night with Leonoor, Sonja and Dania have been wonderful moments of freedom from the never ending barreling forwardness of life and, it seems, from the rush of this city. Walking to class each morning, a little earlier than most people, having the path to myself gives me a slowness and a while for reflection where I can take in the colours of the morning sky, the crispness of the dawn, the magnificence of frost as adorns grass areas. It’s little moments such as these that have given the past few weeks meaning.
However, I have also really drawn something from the course itself. In my last post, I confessed that I didn’t really know what to expect from the pompously titled Global Identity Experience. Now, going into my final exam, I must admit that I’m not really sure what this course hoped to achieve. Nevertheless, it has facilitated some human connection on a profound level. As part of this course we have to undertake a group research project on a minority grouping in the Amsterdam area. My group (full of people I did not know for the most part but who have turned out to be great) decided to focus on Schiphol airport and, after some initial observations, the homeless people living at the airport. it was a great surprise to us to learn that there were any, let alone so many, homeless people living at the airport as it’s not someone we naturally expect. Airports are a place you pass through, scrambling to get somewhere and you do not expect or notice those people who are outside of the rush.
We’ve spoken to some people living in the airport and, in particular, one interview last Friday touched me on such a deep level. I phoned my mother when I got in and spent a few hours just talking about it and crying. To have so swiftly gained access to a person’s inner life, to see the things they have survived through yet be helpless to assist – not that they would want your assistance… or pity – it was hard for me. But also what an honour. I obviously cannot write a lot about this project because I have to respect anonymity and perhaps that is something that has held me back from writing at all as it has had a noticeable impact on my life both in scheduling and emotional terms. It is something that I feel I am gaining from, however, if not as a student then as a human being.
So, this has been a very good way for me to avoid revising and, no doubt, when I get into my exam in exactly one hour I will regret it! I am so looking forward to this exam being over though so I can be ill in peace, tidy my flat, have friends round tomorrow evening, paint all weekend, finish the research project, and greet a February that is full of wonderful social and musical events. Just one exam to go!
This post is not for facebook as it’s a bit of a feeling smush and is also really boring, not having pictures and all that jazz.I should probably write a proper facebook posting update soon too. Heh. Does anyone even read this bit??