Over the last two years, I only visited the Netherlands for a total of two weeks. I left the country no longer feeling at home and when I came back to visit for a short period of time everything felt peculiar. I wrote about it in a blog post then. I felt like an outsider who knew the insider’s secrets and I felt awkward speaking a language I have known all my life. So when I decided to visit the country for at least two weeks this summer I felt a bit apprehensive at first.
It’s much more crowded on the Dutch roads and I swear you can see at least one bicycle anywhere you go. I didn’t like the memory of what my life used to be like. Experiencing it all again once back in the country gave me a weird sense of nostalgia mixed with a feeling of disdain. However, when I visited this time I no longer felt that way.
In the blog post from about a year and a half ago, I remember details of cracks in the roads that I used to bicycle on. I can’t recall them now even when reading the old post. I can’t recall what I used to be like either; I don’t recognise the person from just a few years ago. I do recognise the places, though. They have become towns where I just so happen to know my way around. Streets are simply streets without any extra meaning and it feels natural to visit. I have moved on and I could move back.
People often ask me whether I’ll stay in Wales once I’ve finished my degree. I don’t know the answer to that question but I now know I have several places I could go and it feels like somewhat of a relief. Saying that though, I will likely always prefer English.