I went back to Belgium with Belgians this time, and explored in a whole different way.
At one point we went to a restaurant that was a pop up and Tim ordered and actually enjoyed a salad. I was very proud.
There’s something strange about watching someone you’ve known for a while drive for the first time. I think because I myself do not drive, it’s hard for me to picture anyone else driving. It’s also a lot easier to get your license in Europe, so when people have full licenses I always get slightly impressed even if it’s kind of irrelevant.
Lars, Tim, Sarah and I went to Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp by car from Brussels. Possibly other places in between, but my memory is about as blurry as these photos.
My winter photos are always moodier than my summer ones. I think it’s the grey skies, so the lighting is softer because I don’t usually change my film ISO even though I should.
2015 was beyond lovely. I saw so many lovely places, met so many lovely people, ate such spectacular food, and fell in love with so many things. I grew an incredible amount and pushed myself to limits that I didn’t realise I could surpass, and started asking all the right questions about myself.
I was so solitary and such a sad human when I ran away to Europe. I couldn’t move forward with anything because I wasn’t expecting myself to be around and get through high school, so when I found a different reality to be in when I started university I latched on and couldn’t see outside the corner I had backed myself into.
It wasn’t a new bad situation, and it sure as hell was a lot less toxic than my surroundings were when I was in high school. I was getting better, but I was stuck and it took a massive change in myself and a fair few years of trying to see exactly how much more I was capable of to start moving again.
My goal has always to be able to move forward, and in the circumstances of the time, lovely as they were, I wouldn’t have developed in the direction I vaguely knew I wanted to go. I guess I didn’t know what I wanted until I started seeing that I could have it.
Don’t get me wrong. I was happy for once in my life, and immeasurably so, before I went abroad. But just because I’m not moving backwards doesn’t mean I’m moving forwards in my life. I was better, but I wasn’t continuing getting better and it took a lot of stress and pressure last year to start moving, and a lot of it was because of the break up.
I haven’t really talked about my previous relationship break up of last year because I’ve not figured out how to articulate it yet. It’s been a year, but I’ve been moving so fast in the last year that I’ve not had the time to properly take a breath and think over it.
But here’s what I’ve figured out so far, since this has weirdly had so much attention from people in my life with or without my input and I am stubbornly incapable of moving on without declaring what exactly I think of something.
I have absolutely no regrets about breaking up, but at the time it completely destroyed me. I wasn’t expecting it at all, even though I eventually realised how little attention I gave and how distracted I was from the relationship by all the new things in my life. Just for the fact that I left so many things at his house to pick up after I came back, I feel, should show that I did not intend for a break up to happen. I lived in a complete incoherent haze for about two or three weeks afterwards, heavily assisted by alcohol. The last few weeks of the relationship and the first few weeks of the break up directly affected my mental and physical health, and I’m eternally grateful to those who were around me at the time who grabbed onto whatever pieces there was left of me and made sure I wouldn’t do anything too stupid.
I’m not going to shy away from the horribly cruel and abusive messages I received from him following the break up, but I understand that they were sent out of anger and that he’s a good person, a good friend and, for that matter, a great boyfriend. But he’s a pretty terrible ex. I won’t deny that I pushed him to lengths that I knew he wouldn’t be able to maintain, but I feel totally neutral about that. I had hopes, and they were short lived. At this point, I don’t expect anything anymore. I suppose in a way that’s the break up still affecting me, but I’m tired of having it on my mind. I’m tired of the association we have.
We had good times together, but the aftermath and that other side of him just wasn’t worth it. And no, there’s no chance for a second try. If anything, I don’t even think there’s a friendship there anymore and as far as I can tell neither of us can see it happening.
People move on when you leave, it’s inevitable. All the solitude and sadness in my brain made me desperate to think that things wouldn’t change even though I knew otherwise, because I had a heavy fear of all the bad times happening again, so I forced my own hand and put myself in a terrifyingly different situation so to make myself move on and it’s had unforeseen effects on other parts of my life. I couldn’t see forward when I made a lot of these decisions. It’s not easy when you’re completely blind to future problems because you have battles you fight every fucking day to just survive.
To be honest, coming home has been a lot of work because it hasn’t felt like coming home at all. If anything, my year abroad has convinced me that I’m inevitably a lonely nomad, but also that I am completely able to forge meaningful long distance affections and that I can love people in so, so many different ways. I am capable of a lot of things, even when I’m solitary and sad which is always.
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These are the last photos from 2015! I have one more 2015 photo post to do but that’ll be when I’m back from Europe again because it’s currently still apocalyptic Friday. I fly in 14 hours to Paris and I’m still only half done with my four assignments and about 25% packed so of course here I am typing up a long, solemn blog post.
It’s felt a little unfair that everyone’s heard the other side of the story, I guess. But here we are, and there I’ve gone! We all work in different ways because humans are weird. I’ve never been a private person, really, and it’s been on my mind because I haven’t slept properly in about two weeks and I’m working on very thin ice at the moment.
By the time I post this, though I should be on the plane on my way back to Europe for the first proper break I’ve had in a long time. I’m looking forward to it.
12/06 Sydney – Paris – Annecy
19/06 Annecy – Brussels
22/06 Brussels – Amsterdam, Delft, Utrecht, Amsterdam
25/06 Amsterdam – Vienna
29/06 Vienna – Zurich
01/07 Zurich – Barcelona
04/07 Barcelona – Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Bari
08/07 Bari – Athens, Santorini, Mikonos
12/07 Mikonos – Munich, Germany places, still undecided
15/07 Undecided – Brussels
??/07 Brussels – Paris
18/07 Paris – Singapore (16 hr layover)
19/07 Singapore – Sydney!