I guess today was all about feeling torn about my decision to leave the Netherlands. This morning I felt a bit nervous about the photo exposition in Utrecht I would be visiting, which made my stress levels spike and made me feel nauseous and miserable. I still dragged myself to the train station, though, and once I arrived at the HKU school building things improved rapidly.
Being among people who are interested in me and above all feeling part of something, belonging to a group and purpose is amazing. I talked to a number of people there, including the photography student herself. Most interesting person I met there was this Muslim girl from the fashion part of the school. Her project was about analyzing and dissecting the 'world of fashion' to discover the authentic identity of a fashion product. I.e., whether there is a point where an article of clothing or shoes are just that and not a brand or a model or an ideal world. Imagine plain deodorant versus Axe with its 'Axe effect', whereby application of this deodorant will draw hordes of sex-crazed women to the guy in question. Ideal world versus reality. I thought it was fascinating and I was pleasantly surprised to encounter such a project among those at what is after all a school for the arts.
Also fun was this project by a Chinese student, involving glass structures which while balancing on a central point would lead water from a reservoir to a plant on the other side of the central point, causing a balancing effect between the two sides which could be very telling depending on what you set it up to measure. I thought it was very elegant in its simplicity and I expect to see this product in stores soon :)
As for the exposition involving my pictures, it was set up slightly different again than from what was described to me last time I talked to the photography student, Milou. Aside from it being a tad dark it was very well set up, with one having many different angles to look at things, and a need to search for the next photograph and piece of text. Milou had also used some pictures from my photo gallery I took a few years ago to complement her own pictures. I thought it was a nice touch. As for responses from people, when they leave the exposition they are generally 'shocked', in the sense that they didn't expect it, and are impressed by it. Although my name or the name of my condition is never mentioned, it does make it clear that such a physical condition exists. And that's where it all starts from, I guess.
Near 5 PM it neared closing time and Milou walked me to the bus station. When the bus arrived we said our goodbyes. I don't know when or if I will see her again. It's been about a year since we started working together on this project and it's been a lot of fun, and an anchor point for me. The positive reception of the project at her school, both by her teachers as well as her classmates, most of whom I have talked with, was amazing. I'm so glad that Milou contacted me for this project and that I had the honour of being part of it. It didn't make it easy for me to return home from Utrecht. Nor did the severe headache I was suffering from at that point.
I'm not sure whether it was the headache which made it hard to keep my eyes open and impossible to read in my book, but as I was sitting there in the train home I began to recall the things which are good in this country. The people I met at the HKU today, for one. But also so many little things I have grown accustomed to, like the trains, the landscapes... it's hard to express it really, but I nearly started crying while sitting there in the train. I guess part of me will miss this country, but as with everything nothing is absolute. I will miss the good parts of this country, while being grateful I'll be rid of the bad parts.
What I need the most now is to find a home in Australia. I'm not sure what it'll look like, and it'll probably change during the first few months that I'm there. But a home it shall be nonetheless, with a little bit of help from my friends and acquaintances. Getting dumped straight into a 40-hour a week work schedule doesn't work, if only because of the massive jet lag and the emotional turmoil I will undoubtedly feel as I adapt to my new surroundings.
Uncertainty is no fun, especially not while I feel this torn inside.