When I keep myself busy, Amsterdam is absolutely amazing. It offers anything an independent, third-year college student could ever want. It’s during down time when I really start to miss home. It’s not so much a feeling of ‘homesickness,’ but rather nostalgia for times and moments I never thought I’d miss. The leaves here are very green and still all hanging on to their branches. I’m sure by now, the leaves in New England have started to turn colors. Every time I walk the streets of Amsterdam on a sunny day, surrounded by bikes with the cool weather, I get this reoccurring memory. This memory of riding my bike on the Northampton (Massachusetts) rail trail in the fall with my dad. The weather is cool. The perfect temperature for a nice, cozy sweatshirt. I think of the orange leaves blowing around on the ground as I ride my bike over them. I think of walking around the eclectic little city and walking into a shop to get a hot cup of apple cider. This sparks other memories related to jumping in leaves, carving pumpkins, and the first snow. It’s not home that I miss so much. I just miss being young. When I say “young,” I mean stress-free. I mean those times when you didn’t need to worry about money, work, classes, or putting a meal on the table. Those times when your biggest worry was what you should wear to school in the morning. Take me back to that simplicity! Everything is just too “real” these days.
This weekend I drove up to Vermont to see my Champlain friends for one last time before I depart. Once I hit Interstate 89, I was awestruck by the breathtaking Vermont mountains I once knew and loved. It had been far too long since I had last seen them. The smile on my face grew larger and larger as I got nearer and nearer to the little city that will always have a piece of my heart.
Walking through campus, I realized I would miss the buildings where my classes should be held. I would miss the library where I used to work. I would even miss the dining hall where each of my meals were monotonously consumed.
Hearing my roommates talk about the upcoming semester made me feel a little melancholy. They will be living with someone else, planning exciting adventures with them and not me. I started to feel like I might be missing out on life in Burlington in the fall, but then I remembered where I am going. This is just another chapter. I will make new friends and have new experiences that are even better than any routine I might have had before. Breaking routine has never bothered me; it’s tradition that I will miss.
I’ll miss apple picking and Vermont foliage. I’ll miss jumping in Lake Champlain, Halloween weekend, and birthday celebrations. Some will be missed physically, while others are missed emotionally.
The fact of the matter is, I have not graduated. I have not transferred. I have not dropped out. I WILL be back. Yes, life in Vermont will go on without me, but life in Amsterdam is just waiting for me to arrive!