Dank u wel!

I am a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten cards. Life is too short to not let the people you are grateful for know how much they mean to you. The Saturday after Thanksgiving and at the close of each school year, I dedicate time to crafting dozens of notes expressing my love for the people around me.

Before moving to the Netherlands, I packed cards into my suitcase and distributed them to the educators and organizations that I interviewed for my project. The teachers I spoke with in the Netherlands shaped my inquiry project, and I could not be more appreciative that they opened up their classrooms and shared their stories. The Fulbright program and the opportunity to live abroad provided an experience unlike anything I have ever encountered. The six months were challenging, exhilarating, and shaped my view on education and life in unprecedented ways. I am thankful for the support of both the IIE and the Fulbright Center in the Netherlands throughout my journey. There are so many individuals that pushed my thinking and supported me through my time abroad. This blog entry is to say dank u wel (thank you) to all these individuals, and publicly express my gratitude.

Gee van Duin. You are a remarkable educator, and I deeply value our friendship. Thank you for connecting me with all of your biology teacher friends and sharing corny science jokes with me.

dAvid Bos. From the moment you picked me up from Schiphol at 7:45 a.m., I knew that the Fulbright experience would be so much richer because of your support. Thank you for inviting me to events, answering all my questions, listening intently to the development of my project, and teaching me more than I could ever imagine about the Netherlands.

Adrienne Berg. Thank you for being a thought-partner on our journey, a travel buddy, and giving me all your leftovers. I am so grateful for our friendship.

The 2018 Dutch DAT squad. We could make a sweet superhero quad. From dinners with Martin in Utrecht, traveling around the Netherlands with Adrienne, and getting to hear all Ashley’s updates at the final presentation, I am appreciative of all your support!

Lindsey Migliore. I could not be more grateful for your love and support from 4,000 miles away. The countless hours that you spent editing my work, listening to my journey, and reassuring me that I was doing enough. Amsterdam will also hold a special place in our relationship, and I am so excited to spend the rest of my life with you.

My sisters. Jessica, Dawn, Diana, Sarah, and Angela. You are such amazing women. Jessica Moore, thank you for editing my blog, providing me with honest feedback on my website, and visiting me in Amsterdam. Diana congrats on giving birth to Logan— finally someone makes sillier faces than Dawn. Dawn, I am so proud of your work at SJSU, and your vigor for life continues to impress me. Angela, I am so excited that you are a part of our family and I cannot wait for your baby to share my birthday! Sarah, your texts always make me smile, and I am looking forward to seeing you when I get back to the US.

Mom. No one knows what to say better than you do. I love you so much, and despite the nine-hour time change and a couple of accidental early morning calls, I am glad we could still catch up regularly.

Rob. I know you always have my back. Love you.

Jonathan. Congrats on your wedding and the baby!

Pattie. I am so grateful for all your recommendations. Thank you for connecting me with Peter, following my blog, and being a part of my family.

Denise. Video chatting you and Mr. Gray brightened my days. You might be the only person that moving thousands of miles away brought me closer to. I love you so much. You are a phenomenal mother, and I am so proud to be your friend.

Anne Ward. Thank you for following my journey and always sending me the most thoughtful emails. Meeting you at orientation was hands-down the best preparation I could ask for on this journey.

Claire da Bear. You are hysterical. Thanks for offering your couch up in January before you even knew me, and for spreading pictures of my hands to all your advisors. Italy was such a phenomenal experience, and I am sure we will see each other soon.

Emily. Between Chris Dougherty concerts and breaking your first egg, I do not doubt that you are going to do amazing things. I am so grateful that we met!

Christina. From my first week in the Netherlands, you welcomed me with open arms. Thank you for your friendship, and I hope that my travel plans bring me to Norway soon!

Jessica, Rockstar, Esa, and Jasper. I never imagined that I would find my Ice Oasis family 15-years later on the other side of the world. I had a blast picnicking, playing tiger, and learning about cute shoot from you!

Caroline. I am so glad that Emily connected us. Honestly, from our first brunch at Los Feliz, I knew we would be friends. Thank you for showing me around, introducing me to I’m With Her, thinking up the best proposal flash mob known to womankind, and being a constant in my time in the Netherlands.

Reshma and Solene. I appreciate you both so much for making such a warm and welcoming home!

Paige and Suzie. My outfit for meeting Betsy DeVos wouldn’t have come together if it was not for you two. Thank you so much for making buttons, taking multiple trips to target, and triaging a postal disaster.

Saskia. Germany, Belgium, Spain— we went all over together! Thank you so much for letting me live on your third floor and saying ‘yes’ when Mario asked if I could go to Barcelona. I know we will see each other again soon!

Cool Mokum. You are all amazing. I don’t even know where to start. Honestly, from picking me up less than 24-hours after moving to Amsterdam to inviting me to Barcelona. I could not ask for a better hockey team. I love you all!

Erin. I’m still debating if we can forgive Andrew for not introducing us sooner. The spa is fantastic, you are amazing, we must continue our friendship indefinitely.

Holly and Sylvia. Ladies, I do not think you know how frequently I used the two bags of goodies you gave me. They were perfect. I can not wait to live in the same city as you two! Thank you so much.

Rose and Anna. Thank you for all your help at the Fulbright Center! Anna, I do not know anyone else who would be so gracious to translate 50 years of Dutch biology books for me. You are the best.

James, Korey, MJL, and Valissa. Thank you for keeping me updated and connected to AFBHS. Miss you all so much.

J$, Perry, Cherie, Michelle, Andrew, Suzie, Nick, Margot, Jessica, Ella, and Jake. Thank you all for including me in your spring travel plans! I loved showing you all my favorite places and seeing your beautiful faces.

There are so many other people who made the last six-months a remarkable experience! I am so appreciative of your love and support, and thank you for following my blog!

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