A few days ago, I said my first goodbye. That was not fun. Being cheesy by nature, I gifted my good friend a sentimental message written in a mutually appreciated novel with a polaroid we took together on the last day. With only two weeks left until the end of semester – for some, even less – there exists an unspoken rule of not mentioning that soon we must all part ways and go back to our ‘real’ lives. The topic is strictly forbidden and any word of it will result in a sea of uncontrollable tears or internal anxiety. A bit dramatic? Study abroad for half a year or more and you’ll understand.
Knowing that the end is near, I had ambitiously planned to travel every single weekend before exams. I managed to tour around Belgium, visit the famous Dutch windmills in Zaanse Schans, revisit Berlin and road-trip to Luxembourg. I even had plans to go to Morocco and London but my body finally gave in and I ended up catching a nasty cold. At least the weather is warm now (even heading towards the 30s in Celsius!). Falling sick is probably a blessing in disguise because it let me appreciate the last few moments with the city itself and spend more quality time with the people here.
The expiration date motivated my friends and I to overcome our intrinsic sloth existence by squeezing in as much time together as possible. All the whilst juggling the pressure of University and exams. We began by visiting restaurants we talked about going to but never did, and to pre-drinking but never making it to the actual party because it can be more fun to be idiots with friends in an enclosed and private space as opposed to being idiots with strangers in a larger and more public space. Wow that was a mouthful.
Maastricht is truly a hidden gem and I’m glad I had the privilege of living here pretty much like a local to truly explore all the great things it has to offer. It might seem like a small and boring city but it is one of those places that you can’t possibly appreciate to the full extent as a weekend traveller or passer-by. Since this will be my last post about my exchange period here (if you’re reading this and deciding whether to stay for a semester or two – do two), I want to leave you with some of my last recommendations/findings/experiences about this gorgeous city.
Foodbank is an event that runs every Friday without fail (ok maybe holidays) in the funkiest abandoned warehouse you would not expect to find by the river. To reduce food wastage and promote the awareness of vegan delicacies, this non-profit volunteer based event gathers the left-over food from the Friday markets (that otherwise would have been completely discarded) and transforms them into a delicious three course meal. Yes, that includes a starter, main and dessert!! They even have accompanying live music and decent 1.5 euro beer. The first night I went, it was ‘open-mic night’ and I was fortunate enough to hear some great freelancers perform, one of whom was a friend too! The atmosphere is fantastic because it gathers kind souls from all over the world where everyone puts in effort in preparing and cleaning.
So…I’ve never in my life purchased a gym membership but I guess when you’re on exchange, everything is a possibility. if you’re part of ISN Maastricht, there is a decent deal where you can pay for 3 months of membership and get the 4th month free! I found out a little too late and won’t be able to get the most out of the 4 months so jump on that quick! There are some fun classes like jumping fitness and anti-gravity yoga that I would seriously recommend checking out. Oh and this is not a sponsored message.
The days will get hot enough where you will dream of a beach. In Maastricht, the next best thing is a quarry. Fun place to spend a warm day! But hopefully it’s not too crowded.
How to Say Goodbye 101
Don’t avoid it, give it your all for one last hoorah! If you start feeling sad, just remember that it won’t be the last time you see them. Oh and it also means you’ll have more free accommodation around the world. Who needs Airbnb?
Half a year went by like a flash of light. Incredibly grateful for everyone and everything. Enough with the cheese, thanks for reading!