Being Grateful

I am just realizing now all of the amazing opportunities that I have done and had, and how many more I will get to partake in before this adventure called life is over. It must be something about exchange and Amsterdam (And no its not the pot) because I am suddenly feeling much more positive about everything. And its amazing.

I used to get bogged down in the tiny details. I naturally had a negative way of thinking which I thought was totally normal. I thought that everyone had the same thought patterns I had. Boy was I wrong. For a year or two now I have been trying to work out how to become a positive thinker, and it was trying. I wished so much that I could have a positive outlook on life. It was something that I was really struggling with.

And now I do. Just suddenly and completely it snuck up on me. One day I just realized that hey I haven’t had any negative thoughts for awhile and it felt so good. I became so grateful that I was given the opportunity to go on exchange to Amsterdam when before I was homesick and just wanted to go home. Now, even if I am having a rough day, I am able to to think that at least I was able to accomplish this or that. Even if its small.

I became grateful for so many other opportunities in my life. The fact that I got to go on countless road trips with my family to the US. Being able to attend university. All of my amazing friends and family. The fact that I was born in an amazing country like Canada. Knowing that in the future I will have many many more adventures. These opportunities that I am grateful for aren’t over. There are many more to come and just knowing that makes me so happy.

I used to be anxious and saddened seeing what everyone else is doing. The things that other people get up to always look so much better. For me, that was one of the terrible things about social media. I always felt that I hadn’t done enough with my life, when this wasn’t the case at all. Somehow I can see everything a little more clearly now and know that I have achieved just enough for now. And knowing that there is so much more to come makes me feel better. Life hasn’t ended yet, there are so many more things to partake in.

So cheers to this crazy lifelong adventure!

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The Museums of Amsterdam: Van Gogh + Foam

The Van Gogh and Foam museum are arguably my two favorite museums that I have visited so far in Amsterdam. The only thing that I do not like about them is that you are not allowed to take photos inside. I suppose this is a personal preference but I just love photos of museums and really hate it when you can’t take any! So I am sorry, this is a photoless post. :(

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I think what made me love this museum so much is the fact that you really get to know Van Gogh. Instead of having snippets of so many artists works like most museums, you are able to fully learn about his life and art. By the end of my tour I felt like I really understood him as an artist and was that much more appreciative of his work. The way they ordered his work is also very well done. You start at his earliest art and then eventually get to right before his death so you can really see his growth as an artist and how he developed his famous style.

When I first visited I wasn’t sure if the museum would only show Van Gogh’s work but I now know that this is not the case. They also show other artists work from Van Gogh’s time that he was either friends with or looked up to for inspiration. So you really get a full understanding of what the art world was interested in at the time. They also have multiple letters that he sent to friends and family that you can listen to on recording.

I’ll be heading back to this museum in a couple of weeks to see it with Sean and I don’t even mind. I’m not sure how to fully describe my experience in this museum except to say that it was satisfying.

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Foam is a photography museum so if you are not super interested in the medium then it may not resonate as much with you as it did with me. Upon entering the gallery I immediately realized how much I missed and love photography. I mean I take photos all the time, but I don’t really take care with them. I just snap whatever. Visiting Foam really made me want start taking photography more seriously again.

When I went they had exhibitions by Broomberg & Chanarin, Geert Goiris, and Regine Peterson. To be honest I really enjoyed all of them. They were very different from one another so it was nice to see a broad range of what photography can be.

I am definitely looking forward to going back when they change around their space.

What are some of your favorite museums to visit?

Until next time x

Daily Diary: The Hague

DSC_0270 Last weekend my friend Chloe and I decided to do a day trip to another city in the Netherlands. After much deliberation (And checking of train ticket costs because the place I wanted to head to was 50 Euros…) we decided on The Hague or Den Haag. We set out early Saturday morning and arrived at about 10ish. Even though it was a cloudy miserable looking day I really enjoyed our trip. We mostly just meandered around the old part of the city, but it was nice to see all of the buildings and just chat. DSC_0271DSC_0272DSC_0274The Parliament buildings. We really wished we could go inside but alas, we couldn’t. DSC_0279Old with the new.

DSC_0309We did end up going to one museum, the Escher Museum. The museum showcases work by Maurits Cornelis Escher who I did not know I knew until I saw some of his designs. He is most famous for his impossible constructions such as the one that has a bunch of staircases in different directions.

DSC_0280I enjoyed the museum quite a bit, and a lot of his work especially. Another special feature of the museum was that in every room they would have a different crazy chandelier. There were ones shaped as guitar’s, missiles, and sharks. So weird and amazing.DSC_0287Belvedere. 1958.

One thing that we didn’t understand about the museum however, was why his work was being shown in that particular building. In every room it would have snippets of information about when the Queen lived there, which made for a rather strange juxtaposition. DSC_0295Metamorphoses II.DSC_0299At the end of the museum they had multiple rooms with interact illusion things… my English is failing me right now. Sorry!DSC_0318A church we happened upon. DSC_0325And a giant statue we wandered to while trying to get somewhere else.

I think The Hague is a very interesting city because the Dutch parliament and monarchy reside there. So there are a number of historical buildings to see. We didn’t end up going to the palace but I am sure it would have been quite a site!

I am really looking forward to more trips like this in the future! It is so much fun to get out of Amsterdam for a bit and see more of the Netherlands and hopefully soon, more of Europe.

Until next time x

What I learned in February

DSC_1026Hello all! I recently discovered this blog link up from Chattingatthesky all about sharing the things that you learn. I was immediately intrigued as I don’t think that many of us actually take the time to think about all the things we learn in a month, whether big or small. After mulling it over for awhile, I realized that contemplating these things is important. Whether you realize it or not, every day you are learning something new and these new things are what helps you grow as a person. We never stop learning and growing, and I think that this is one of the great things about life. You never know where something you learned might take you, right?

This month I learned:

01. How to ignite a gas stove with a match. This may sound easy and mundane, but I hate lighting matches so this was a huge thing for me. I forced myself to do it or else I would starve while in Amsterdam. Yikes!

02. How to cope with homesickness. Last month was difficult for me after moving away from home for the first time ever. I think I successfully navigated the icy waters though and am finally enjoying my time here!

03. Some of the history of Amsterdam. I know someone here who is getting her masters in urban planning and she is full of all sorts of facts about the city. So interesting.

04. How to etch. Last week Christine and I went to the Rembrandt House Museum and were lucky enough to take part in a free tutorial on etching. It was on plastic instead of copper but it was still fun as we got to keep our prints after!

05. How to navigate around Amsterdam. One of the many things that I am terrible at is reading a map. So I am rather proud of my knowledge of the Amsterdam streets. One of the things I love about this city is that its so small. A couple of nights ago we walked from one side of it to the other, why can’t all city’s be like this?

So there you have it! I wish I could remember more things I learned but I have a bad habit of not writing things down, so hopefully next month this list will grow longer.

What are some things you learned this month?

On Saying Goodbye

qWhen I first started dreaming of going on exchange years ago, I don’t think I once ever thought about saying goodbye to my family and friends. I was so focused on exchange itself, and the fun of it all, that it didn’t seem important at the time. However, now that time is slowly ebbing away and I am leaving in just over two weeks, I have become very emotional about the whole process of saying goodbye.

The longest I have ever been away from home was for one month when I traveled to South Korea when I was sixteen. Even then though I had Kimberly and Christine with me, so I wasn’t completely alone. Usually, I find that I don’t have trouble saying goodbye to my family. I’ve lived and been with them for twenty years now so its about time I leave the nest. I’m used to their company and can go without it for a little while, just to spread my wings a bit. Afterall, five months away isn’t that long, right?

Saying goodbye to my friends isn’t all that difficult either. Everyone’s so busy studying during the semester that I rarely see them anyways, and I am used to saying goodbye to friends after high school. I am also comforted by the fact that I will (hopefully) be making new friends in Amsterdam. Of course I don’t want this to sound as though I am trying to replace my old friends, but only trying to form new friendships.

The hardest goodbye will be to Sean. Already I have been dreading it for over a month. Whenever I think about it I get choked up and try to force the thought away. I know that we will be skyping and messaging constantly, and I will be busy exploring my new surroundings (as well as studying), but I know I will miss him a ton. Once I’m there how I view all of this will probably change, but as it has not happened yet it makes me extremely sad. So much so that sometimes I question why I decided to go on exchange.

I know I will not regret it, but to me, saying goodbye is the first step to being on my own. I’ve never done anything on my own. Never traveled by myself, let alone live on my own. It is a daunting thought and one that frightens me immensely. Which makes saying goodbye all that much harder. It is saying goodbye not only to the people I am used to, but the simple comforts and pleasures of home.

What it all comes down to is that goodbyes are hard, even more difficult than I imagined. But it is something we have to get used to as it is a part of life. This is the jumping off point where new adventures begin.

Quotes For A Positive Year

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I really want to start 2015 on a positive note. This may be a superstitious idea, but I feel like if I start the year positively, the rest of the year will follow suit. One reason behind this thought is that I really want to make 2015 the best year yet. I have so many opportunities heading my way and I don’t want to screw them up. I truly want to try to make this year a positive one, not only for my sake, but for those around me as well.

One thing that always inspires me are quotes. I even have a journal that I write all of my favorite quotes in and it’s already half full. Time consuming? Yes. But it is a really great way to clear your mind and let good thoughts flow through you. That is why after looking over some of my quotes I have collected over the years, I decided to share a few of my favorites. Hopefully they will send some positive vibes to you as well!

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunites and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this. – Henry David Thoreau


Don’t forget – no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell. – Charles de Lint


Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s send away. – Sarah Key


Everything you can imagine is real. – Pablo Picasso


Study while others are sleeping; work while others are laofing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing. – William Arthur Ward


It is better, I think, to grab at the stars than to sit flustered because you know you can’t reach them. – R.A. Salvatore


You don’t pass and fail at being a person, dear. – Neil Gaiman


If you wake up tired, you’ve been chasing dreams. If you go to bed tired, you’re making your dreams happen. – Benny Bellamacina

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