Living in the Netherlands

“Learning to Fly”

In the months leading up to my departure, this Tom Petty song became my anthem.

     Well some say life will beat you down

     Break your heart, steal your crown

     So I’ve started out, for God knows where

     I guess I’ll know when I get there

Many people have asked me why I chose to become an au pair, to live in another country for a year.

And the truth is that there was never any other option in my mind. Once I learned about this opportunity – in which I live with a family and watch their children – I fell in love with the idea. I have experience working with children, and I have wanted to travel all my life. And not the kind of travel where you visit for a week, but the kind that immerses you completely in another culture.

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamt of traveling the world. I like to recount the story of me as a sixth-grader, on the phone with a friend until the early hours of the morning, each with our respective atlases. We talked for hours about the countries we wanted to visit, and I made a list of those places. (Yes, I made lists even then.) I’m pretty sure every country in the world was on that piece of paper.

I have been here for a little more than a month, and there are so many stories I want to share. To keep this post relatively short, here are just a couple things I’ve noticed (about myself) since I arrived.

I become overly excited whenever I hear music in English. I start to dance, wherever I am, no matter what the song is. Yesterday in the city center? I heard Rihanna, and did a little jig. Songs that I would typically avoid, I now embrace. Those small occasions remind me of how valuable a home is, and how it can be a source of comfort.

There are some American things, though, for which I am not as enthusiastic. Whenever I see a McDonald’s, for example, I unleash an involuntary growl. Some things don’t change.

Here’s to hoping that “…dirty road/ Started out all alone” takes me on an amazing journey.

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9 thoughts on ““Learning to Fly”

  1. I remember when I was in Spain, I was so excited to find the “Libros en Ingles” section of the department store (very small section).

  2. Your blog touched my heart and made me so happy! I’m so glad you’re not only traveling, but also living in a way that’s thoughtful and self-reflective and it is really inspiring to see. Amazing pictures too! At first I wasn’t sure if you took them, but then I saw your shoe and I knew, haha.

  3. My Dearest Julie,
    First of all… when I saw an email from you I literally screamed and jumped up and down. Second, I was so crazy with life I couldn’t read your blogs right away and it broke my heart. I finally got around to it and I am getting so emotional!!! I miss you so much and I’m so happy and proud of you. I wanna hear everything!!! Idk if you write a novel on your blog. I wanna hear it all. Kthanks! Tell me more, tell me more.. like does he have a car? I hope you get the reference. Love and miss you!!!!

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