Belgium and Bedrest // Love and Liefs

Dear Shannon,

I hope that your break back home was nice, and that you’re not having too much trouble adjusting to Wellesley. I got a notification from Facebook this morning with photos from this day last year, when my friends and I had a picnic in the lawn behind McAfee to celebrate the start of spring. I don’t miss Wellesley often, but the way the campus transitions from winter to spring is magical, and today, I’m missing that.

The last few weeks here have been busy! Two weeks ago, just after Ken’s birthday celebration, my best friend from high school, Maya, came to the Netherlands to visit me. She, her mom, and their family friend flew to Amsterdam, and Maya came to stay in our apartment while the other two stayed at a hotel in the city.

Maya and I have a long history of trips together, from Seattle to Niagara Falls. For all those trips, I’ve been the ridiculous one (which, for the two of us, is saying a lot). It was my idea to listen to Caramelldansen non-stop for eight hours as we drove from Toronto to New York. It was me who got us in trouble for repeatedly pointing the same baby and saying “BABY” for God-knows-what-reason in Bermuda over the course of our stay. And I’m the one who always gets lost in our hotel, because my terrible sense of direction usually leads me to a broom closet.

But this time, I was the translator and “local.” I was in charge of making sure we got from A to B, ordering our meals, and pointing out which buildings were which whenever Maya asked (which lead to some embarrassing conversations with our cab driver). Part of that was for show; most of the people in the Netherlands speak excellent English. But something must have rubbed off well, because right now Maya is learning a little Dutch on Duolingo!

A great primer to the bug I developed a few days later

Maya and I had a really fun time in Amsterdam. At her repeated insistence, wee went to Micropia, the world’s only microbe museum. At mine, we wandered through the royal zoo, Artis, which is right next door.

We spent some time wandering through the 9 straatjes, a shopping area with fun independent stores. I saw this super cute button store, aka the setting for my next whimsical rom-com book.

The next morning, Maya, her mom, their friend, and I went to Antwerp, in Belgium. We had lunch in a beautiful chocolate store and café, but unfortunately it was the day after Ash Wednesday, and I had given up sugar for Lent. I picked up a candy bar for Ken’s parents, though!

Desire, desire

Maya’s friend is a jeweler, so we had the opportunity to go to the diamond district and look through diamonds for her store. Though I had no idea what I was doing, it was a cool once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I now know enough diamond terminology to hold my own during my next Met Gala or international heist.

Me, totally knowing what I’m doing with this diamond

Maya left a few days later, but not before trying a variety of Dutch candy (“terrible,” “awful,” “why did you do this to me?”) and baked goods (“amazing,” “can we come back here?”). She left me with a virus, leaving me bedridden for four days, and the password to her Amazon Video Library, leaving me thoroughly entertained all week. I am now fluent in Marriage Bootcamp.

The next few weeks look a lot less eventful for me, though I’m planning on going to a few meet ups in Amsterdam. I hope that your coming weeks aren’t too stressful; I know it’s midterms season at Wellesley! Be sure to take some time to rest and take care of yourself. I believe in you, and I can’t wait to hear from you soon.

Love and Liefs,


More from this Series:

Shannon’s Posts:

Introducing Love & Liefs

Getting Lost and Exploring the City

Stating Dutch School, Learning to Cycle, Turning 21 

Getting Yelled and in Dutch

Traveling and Fall

Traveling, Finals, and Getting My Life Together

Oh What a Weekend


From a Train in Hungary

I’m Back!

Sara’s Posts:

The Start of Something New

Not-So-New Beginnings

Routines and Celebrations

Travel Week

A Very Busy October

We’re With You

Revisiting My Semester Goals

Ken’s Birthday Adventure

Sara Laughed

Hey hey! I'm Sara, an American writer living in the Netherlands and working as a product manager.

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