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Oh, King’s Day. Where do I even begin?

I first heard about King’s Day (or Koningsdag in Dutch.) two years ago, when I was studying abroad in France. My friends and I had booked a weekend in Amsterdam (none of us had ever been) during our spring break, but when we went to book hostels, most of them were either extremely expensive or already booked, despite us searching months in advance.

It is then that we learned we were going to Amsterdam during King’s Day weekend: Holland’s biggest celebration (also known as the world’s biggest street party) of the year. King’s Day is celebrated in late April, on the King of the Netherland’s birthday. Up to a million tourists join the 750,000 locals for this national holiday.

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I’ve been homesick lately. Actually, I’ve been homesick for 6 months.

Until this year, moving to Amsterdam and becoming an au pair, I’d never been homesick before in my life. Not when I went to summer camp for 2 weeks when I was 12. Not when I moved away to college on my 18th birthday. Not when I moved to France for 10 months to study abroad. This year has been different.

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May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment.

— Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul 

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Learning to “be one with the joy of the moment” is something I’m constantly noting-to-self that I need to work on. Even more so lately, however, as my days in Amsterdam begin to dwindle and *What’s Next* begins to take up more and more space in my mind. I’ve spent quite a lot of mental energy over the past few months deciding what to do when my time in Holland is inevitably up. This means, I decided on an end date. This means, I bought my plane ticket home. This means, I’m officially leaving Amsterdam on July 28th. This means, I decided where I will live next year: Richmond. This means, I, again, have a roommate and an apartment in Virginia starting in August. This means, I’m really, really, really going home.

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