Here it is (with half a year of delay, but sill): my very last blogpost.
This is an attempt to summarize and complete my year in the Jeanette Noel Huis and the months after.
Vacation in Zeeland
I'm actually impressed that still I managed to write something in August, as my life equaled pure chaos this month. After the demonstration for Bradley Manning, there were only few days left to gather our things for a 1-week-vacation with all the members of the Jeanette Noelhuis and numerous friends. While most of us took the train, Frits and me drove a giant mini-van incl. 4 residents + baggage of 30 people to the South of Holland. One can imagine that I had some initial difficulties, considering the fact that I had only used my bycicle for locomotion for almost a year ;)
After everyone had overcome their agony with me driving the van, evberything went well and after few hours we arrived at Seerooskereke, an idyllic village in Zeeland, in the very South of the NL. This is where the house's members spend their vacation every summer. Crossing the borders is too dangerous for most of the residents. Altough the good weather abandoned us already in the beginning of the week (and again, a huge "YAAAY" for the Dutch weather!), I think that everyone was really enjoying these days. We went to the beach, visited other villages and markets, were entertaied by the kids, went mini-golfing, caught (& ate!) crabs, and went on nighttime walks along the harbour. I really enjoyed this week and it seemed like everyone did as well. After one week we went back again, destination Amsterdam.
|A shirt of Ddé from Burundi :)
Moving from A'dam to A'dam
The last month of the Noelhuis blurred with the first days of my "new life" - after I had recieved my keys for my new student flat in Amsterdam East the 1st of August and came back from Zeeland, I had 1,5 days to raid IKEA, get & build a new bed and gather the most important stuff for another last 10 days in Germany.
Introduction week at the Amsterdam University College started at the 29th of August. At this moment, I lived in two rooms - the one in Zuidoost full with all of my stuff and the other one in East with... well, a bed.
Actually, my plan was to still work simultaneously in the Noelhuis during the intro-week, in order to abbreviate the time until my successor Sarah will start her work. This proved to be impossible. With the help of Jia Jia I managed to paint my new room and to move some of the most important things. And the 4th of September, the day before university started, i finally slept in my new room for the fist time.
Different from my original plans to properly stop my work at the Noelhuis, to make Sarah's start as easy as possible, to say goodbye & thank you to everyone, I kind of stumbled from my "old" into my "new" life. However, Mattias still managed to convince me of a proper goodbye-party two weeks later :)
|My successor Sarah on a visit in June
Final Words - This is where it gets cheesy
.. so if you don't like to read that, don't do it :)
When I left Germany to live and work in Amsterdam for one year I expected that this would be a incomparable experience. However, I never expected that it would shape me, my plans and eventually also my life to such an extent. When I look back on 2010/2011 I can definitely say that this has been one of the most awesome year s of my life.
For one year I had the chance to share my life with up to 17 people from all over the world, with diferent beliefs, convictions, religion, eating habits, attitudes, backgrounds and histories, with young and old, with Europeans, Asians, Africans and Americans. With people like you and me. When people asked me "Isn't it hard, not to be able to separate work from your own life" I always responded "It is intense - sometimes in a bad, but mostly in a good way". And above all it is an experience I wouldn't ever want to miss.
I had the chance to witness good and bad times, to share my thoughts and my heart. I saw friends going to prison, and visited people, who have never seen anything else from the Netherlands than the high fences of the detention centre in Schiphol. I met and had coffee with the generation of Jewish people that have witnessed and survived the Holocaust. I have seen a two-year-old growing up and starting to teach her mum Dutch. I could celebrate with those who got their residence permit and could finally start their own life. I had the cance to attend and co-organize demonstrations and vigils. I learnd Dutch and I had the possibility to see the Netherlands from Egmond to Enschede, and from Emmen to Maastricht. I had the chance to question myself and my beliefs over and over again.
But most importantly, the feeling of doing what I always wanted, of doing something useful, the feeling that I could really do somethig good for somebody else - and if that's only doing my best in making cakes for the resident's birthdays or handing over the cookies to a grumpy prisoner in Schiphol-East - and seeing little signs which told me that what I'm doing is right; those moments are indescribable.
An while this list above still is incomplete, there's one thing I can say: I feel that this year finally made me grow up. At least a little ;)
And for all that, for all these emotions, experiences and moments I am simply and whole-heartedly thankful.
Therefore, I want to say thank you to the kerngroep: Mattias, Frits and Liesbeth (and Wibo). Although you might not have noticed everytime, I could learn a lot from you. And also your (parental) advices were a lot more useful to me than I might have wanted to show. Working and living with you was really productive and inspiring. All in all: Thank you.
I'm not going to start a speech now, but this had to be said. Everyone else should know that I love them anyways :)
I am more than happy with my decision to stay in Amsterdam. I am still part of the bezoekgroup & visit the people in Schiphol-East as often as possible and I try to keep close contact both with the JNH and its (ex-)residents. And, yeah, I'm studying.
One can say, this new section of my life is also quite acceptable
On that note,
Thanks to everyone who followed this blog!