SPICE Day One (And A Half)

Adventure is out there, and I am ready for it—I hope.

I started my journey in the O’Hare International airport where I flew to Philadelphia then I will be connected to my flight to Amsterdam. From there I will meet up with all the other SPICE students, and hop on a train to Zwolle where I will finally meet my host family.

I will be studying in the Netherlands for four months with a group of Dordt students, and a few others from other schools. While on this incredible adventure I will blog and Instagram a few of my adventures for those interested.

Chicago

Right now, I am sitting in O’Hare with another SPICE student, Kylie, waiting for my flight. I just said my final goodbyes, made it smoothly through security, and now all I have to do it wait, and blog I guess. 

Leading up to this moment took a lot of work, a lot of anxiety, and a lot of patients. I have seen many of my friends go on similar adventures of studying abroad, and I have to be honest I had a smidgen of envy. But now it is my turn to have this adventure…but even as I am physically in the airport about to leave it still doesn’t seem real. It feels like I am still looking a head way in the future dreaming of what might happen.

I haven’t slept soundly for a week, and my nerves keep creeping back up questioning why am I doing this? It feels just like the weeks leading up to leaving for college for the first time. I was psyching myself out, and keeping myself up at night going through a million thoughts and possibilities on how this adventure might turn out; however, if it is anything like college, I’m going to be just fine.

Well, only an hour and a half until my flight, and I’m starving.

Philadelphia

Even though my layover was technically an hour, it was still a quick one. Kylie and I had to book it to the other side of the airport. We then met up with a few more Dordt students and proceeded to board our final plane.

This will be the one to bring us to Amsterdam, so as we boarded the plane we all had slight nerves, but mainly excitement. We are still trying to wrap our minds around the fact that we will be in the Netherlands soon.

I walked over to my seat, sounds of English and Dutch bouncing around the plane. I find my seat (window seat—hallelujah!) and sit clumsily down with all of my stuff. I sit next to a lovely lady who was Dutch, but spoke English fairly well. We had a nice conversation during the seven hours we spent squished uncomfortably next to each other.

 Boarding the Philly to Amsterdam plane!

Boarding the Philly to Amsterdam plane!

Amsterdam

We finally made it! After hours of traveling and weeks of planning, we finally landed in Amsterdam. I haven’t stood in seven hours, and my legs were not happy about it. I barely slept on the plane, so jet lag will be a real struggle, but all I can think about was that I am finally touching foreign soil. The adventure is becoming real.

We go through all the passport and luggage pickup, with only one minor mishap that was resolved quickly. We finally left the baggage claim to be greeted by many smiling faces of “Dutch Buddies,” who are a few students from the VIAA school we will be attending here in the Zwolle. This made me smile and filled me with relief that I made it. The warm greeting made the whole journey worth it.

After waiting for the arrival of a few other students, we finally jumped on a train and headed to Zwolle.

Zwolle

An hour and thirteen minutes later we pulled into the Zwolle train station. We were greeted by our host families. I waited a bit looking for mine, since I only have seen them in a picture they sent over email I wasn’t 100% I knew what they looked like. It turned out they were only a few minutes late, but they made it!

I was driven through Zwolle and arrived at the house that I will be staying at for the next four months. I met the rest of my host family, talked a bit, got a tour of the house, and took a much needed shower.

Here’s to hoping the rest of the semester goes as smoothly as it has been going in this first day (and a half) of SPICE 2016.