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I’ve been saying the word “change” a lot lately, to the point where it’s become just a funny sound and has lost all meaning. Does this happen to anyone else?

I’m saying it because Jesse and I have a big life change coming up in a just a few months. We’ve been planning it for a long time now but have been too nervous about the outcome to tell very many people, so this is a bit sudden.

In March, Jesse completed his Bachelor’s degree here in Portland. While searching for good master’s program in Literature, he came across a few programs abroad and thought, “Hey, let’s apply and see what happens.” And it did happen. In May we got word that Jesse was accepted into the University of Amsterdam. In the Netherlands. In Europe.

University of Amsterdam building

We breathed hard, hyperventilated a little bit, and dove into finding loans, getting housing, and visa paperwork, which we’re still knee-deep in now.

But it’s true: in just a few months we will be sorting and selling most of our stuff, packing the rest away, and moving to the Netherlands for a year. I’ve already checked out a book on Dutch from the library, and have been stumbling my way through the recordings.

It’s a year-long program, so it’s not a permanent move. But it’s long enough to make this feel like a huge thing for us. There’s a lot we don’t know: where we’ll live, who we’ll meet, what I’ll do with my time… it’s all in the dark. But any adventure is directly related to amount of forethought you’ve put into it, and I feel like I’m striking a good balance between being a pathetic dummy and a smug know-it-all.

I’m so excited for this change, and at the same time I’m acutely aware of the wonderful people and things I’m leaving behind. That’s the sorrow of travel and adventure–the part where you leave loved ones. If only I could pack everyone away in a little bag and pull them out when I need them. I picture myself leaving the warmth and community I’ve found here in Portland for a small, dark, lonely room far away, and it scares me.

But. I won’t be alone. I’ve moved cities before. I’m ready for some time off of working,  time to myself, learning  a new language, and following the love of my life across the world to find what we can find.

For you, dear readers, the only thing that will change is the fact that you’ll hear about Amsterdam a bit more as I write from a new city and document our move there. I’ll still bike, cook, craft (as much as I can without a sewing machine!) and explore, and I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading. And probably a little longer.

The plan is tentatively to leave at the beginning of August, which is less than two months away. Classes start sometime in September, so that gives us time to travel a bit and then get settled in our new home. We’ve got a lot of work to do until then! What an adventure!

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