It`s been a month since I came to Maastricht, so I thought I`d write a little about what my time here has been like so far. Whenever people ask me “how`s the Netherlands?” or “how are you liking it?”, I don`t exactly know what to say. I`m enjoying my adventure here, it`s nice to be somewhere else and be part of something different and new. New school, new culture, new society and new place. Even if it`s just for a while. But saying those things are somehow not enough, because I feel like it`s hard to explain what it`s like if you haven`t been on an adventure like this yourself, even though we all experience it differently.

Living in Maastricht is chill and cool. It`s a small city and I have everything I need nearby. The buildings and streets look so elegant and I ride my bike everywhere I go, because that`s faster and that`s also how most people get around in the city. I live about fifteen-twenty minutes away from the centrum with the bike, which is something I`m okay with. It`s not like I miss anything, there`s a grocery shop 30 seconds from here that`s pretty much what I need on a daily basis. The people here are also quite helpful. My experience is that not everyone speaks English so well, but that`s not really a big issue.

The best part about doing an exchange semester, is definitely that – travelling. It`s faster and cheaper for me. Whenever I`ve been in Norway and have wanted to visit my family in Germany, I`ve had to take a plane. I could take the ferry and then the train, but that takes more time. It`s either time or money. Being in Holland makes it easier for me to just catch a train to different countries like Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Germany for a cheap price. I`m definitely going to take advantage of that. The most travelling I`ve ever done, has been this year and it`s only going to get better.

I`m also enjoying the fact that I`m somewhere else. Away from the life I`m used to in Norway. I meet people from different countries with different backgrounds, I have got to know another teaching system and new places. Even though I`m here as a student, the best thing is being able to visit new places and go anywhere without being recognised by anyone. It`s being lost and being okay with it, because that`s the point. Visiting new corner, exploring new things, meeting people you`ve never met before.

I can already tell it`s going to be weird to go back to Oslo.

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This is a post I actually posted yesterday, but the 5th of July was the day Margot Frank received a note  to report to a labor camp. They went into hiding on the 6th. Have no idea how I exchanged these two dates. 

Today it`s exactly 75 years ago since Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in “Achterhuis” in Prinsengracht. Four days ago, I was there myself.

Imagine not being able to go outside for more than two years. You`re locked inside day and night, in small rooms. Not only that – you`re helpless with fear every single day. “These people were in prison, a prison with locks on the inside”, Miep Gies (one of the helpers) said. Imagine living in fear of being discovered and taken away to somewhere, which reminds you of something like death. For nearly 25 months, Anne and her family hid in her Dad`s office, with hopes of survival and a great future ahead.

If you know her story, you`ll know she and six of those who hid with her, died. Thinking of that still makes me emotional. Not only because I look so much up to Anne Frank, but also because I think of the millions of humans who suffered and died.

When I was standing where she stood 75 years ago, I felt weird, but amazing and so inspired. I am so lucky to live in Norway and live the life I`m currently living. I have so many opportunities ahead of me, I`m studying whatever I want to and I can go out every day and breathe in some fresh air. Stand in the pouring rain. Meet people. I don`t have to be afraid at nights and lie wide awake due to bombing. Most of us in the West are so fortunate and lucky. We have everything and to me, many of our problems don`t really matter, in the very end. Life`s not always a dance on roses. We can do things kids in war can`t. Being in the “Achterhuis” has once again made me realise how important it is for me to be thankful and thank God for the journey I`m on. Anne`s sister, Margot, died at the age of 19. I`m 19 and I`m still alive. I can do everything she couldn`t and my future doesn`t seem so distant.

I`ve been through a lot in life. I have my mistakes and I`ve made myself proud many times. I`m grateful for that. No matter what I`ve been through and are going through, I need to remember that I`m alive and that one day, the hard times will come to an end. I consider myself blessed, since I can live on and continue to grow as a person and human being, and make the world a better place.

I can do and encounter everything people that lived before us and went through horrible times, couldn`t do.

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Where do I even begin? AMSTERDAM WAS A-M-A-Z-I-NG! The people, the good vibes, the tourism, the architecture, the houses, the streets, the canals – everything was quite different from Oslo, which is a small city compared to Amsterdam. I miss it all way too much. Ah, I went to the ANNE FRANK HOUSE!!!! It was the best part of the whole trip. I really enjoyed my time there. I couldn`t believe I was finally there. We didn`t even have to wait that long outside, and the two hours I spent inside went by way too fast. I stood where Anne used to be years before. I`m speechless, but thankful for having the opportunity to finally say that I`ve been to Amsterdam and I`ve been to Prinsengracht 263. 🙂 We came back to Norway today and not yesterday, as our flight for some reason was overbooked. So, we stayed one night more, which was fantastic. For once it wasn`t our fault, haha. I guess God heard my prayers. 😉

I really don`t know where to even begin, as I have so much to tell and so much to show you guys! I want to write several posts, but long and short about my trip, but that`ll of course take some time. For now, let`s just say I`ve had the time of my life. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥