First times are the things that keep us going. You are not done until you have tried everything! The beauty of the first times is especially felt when you come to a different country and start living there. And a quote by Bill Bryan just says it all: “…that’s the wonderful thing about foreign travel, suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most basic sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross the street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”
How many first times have I experienced from the beginning of my life in The Netherlands? Lots of them! And that’s why it is so interesting! That’s why you get out of bed every morning: because you know that something new is going to happen.
One of the funniest things is trying to communicate with your neighbours. As they approach you in the hall of the house and start yelling at you IN DUTCH for something that you have done, you just nod your head and awkwardly smile thinking what the hell is happening… And sometimes you even start acting like an animal in the way that you try to understand others not from the words but from the intonations and facial expressions they show while talking to you. So this is what I have to deal with every day…
If I had to tell some of the first times that I have had in this country, the one that pops into my mind right away is trying to pump up my bike tires. I ride my bicycle without any love or compassion, and I even let two people ride on that oldie, so the tires sometimes just can’t take the pressure… As my dad is not here and I have to do everything by myself, I just do it. What could go wrong when pumping up the tires? Everything. I tried to do this for 2 hours, 1 of which went for crying because now I had one airless tire and no idea how to put the air back in there… Fortunately, I was brave enough to ask someone in the street to help me and in one minute I had my tire filled and my life beautiful again! I’ve never known that having your tires pumped can totally change your mood in one second!
Another first time for me was learning how to pack all of my stuff in ten minutes! As I had to move from place to place three times in three months, I now am able to pack everything very quickly. That’s really an accomplishment for a woman! I can’t even get out of bed in ten minutes…
I also had my first stealing experience. I was living in a place where everyone would put their food in one fridge and one day I noticed that someone had stolen my cheese. MY cheese! I can’t eat anything without having cheese on it! I was really sad and angry at the same time, so the next day I stole a piece of someone else’s cheese… Yes, I am not proud of it, but at least my loss was a bit smaller.
Living with absolutely random people is a first time for me as well. When you are constantly having unknown people around you, it gets really interesting. Getting used to other people’s habits and different ways of understanding daily routine… Some of them like having constant mess around the house, clothes lying all around the apartment, others like smoking all sorts of stuff in the house… You really start valuing your family and the way you used to live. But, of course, it depends on your perspective: if you just look at this as one of the cool weirdness of this life, then you might survive! Everyday you get up not knowing what your flatmates will come up with and what else are they going to do today. Maybe they will start wearing your clothes or maybe they will randomly start chatting with your friends on Facebook! Oh, that is the whole beauty, you just never know…
But first times have not only to do with foreign travelling. It doesn’t matter: you can experience new stuff wherever you are. And that is the awesome thing! You just embrace your beautiful life by trying as many new things as possible, by valuing every day you have to learn something new. Even if it’s not something pleasant or amazing, you still learn and these different experiences make you a wiser, more open-minded and more tolerant human being! You become a person with all sorts of interesting details inside of you! So, don’t you ever stop learning and if some days you just can’t get out of your bed and feel really sad just remember that you never know what might happen! Maybe you will meet your soul mate, maybe you will buy a lucky lottery ticket or maybe someone will tell you how much they like you! Just go out there and don’t miss any of the beautiful moments this life has to offer!
By Laisvyda Andrejevaite
Graphics by Inessa Khemii