New Year’s Resolutions

Although many say that people never change, I’m still trying. Another year has passed, and as we saw last week in my Year in Review, most of my resolutions were huge successes! So in light of another new year, here are my new resolutions:


Learn to be independent financially don’t begin to pay off my university debt. That’s right, as a soon-to-be graduate, I have my fair share of debt, so this year marks a new opportunity for a more financially responsible Brittany.

Practice photography and focus on documenting my life. I would like to better capture my favourite moments and learn to take pictures in manual mode. Also these pictures will ~preferably~ not be blurry.

Visit my friends abroad do continue to see the world. With a few friends scattered across Europe and Asia it would be great to visit them.

Be more interesting- even more then last year.

Cut down on baggage. Emotional, material, etc. *snip snip*

Practice my Dutch. Hopefully become conversational.

Try and save money for a rainy day.

Try and work on my bullet journal everyday. (At the very least, not miss a month at a time).

Stop eating like trash. I’m not 18 anymore and adult acne isn’t cute.

These may seem pretty easy, but I like my resolutions doable, if not inevitable. I hope this year brings hope and a light at the end of last years dumpster fire… happy new year!

B.

Best and Worst: University

As some of you know, I am wrapping up my 4 years of my undergraduate. A lot has happened and I feel like I have grown from these experiences. People often ask me about highlights I have had over my university career. But since I am now doing  a masters in popular culture, I figured I would wrap up my undergrad in the only way I know how… a list.


The paper that I lost. Yes, this happened two days ago and it is going to top my list as one of the worst experiences I have had in university. I had a paper due at midnight and lost the unsaved paper at 10 o’clock pm. while weeping I started re-writing my 40% term paper.

Locked out of my apartment. This has happened not once, but twice over my 4 years. The first time was in my first year when I was in my pj’s, I was forced to walk campus to go get another key to get back in. The second was for three days when my roommate came up to the house, dropped things off, left and locked the door (with my keys inside). Blessed that I could force my friend to let me stay at their place. (I mean, he gave me food poisoning, projectile vomited at our favorite restaurant and basically died.)

Losing friends. I won’t lie, or sugar coat this one. You assume that the friends you make in first year are the friends you will keep forever, but that is not always the case. I made amazing friends in first year that although struggling to keep, I still lost. But you know what they say, if you love something let it go.

My daily naps. Sure it may seem as though I have reverted back to kindergarten, but nothing keeps me more sane than my afternoon siesta.
Tearful goodbyes. I told myself I wouldn’t include my travels, because I always talk about them. But to be 100% honest, it was one of the best experiences of my life and influential to my last year of university. Although I have had to say goodbye to many amazing people, I know it is not goodbye, but until next time.

The semester I took 6 courses. Probably one of the worst decisions of my life, I had no time for anything but school work and how is someone who only wants to watch Netflix expected to be at school all the time.

The nights I don’t remember. This is not me saying I am sloppy, but that there are nights that I genuinely had so much fun that all I can remember are the hours spent on the dance floor with amazing people.

Honestly, my four years of higher education were pretty tame. Barely making deadlines, staying home on Friday nights, and being a true master of none. I am glad to say I’ll be pursing two more years in the crazy whirlwind they call graduate studies, and hopefully with that I will have many new adventures with new challenges. Stay tuned kids, the ride has only just begun.

Dear 2015

This has been an amazing year. If someone would have told me that this year would have been the way it was I honestly wouldn’t have believed them. Since its the last day of 2015 I figured I would round up the top moments of my year.

Visiting Auschwitz

not the most happy of memories, but it definitely something that both changed my life and altered my perspective on life.

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Having Something Published

I mean, it wasn’t met with the best criticism but I will forever remember the day I had my first article published in the newspaper and made my debut in entertainment media. *hair flick*

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Going to Germany to See Christina

Honestly, one the best things I did for myself this year, not only did going to see her allow me to bring us closer but also gave me the opportunity to see some people I never thought I would again. Probably the best memory of the year was making it back to the Netherlands and meeting up with my bestie.

School

Today has been met with anticipation of the future, but also the fear associated with my life at school drawing to an end. I survived my toughest semester yet and get to sit here like a champ after writing a shit ton of papers.

My Blog

This year my blog really grew and expanded into something I could enjoy myself and appreciate as something that could bring others joy.

Amazing Friends

Yeah it is really broad but this year brought me a year of expanding my horizons and making some amazing friends and reaffirming my existing ones.

Overall a great year, friends were made and lost and I found out the kind of person I want to be. 2015 is a year beyond words so shout out to those who made it like it was.

My New Year’s Resolution for this year is to continue to find things that genuinely make me happy and worry less about the things I can’t change, also drink more water.

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Happy New Year!

-Brittany

Bridget and Biertje Take on the World

I realized I stopped giving these any preface. Well here is Day 7 of my travel log. I skipped posting yesterday due to work and homework things (and a good binge with my roommates) #sorrynotsorry

So.


Didn’t get up till 12:30 due to last nights activities. I awoke in Demi’s room slightly confused and very lost, of course she had told me not to close the blinds all the way so I could see where I was in the morning, but I didn’t listen and was currently reaping the rewards.

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Demi and I sat downstairs and the huge breakfast she had prepared for us. After that we chatted, watched the news and I helped her with her homework. Or at least I’d like to think I did…

*pray for her grades*

It’s funny because at home I refuse to edit my work, but it is almost calming to editing her work and talk things through with her because things I find very simple are the only parts she doesn’t get. Demi is extremely smart though and as soon as the concept is read to her she could talk circles around me.

By the time we were actually dressed and ready to go it was already close to 5pm. We headed into Nijmegen to do a bit of shopping which ended up walking past all the cute shops in order to get to Primark before it closed. Although not going into any of the cute little shops, the old part of Nijmegen is extremely pretty and inspiring. Definitely a place to visit if you are ever in the Netherlands. Similar to Deventer with its old streets and small shops, Nijmegen’s center has a beautiful old church in the middle and is surrounded by small cafes that are perfect for a chat over coffee.

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But that wasn’t the focus today, Demi and I were on the hunt for Primark. It is this weird 3 level store that is full of clothing and house products. I mean, yes very similar to stores like H&M and Forever 21, but its very cheap, and I like cheap. I had heard only good things (except from Tom, but screw Tom). We spent the next hour shopping through the levels and talking about our love for cheap things. Around 6 we realized that we would probably be late to Tom’s where we were going for supper and the panic started. Demi went back for the car and I went to check lout, which didn’t help that the store was closing so everyone else was also checking out. Post-cehckout left us rushing back to the car she had illegally parked and going straight to Tom’s. For supper Tom made us this amazing pesto chicken (this is here because I know he will read this) and supper progressed with casual conversation about Canada and differences/similarities and such. This is when Tom’s dad Bert went on to ask “so Bridget, tell us a bit about yourself”. I mean, at first I didn’t quite realize he was talking to mean and when I did I laughed because what else does one do when you’ve met someone a few times and they call you the wrong name. Although, it made for a funny story and he is super nice so I’ll let it slide.

After supper and clean up, we all sat down and I was once again reunited with Biertje the cat. My love for cats has become so real here that I honestly am starting to question if I’ll ever get married or if I should just adopt a cat now. Unofrtunately Biertje wouldn’t leave with me so I’m still catless. #foreveralone

Demi and I left to go watch her friend play football (classic Dutch).

  1. It was so damn cold.
  2. the national team was playing for a spot in a tournament that I’m not sure the title of

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We sat inside the club house and watched a bit of both games, but when Demi decided ther was no chance that the Dutch team would win we went out into the cold to watch the other game. It is actually quite interesting how into football people get here. I can imagine this is the equivalent to American football where everyone is really intense and there is a lot of pride in the teams you follow. Because the closest thing we have in Canada is hockey and although I would call myself a fan, I’m no die-hard leafs fan that will stand by them through their many loses.

But back to the current situation, it obviously eventually got too cold to stand outside and we retreated for coffee and to see if any miracles had happened. Ya… they hadn’t. But once the game outside ended, it went from a room with just Demi and I in it to a room full of football players really quickly. All gathered around the TV to see the Netherlands lose to the Czech Republic, tensions were running very high.

Post-defeat, I got to meet Demi’s whose was on the team we were originally there to watch. He was very kind and invited us over to watch more football (NICE!). After a couple of teas at Demi’s (probably around 11pm) we returned to the city and ended up sitting around and chatting while drinking more tea, but probably one of the chillest times I have had yet here. We weren’t rushing or going or drinking, we got to just sit and enjoy each others company which is what I like doing best. this didn’t last too long and Demi and I returned home to get to sleep for our relatively early morning to follow.

Overtired and Underfed.

We left off around 5 am outside the Nijenhuis’ residence, and here we are today. So clearly I survived.


So today starts off with a super hungover Christina and Brittany, who didn’t go to bed until past 5 in the morning as were originally leaving at 10am. I knew this wouldn’t happen so I messaged our cab driver (Tom) and asked if he could come an hour later. We then continued laying in bed feeling extremely shitty for another hour. One hour became 2 when Tom said he would be there at 12, so we took that as an opportunity to lay in bed for the next 50 minutes and pack for the last 10. “Packing” consisted of me sitting on the floor, throwing things into my suitcase with my eyes closed.

We then sat for our last breakfast with the Nijenhuis and gave our gifts to the family for such an amazing time that they gave us. Tom joined us for family photos on the front porch and another hour of chatting before actually leaving for Nijmegen. This lasted a whole 2 minutes because our presence was requested at the Havercamp so Koen could say goodbye again, which was wildly appreciated.

The next hour was everything I could have ever wished for, one of my favourite things happens to being singing/dancing in the car. Today I was lucky enough to do this with both Tom and Christina, although Christina was more quite and passive due to the hangover. But we jammed to 12 year old Tom’s mixtapes that we were lucky enough to find in the car. (thank god for shitty radio stations) We arrived in Weurt (yes, that’s a town name) and received the official tour from Tom, this consisted of the river, the dyke, the church and Demi’s house. It was extremely hard to take it all in at once. Our last stop was a visit to Tom’s house where we got to meet his family, and by “family” I mostly mean his cats. This is where I discovered my love for beer, well small beer that is. Biertje <3

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Torn from my cat friends, we went into the center for a coffee before taking christina to the train. Although I love a coffee between things, this one left us short for time so we had to speed walk up hill to the train station. I guess its okay because we stopped at KFC so Christina could get herself so dinner. We made it in time and said goodbye so she could get on her train.  It was hard to watch her leave so soon, we had alot to do that I wish she would be a part of.

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Post-dropping Christina off, we walked this city down to the Waal.The Waal was an important place for the Liberation Route in WW2, actually where Frank Graham, the Canadian veteran whose name we cycled under fought in the war. Tom was a barrel of facts and basically gave me the full war tour of Nijmegen as we walked along.

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Tom and I went to cafe to sit and catch up. Slowly minutes turned to hours and multiple coffees (for me). Conversation consisted of the same nonsense we had been talking about for months but actually in person. It was comfortable and so normal that at points it seemed that the distance didn’t exist.

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We were promised by Demi to meet at the cafe, but because of school she ended up being a few hours late. So we ended up at this weird club/restaurant to meet her for supper. For her it went from 4 to 5 to 6 really fast, and once again Tom and I were left chatting, which I wasn’t complaining about though he may have been. Finally seeing Demi was weird, because I would consider her a close friend but she was one of the people I talked to the least since the trip. It was comfortable too and we were able to pick up right were we left off in May. It helps that she is probably the kindest person I have met (despite some really mean jokes).

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We met some of Demi’s field hockey friends and headed home, the two of us ended up staying up chatting till 1 am, and in the middle driving into the city to meet her friend. When we got home, finally going to bed.

Coffee or Tea?

Yes. I am alive, I didn’t die in Europe. This IS the second time this has happened. This time I have returned with all of my electronics, but not a whole lot of sanity.

I could just delete the first two posts I made and pretend I didn’t go, but I had an amazing trip that I still want to share with you all if your willing to listen.

Still there? Oké.

So. Day 3.

That morning started at 10 am, Christina and I had promised Tanja’s dad that we would be up for 10 o’clock coffee and yeah, we missed that. With all the travelling done between the two of us I think it was understandable (I flew in that morning and she trained in the night before).

Annie, Tanja’s mom, made us a beautiful breakfast with bread, cheese, eggs, and coffee. Would never have thought I would miss my gouda/butter sandwiches as much as did. Being back in the Netherlands I’ve already noticed how much these people are willing to do for you, yes that breakfast may be normal but it was still very kind. Not to mention driving to pick up Christina and showing us around.

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After that we were escorted to the top of the “mountain” in Markelo to see the WW2 monument atop it. (the view too) We then went down to the windmill to take those really dumb tourist photos in front of it and pick up postcards. Surprisingly, the little town of Markelo even manages to have postcards.

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By now you may be thinking, “when are they going to ride bikes?” (well probably not, but I did significantly more biking on the last trip). First, we had to teach Christina how to ride a bike again (she does know how to ride a bike, but Dutch bicycles are alot bigger). It was a requirement in “Brittany’s cycling school” that she learned to bike on a Dutch bicycle before we went to Dieka, but unfortunately nothing could have prepared her for that ride. So as a bit of preparation we biked out to Suus’ house, which was about 5km (I think) from town. It felt like forever since I had seen Suus and her family, but like yesterday that I’d been biking back and forth from their house to Markelo.

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We sat and caught up over multiple cups of Markelo’s best coffee and a bit of pie. These people really feel like a second family to me now, I think there is something about the Dutch people. They are all so welcoming that although the first little bit may be awkward, they are quick to welcome you into their homes. After a bit more chatting, we took Suus with us and went back into town to meet up with Bart at Eppies for some afternoon beers. The rest of our afternoon was spent chatting with the group over bitterballen and grolsch, something I had missed and knew to savour.

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Christina and I returned to Mirjam’s to get the “authentic” Dutch shopping experience. Basically: only open certain days, not at lunch, friendly staff, coffee and beer whilst shopping and probably a good chat too. (Starting to see any patterns?)

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By bike we went through the back streets in Markelo in what I thought was a time saving act, but ended up getting us lost and being late back to Tanja’s. Erik (Tanja’s dad) took us to Holten so we could visit the Holten war cemetery and visit the grasslands outside the town. It was a weird thing seeing these places again, untouched by time and peaceful.

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On our way back to town we stopped by the snack bar to pick up dinner (fries and Krokets). Seeing some more familiar faces there, the usual suspects- Berry, Anke and Koen, who all work at the Havercamp.

After supper, Tanja, Christina and I took a bit of time to rest up because we had been invited out to Wilbert’s bar, you may remember this as the place where we pre-drank the last time I was here before Dieka, but probably not. That night consisted of the three of us awkwardly mingling with Wilbert and Jarno’s friends for a while till the alcohol kicked in and it turned into a party. I note Wilbert and Tanja’s grandparents having a shot with us all as the real start to the evening.

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Overall it was an amazing night out with good people, was a good way to ease into Dieka tomorrow. Deventer tomorrow with Wilja.