I always knew that one day or another, I would move to Canada. When I was as young as 4 years of age- or I should better say as far as my memory goes back – I remember telling everyone over and over again that I would one day live in this country. Six months ago, at the age of 22, I finally went and did it: I made the move to Montréal together with my boyfriend. My time here has been a wonderful experience and absolutely met my expectations (see, the 10 things I will miss most about living in Montreal). However, I have also missed Europe and started to appreciate certain things about it more. In this blog, I will name a few of these things. Also, in this blog post I am holding my first giveaway contest! More info about this at the bottom of the page.
A few months ago, I moved to Canada to do an internship for an organisation called Big Brothers Big Sisters. Many people have asked me what BBBS is about, and my answer usually was `We provide children with a positive role-model. ` However, I wasn`t fully aware of either the meaning or importance of this at the time nor of the actual role of a mentor. What does `being a Big Brother or Sister` entail? How do they make a difference? Over time, I have learned a lot about the positive effects our volunteers have on the children in our programmes. Mentoring not only helps children, but helps their parents as well. Additionally, many volunteers feel that they benefit from the experience themselves too. Let me tell you more about the insights I have gained from my time at BBBS.
On the 31st of August, 1885, the Dutch celebrated their first ‘princess day’, in honour of the birthday of the young Princess Wilhelmina. This was organized with the aim of national unity. When Wilhelmina’s father William III of the Netherlands passed away, princess-day became Queensday. Wilhelmina was only 5 years of age when she became queen, but her mother Emma was regent of the Kingdom until Wilhelmina turned 18. Queensday has been celebrated every year since, but with the inauguration of our new king the name changed to ‘Kingsday’.
The event itself has changed a bit over the years as well. Wilhelmina never personally took part in the festivities, whereas her successor Juliana invited ordinary citizens to visit her in the palace gardens. Beatrix, our queen until last year, did things differently and personally went to visit a different municipality each year, as does our king today.
This year, on the 26th of April 2014, our ever first Kingsday was celebrated, which I obviously couldn’t miss. I stayed in Holland specifically to be able to attend these festivities.
On the 16th of April, my boyfriend and I will be together for 3 years. To celebrate this, we decided to go to a wellness-resort called ‘de Zwaluwhoeve’, in the Veluwe region. I had never been to this resort before and was surprised by how massive it was. The spa was divided into two ‘squares’ with all different types of saunas and herbal baths. What was specifically great about the place was the impressive gardens outside. We weren’t particularly lucky with the weather, but I could only imagine what it would be like in summer. However, the swimming pool outside was heated, and because it was a colder day, the steam rose from the water, which created a very romantic image, especially when it got dark and the stars and the moon appeared.