I was surprised by COVID-19. Even when I heard that study abroads in Italy were getting canceled I was still optimistic that we would be able to stay in Amsterdam. Coronavirus was taking up more and more space in conversation and thought. Then it snowballed, it was the only thing any of us could talk about. We were less optimistic and started using humor to push off what we knew was coming.
After Trump’s address calling for the closing of borders everything changed. I woke up with half of my floor gone, packing and jumping on flights with short notice. Even then I was still optimistic that maybe there was some way that I would be able to stay for a little longer. As everyone around me booked tickets it was time for me to concede and book one too.
It felt surreal saying goodbye to the friends I made. Even as we spent our final days enjoying the city it didn’t feel like we had to leave, this was only a small bump things would go back to normal. Packing all my things up and getting ready to leave feeling like I was going for another weekend vacation instead of going home.
Being back home now it still hasn’t really hit me that I am here for at least the next six months. The process of leaving and getting on the plane was a good test for myself in how I can handle situations where I am powerless. Caught in the changing cogs of society. I did a good job of staying calm and thinking about what I needed to do from step to step to make sure that I would be able to get back home safely. Now being back it will be interesting to see what the next six months to a year hold for myself and the larger global picture. I have no regrets from my time in Amsterdam, no one is immune to misfortune. All we can do is make the most of the time that we have. I can confidently say I made the most of my time in Amsterdam and will continue to do so while in quarantine.