Tomorrow will mark one week since I left the Mitten State and settled into a new life in The Netherlands.
After traveling for an entire day and landing in a foreign place, I made my way to the train station and realized how utterly alone I really was. – A pretty depressing start to this blog post, eh?
Once I finally retrieved my luggage from the dreadful baggage claim, I took the morning train from Amsterdam Schipol to Utrecht Centraal. As I hauled my luggage across both train stations, I looked around at the masses of people heading to work or starting their day, and I felt very small in this new city.
I cannot speak or read the Dutch language and I was naive to think I could easily navigate Utrecht after never having visited before. Public transportation is not common in the motor city and I can’t remember the last time I rode on a train or city bus. For the first time in my life, I experienced serious culture shock.
According to my best blogging friend, Wikipedia, culture shock is the feeling a person gets when they are in a new territory. I would say this feeling is hard to describe, but Wikipedia says individuals facing culture shock may have an overwhelming feeling of homesickness, experience a technology gap, and boredom. Wikipedia is correct in describing how I felt. Per usual.
Luckily for me, though, I wasn’t completely alone.
My new boss at the hostel met me at the train station and helped me get settled into my new home. I’m referring to this place as home, because after a few days of living at Stone Hostel, that’s exactly what this place is to me.
Maybe it’s because every person I have met here has worked in the hospitality business, or maybe my new coworkers and friends are just exceptionally awesome, but everyone has been so wonderful to me.
I experienced my first coffeeshop, went shopping at a European H&M, took a day trip to Amsterdam, and ate the all of the bitterballen I could get my hands on – all thanks to my new friends.
This past week has been crazy and exciting in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I have had conversations with people from all over the world, put myself in uncomfortable situations, and in the process I have gained a new outlook on life. I feel more relaxed and happy with my decision to come to Utrecht.
If this was only week one, I can’t imagine what is yet to come.