Better Late Than Never

It has taken quite some time to write this final blog post, as I’ve been back in the U.S. for about ten days now, and I’ve started this post in my head many times over.

To begin, I would like to say just how grateful I am for this entire experience. In the end, I began wishing it wasn’t just an “experience,” rather, that it was my life. But there any many things between here and there and I wouldn’t miss my last year at New Paltz for anything!

Anyways, I truly lucked out, being able to travel throughout Europe and to live with my two best friends (yes, best), who have become my sisters, for the past 4/5 months. Many people had told us that maybe travelling alone was better and that I’d want to meet new people (which we did!). Being with these two lovely ladies who know me best was the smartest choice I could have made – especially when you’re taking naps in airports, dropping your phone in the middle of the street, dancing into the night, really missing your puppy and much much more.

Upon my return to the states, someone asked me, “What was the craziest thing you saw?” I had no answer at the time, and I’ve been thinking about the question since. I still have no answer, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it was truly about all the little things. The tiny details that you don’t really take note of until they’re no longer there. The people, the fashion, the Youtube ads (in Dutch, and quite hilarious sometimes), the cobblestone streets, the trams, the square-shaped trees, the French being spoken all around you – of course, the chunky red roofs, the Carrefour and Proxy Delhaize both right down the block coming in handy for our desperate after-dinner peanut butter runs, the French-press coffee each morning… the list goes on and you get the point. There were definitely some crazy things that happened to us and some crazy sights seen, but one thing was always greater than the next and I don’t think I can pinpoint one moment of astonishment that wasn’t topped by another great moment.

All in all, I fell in love with Brussels, its people and its culture; I am only dreaming of my return. The week or so before our flight back to NY, I wasn’t sleeping well. At the time, I blamed it on the new and unusual heat that Brussels was being treated with in early May, but during the long long flight home, I realized that I was nervous to return. I suddenly felt like a foreigner coming back in – would I be able to re-assimilate? Did I really want to? The answer is still no, but America has a way of sucking you in, putting you right back into its heads-down cycle of human contribution and output. I am happy to be home, to be reunited with my family and friends. But I am also sad, and I feel that parts of me are missing.

Lastly, and it’s probably not the last because I’ve been all over the place with this post, but how can one really structure such a thing (I don’t want any answers to that question).  Anyways, lastly, I want to say how grateful I am for the friends we’ve made. I didn’t plan nor expect to be sad to leave so many wonderful people, nor did I expect to miss them. Yet, I constantly think about what everyone might be doing at certain times of the day (six hours ahead, of course), and I often wish I was with them – unless it’s going to class. I am going to miss nearly crying of laughter, having two group DJ’s, and listening to non-stop talk about rap and stories from home about once or twice a week.

Moving forward, Ema will be interning with Target, as some official position that I’ve forgotten the name of (sorry Ema), Becca will be running the country club in Forest Hills, and I will be interning with Panthera – an environmental magazine for wildcats, in the city and living with Conor. Luckily, Les Trois Femmes de la Belgique can remain close over the summer and hopefully have some more fun adventures together before going back up to New Paltz for our senior year!

I am unsure of how to end this, as I don’t believe there are enough words to express what this past semester truly was to me. I am unbelievably grateful, especially for my parent’s and grandmothers’ support in the entire venture. Thank you. I would wish this experience upon anyone and everyone.

Until next time Bruxelles <3

Hello! My name is Katie, I am an English major and double minor in Environmental Studies and Law and Politics. I am very excited to be living in Belgium with a host family for four months! I will be studying politics, law, and French whilst abroad and I hope to discover Europe and more about myself in the process!

Leave a Reply

Next ArticleFaces of New Paltz: Ethan Fogg