When any year is nearing its end, one cannot help but to reflect on what one has achieved. A year starting out as a promise – the prospect of getting married in July, moving to Amsterdam and then traveling to Canada – was completely thrown into disarray. Although I cannot emphasise enough how happy my marital day has made me, everything else this year has put an enormous pressure on both of us.
In February we arrived in the Netherlands and I started working very quickly as a copywriter for the Bijenkorf website and in the weekends at my favourite coffee place Het Muzieklokaal. We lived partially at home and in my small, student room in Utrecht, which consisted of a bed, a couch, a fluffy rug, a lot of candles and a bookshelf. It was not ideal for two people. Attempts to find an apartment in Amsterdam was fruitless since the house prices were at its highest ever; and we were left to find a relatively larger home in Utrecht. In the meantime, my husband-to-be couldn’t find a job that he would enjoy and we were trying to plan a wedding that turned out to be bigger and more expensive than we had initially planned on. In July, we married and had the best day of our lives so far.
I became overworked after working 6/7 days a week for months and crashed around September. Tim and I were missing Australia very much. Not all was dark shades and doom though, for we loved our little apartment near my sister and I found time to relax and enjoy hanging out with friends and my new husband. The Canadian travel plans were postponed for I was not selected to receive a Working Holiday Visa, and we had started to consider other travel possibilities. Eventually we settled on buying a van that would take us around Europe. ‘Van-life’ became our new dream.
In the beginning of October, we bought a Mercedes 508D campervan that was rusty, noisy and damp, but we had fallen in love with it. However, our feelings turned out to be the Achilles heel that became another downfall. We had taken it to the welder who told us quite frankly that this van was too rusty to be patched up; costs were mentioned that made our hearts sink. And while the symbolic rain fell down on us and the van and the friendly bearer of bad news, we returned home to my parental house in Culemborg to think things over with whisky and grief.
What do you do after a year with so many setbacks? You persevere. We both started to work at local restaurants to make up our losses after selling the van and as time past, hope and dreams seeped back into our conversations. Now, we’re looking to buy a new van, a smaller, healthier and less-rustier version. Though I would say that I’m happy this year is finally over and that I hope that the worst throwbacks have past, I’m thankful for everything we have learned and how it brought me closer to my favourite human on earth. Fingers crossed that the next van is our way into a new adventure.