Saying Goodbye

Goodbyes tend to fall into two (maybe three) categories. The first being an Excited goodbye, the second goodbye is the Sad goodbye.  There can be an Indifferent goodbye, but we’re just going to ignore that one for now.

It is the end of the school year, so naturally there are many goodbyes to be told.  There will be laughter, tears, and probably an unnatural amount of hugging. Nevertheless, goodbyes are inevitable.

I just said goodbye to my host family, who has been a huge blessing to me while I have studied in the Netherlands. I also had to say goodbye to many friends that I made while on the SPICE program, whether they were fellow Dordt students who are now graduating, or German/Dutch students that I have had the privilege of meeting this past semester.  Either way, these were all sad goodbyes.

My host family and I

My host family and I

However, there have been many excited goodbyes. I am excited to go home for the first time in four months. I had to say goodbye to those I know I will see again soon walking around Dordt’s campus, so even that was not that terribly sad of a goodbye.

Four months ago I had to say goodbye to many people too. To all those at Dordt who just graduated and will no longer be gracing Dordt with their presence on the regular. I also had to say goodbye to my family and friends from Chicagoland. These were also a mixture of sad and excited goodbyes.

This then makes a new category: The Bittersweet goodbye. The mixture of being sad and excited about saying goodbye.

So, here are my Bittersweet goodbyes:

To all those I met on SPICE:  Thank you for making the past four months some of the best months of my entire 21 years of life. We have seen each other at our worst, our best, and everywhere in between. The memories and adventures that we created in just a short amount of time will stay with me for a life time. But don’t stop there, keep the journey going, keep that adventurous spirit high, and continue the narrative that we started writing.

Even though this may be goodbye, I am already looking forward to the next hello. Whether that may be in person or through the world of technology. Keep in touch, don’t be a stranger, I want updates on the next chapter of your novel called life.

To all those who graduated:  What a time we had. I am so thankful for each and every one of you.  You have influenced me more than you may know. Even though we only knew each other for three whatever years, and in the grand scheme of things that isn’t a long time, but remember you had a major part of some of my most important years. 

Also, congratulations on conquering a major milestone in your life. I am amazed by the perseverance, dedication, and passion that you had to make it this far in your education. And even though I already said goodbye to you it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a hello coming just around the corner. 

Goodbyes always seem difficult, but as the saying goes (by I have no idea because literally everyone says it, so I will too) I like to think of it as a see you later, and not a goodbye.

So, see you later, catch you on the flip side, tot ziens, till next time.

- Luke

Ps. If you are not pictured that does not mean you are not who I am talking about...there would be a million more pictures if I got everyone. :)

#RoomieBonding

Warning: There is a lot of bragging about how amazing my roommates are ahead. Proceed with caution.

Where should I start? My roommates are crazy. But I love them.

First let’s talk about my roommates in general. I could say I got lucky and got five awesome guys to live with, but it really isn’t about luck.

I’m going to let you in on our secret to being a successful roommate—it’s all about the #RoomieBonding. Even when you are 4,378 miles away.

A Bunch of Weirdos AKA my roommates. Top: Nathan, Ben, Josh. Bottom: Andrew, Mark.

A Bunch of Weirdos AKA my roommates. Top: Nathan, Ben, Josh. Bottom: Andrew, Mark.

I have five roommates:  Andrew, Ben, Josh, Nathan, and Mark. We are quite random in terms of majors, activities, hometowns, etc. Coming into Dordt, I did have the concern of who I would be living with, and even though my first roommate didn’t work out (not because we didn’t get along, but for other reasons I won’t bore you with), my second roommate did. In reality, Nathan and I really don’t have that much in common, with the exception of music taste and our love for certain TV shows. But that’s all you need.

We would jam out to each other's playlists and watch TV series together. By bonding over these simple things, we made it work even though we are complete opposites on paper.

Then it came to adding four more guys into the mix. I was too busy last year to try to figure out rooms for this year, so I told Nathan to go find people, and as long as I had a room, I would be fine with whomever.

Nathan convinced Josh, Ben, Andrew, and Mark to room with us. Again, it's a really random group of guys. We have a range of interests, career paths, extra-curricular activities, and so on. However, we make it work because #RoomieBonding.

My roommates have been a constant foundation in my time here at Dordt. The amount of times that I have yelled out #ROOMIEBONDING! is a ridiculous number. If I had a dollar for every time that I said #RommieBonding, I could pay for maybe a week of classes at Dordt…haha!   

Whether it is hanging up posters, creating art, running a 5k, making pizza, having a Chick Flick marathon, or jamming out on our various musical instruments—just to name a few—we've had a good time with each other.

Here’s the thing about roommates: It is just like any other relationship that you have in your life. Whether they are your friends, family, or significant other. You need to put in the time and the effort in order to have a successful and genuine relationship. 

We make the most of every situation. I’m currently studying abroad in the Netherlands, and even though I am not around to always #RoomieBond, we can still put in an effort. When my roommates went out for Ben’s birthday, they brought along a picture of me (which I gave them before leaving) and propped it up like I was there with them. And when Josh was in the Dordt’s talent show, I stayed up super late so I could watch and cheer him on even from across the ocean. These are the things that remind me of how #blessed (sorry for the cliché) I am to have such wonderful friends back at Dordt.

Josh and I wearing our Monday shirts featuring the greatest peice of art that Dordt as every scene in the background titled "art."

Josh and I wearing our Monday shirts featuring the greatest peice of art that Dordt as every scene in the background titled "art."

One of the most important things about college, no matter what school you are at, is to surround yourself with people that make you a better you. Roommates are some of the most influential people in your life during college years. Roommates can make or break a good experience in college, so if there is a problem with your roommate make sure you communicate to them about it. And if you find a roommate that makes the experience better—that is when you found a life-long friend.

My roommates are the kind of people that I am okay with losing precious hours of sleep just to stay up talking about life, laughing at stupid jokes, and creating the greatest piece of art that has ever been created. 

But the best advice I have about roommates is #roomiebonding. Go on exciting adventures during a snow blizzard with them, or do the most pedestrian things like doing the dishes. Because these are the memories that you will tell stories about for years to come.

- Luke

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.