Student in a market abroad

 Amsterdam collage

The station was bustling as we pulled and carried our luggage to the next mode of transportation


Patches of color, reflections of character, and locations of travel sewn together with thin thread to carry my belongings


One from here, one from there, one blue, one burgundy


A city in a day; sore feet from walking down many streets—some cobbled, some paved


A ringing in the background; the red asphalt beneath your feet meant only for bikes


A street lamp and a sunflower sharing the same sidewalk; its large face happy despite a concrete ground


The bright little house sits idly atop the water but below sidewalk level


The glass outer wall of the building revealed the colorful walls inside; the collection of colors spelled the name of the building


Parks filled with life; pets frolic on the lawns; green grass and trees on perfectly warm days with a cool breeze


Soaking wet pants from the storm that rolled in an hour before you awoke; heavy sheets of rain that drench you on your bike ride to class


Brick lined alleyways with cobble roads; shutters on the windows and ceramic shingles on the roofs


Perfect warm apple cake with hot chocolate; Delft white and blue tiles on the walls; rain sprinkling down


A new town and an Uitfest; A Lindy Hop routine with a swing group in the crowd-filled square; Intimidation and nervousness along with support from friends



Giant built in couches and tables on the beach at a café; an afternoon drink with semi-Dutch contacts as the sun set


Rainy, cold travels on a ferry to Texel


Waves crashing on the boat, wind burn on your cheeks, students getting sea sick; A Dutch conversation with a woman from Belgium and a fresh catch of shrimp


Green hills, red roofs, and grey skies


Autumn day; leaves scattered across the ground, crunching under your tires as you pedal forward


Music, lights, laugher, and food fill the main square in Amsterdam; we saw the city from above on high, spinning swings


The sun setting behind a windmill outside our apartment window; the sky a different color every day


Children cooking for their own party; Je moet met je handen kneden


Hoera Max! 9 Jaar! Buritto met gehakt, nacho’s, salade, guacamole, en slagroom taart


Bikes lean on the bridge railing hoping their fate is not the watery canal below


A mosaic of Amsterdam covers the wall within the room; so colorful and bright; little beads and tiles strategically placed


A room untouched for 10 years; drawings and paintings left where they were; boat models displayed along the wall; all by my Opa


Bitter but kind and hospitable


Small Pumpkins carved into faces while sitting on the floor; the smell of burnt seeds from an attempt at stove-top toasting


A castle in the mist; briefly, snow flakes fall for the first time; warm, delicious pea soup served on a deep brown wooden table


Dinner with friends; laughing, and sharing new Dutch slang


Yellow Ginkgos rise high above your head, Rhubarb leaves you could sleep on, thick bamboo clusters, small kiwis and a Butterfly house


Thanksgiving; two desks pushed together; potluck dinner with stuffing, fried chicken, (burnt) cornbread, and squash all home made; warm friendship squeezed around the table


The walls are splattered with colorful magazine pages, pictures, and maps


Painting in the afternoon; a bowl of apricots on the desk; orange and red paint smeared across the page


Windmills; spinning tops crush color pigment; the stairs are small and wooden leading to a top deck overlooking green fields


Cheerful children frolic in the streets anticipating the coming parade; Zwarte Piet, kruidnoten, and Sinterklaas on his white horse


An Oma I never met before; lunch telling stories and reconnecting with a lost relative


The Worlds Best Hot Chocolate? Yes! Chocolate filled chocolate bowls to melt in warm bowls of milk


Ice skating in the Christmas square; two children in orange and pink full-body suits


Aqua tall socks on playful legs; the sun beaming in the window in the early afternoon


Red, velvety seats semi-circled around the red curtain; dancing sugarplums, the Mouse King, and an appearance of Sinterklaas


Golden wheels of cheese sold in the bustling market: Old, young, mild, and sharp


The air was cold outside and inside, but once you were gliding across the ice, all thoughts of temperature vanished


I can still smell my room, and freshly baked bread; I see bikes but am still searching for bike lanes


On grey days I pretend I am in Amsterdam; though South Carolina is my home,  so is the Netherlands


A place to learn a language, make international friends, build social bridges, gain self confidence, and drink morning and afternoon teas


A place to be creative, to ride your bike (in your own lane), and to strive for what YOU want


A time for growth and independence laced with heritage