Coming back to the Netherlands has been a much larger adjustment than I expected it to be. I just did not realise how much I had grown accustomed to the local sub-culture we had at North Cotes College. What’s more, is that I had to figure out my weekly rhythm all over again.
North Cotes College Culture
North Cotes College lies in a very rural area. When groceries were needed we would drive for half an hour. And when I went to church on Sunday, it took a full hour to get there. The fact that I did not have my own vehicle meant that I always had to organise a lift from someone else. The result of all of this is that I really only spoke to people on campus for my entire time there. Hence North Cotes kind of has its own little sub-culture, mostly English, but also a good amount of German influence, not to mention the influence Christ has on the community! And it really was a blessing to have six months of being surrounded with brothers and sisters in Christ.
However, when I came back, there was a noticeable reverse culture-shock. I knew that English culture was subtle when I left. But I also discovered that you really only learn what that means by spending time with English people. The thing that really caught me off guard however, is that upon my return to the Netherlands, I actually had to adjust back to their direct culture again! Not that one is better than the other, it is just national cultural preference. What really shocked me however, is when I was walking in the supermarket and heard blasphemy uttered for the first time in six months. Yuck!
Before I came back, housing was a primary issue to be dealt with. Thankfully someone who had recently started attending my church offered that I could stay with Him. A bachelor who did not use a room in his apartment, except for storage. It seemed like the perfect solution. However, after eight weeks I suddenly had to decide, upon the advice of others, to move. Though I won’t go into the details here. Nevertheless, I still see this opportunity as a great blessing.
What was even more of a blessing is that when I moved out, several brothers immediately and eagerly offered help to me. In the end I decided to stay with a brother from church in the beautiful countryside. The peaceful surroundings really are relaxing, and it feels like a great blessing to be here. Even though the move was a tad stressful, I really felt God’s presence throughout the situation. Truly, as it is written:
Filling My Schedule
I find that the dull moments in life are to be cherished, because they are few and far between. With online classes I still have a 40-hour work week. On top of that I try to see as many friends as possible – which is a real balancing act. Because try as I might, I am human and therefore limited in how much I can do in one week. But the fact that I have these six months in the Netherlands is a real blessing, as I can be part of my home church, and continue to build relationships with those that are with me in prayer.
- I am thankful for all the blessings I have!
- Balancing my schedule is always a challenge, as there is always more to do.