The end is nigh.
With two weeks to go, the regrets are just starting to sink in: why didn’t I go to Croatia? why didn’t I teach a single student the Hog Call? why didn’t my blog go viral? why did I eat all the chocolates that were meant to be souvenirs?
So, in a last-ditch effort to make myself feel like I spent the year using my weekends to travel to far-off lands, I finally ventured over the border. Twice. Mind you, I live here:
which means the border is here:
which means that “venturing over the border” is the European equivalent of doing this:
Still, there are some differences between crossing the border to go to Belgium or the Netherlands and crossing the border to go to Tulsa. For starters, day tripping to Tulsa does not necessitate that my travel companions and I pool all our piecemeal knowledge of French together as we did when we ventured into Liege, where surprisingly, refreshingly, little English is spoken, and where, needless to say, they were not altogether impressed by our rounds of Frère Jacques or by my ability to sing the countries surrounding France en Française to the tune of Jingle Bells (shout out to 9th grade French classmates!).
This past weekend saw a dip into the Netherlands, where I visited a friend who lives in the loveliest spot I visited this year, Leiden, and took a day trip to Amsterdam, where I neither smoked pot nor visited a brothel, but where I fell in love with the city regardless. It was a perfect place for a long wander: watching boats on canals, ducking into shops selling cheese and Delfts pottery, strolling
around markets, wondering what acts of kindness Holland’s inhabitants committed in a previous life to get born here in this one. The people are beautiful and every single one of them seems so naturally bilingual, the place is just as picturesque as you imagine, pickled herring is easy enough to avoid, they sell tulip bulbs in the streets, and they seem to have made a national sport out of transporting all three of your darling children, this week’s groceries, and your family dog all while on your bike, dodging obstacles like that other guy who’s biking while texting, as he pulls a second bike alongside him with his free hand. Tulsa, meanwhile, has made a national sport out of being my least favorite road trip destination.