Ten years ago today, I arrived in the Netherlands, about to begin my experience as an international student. Icelandair was the only airline that would sell a one-way ticket, so we stopped over for a couple hours in Reykjavik. As the plane landed in the sunrise, I remember staring out my window at glorious pink hued beauty. Though convinced of my maturity, I was relieved that my parents had insisted on coming with me.
In the following years I got some degrees. I earned a living babysitting, cleaning houses, walking dogs, and finally teaching. Living on the cusp of illegality, I fought the IND in their most xenophobic years (so far). I visited the nude spa, quit smoking and learned to dance salsa. I traveled all over the place. I lived in three tiny apartments before settled down in Leiden. I got married at the Spanish Consulate in the Frederiksplein and walked the Vondelpark in my wedding dress. I passed the ultimate expat test: being pregnant and giving birth in a foreign country. Through it all, I confess that becoming a mommy has topped it all.
And here I am, back in Reykjavik for the second time, exactly ten years to the day since this adventure started. Today is also Adrian's first birthday. Later this morning we will enjoy the Reykjavik Zoo and made him feel like the most special boy on earth.