Embarrassment: I walk out of baggage claim with five large, overweight, suitcases piled on top of a push cart. All eyes in the arrivals hall are on me. My cheeks take on a deep crimson hue.
Awe: Driving alongside the canals of Amsterdam, I look out the raindrop studded windows of my new manager's car to view the centuries old brick buildings. It takes my breath away.
Shock: Rain lightly falls on us as we stand outside a building which I should be calling home, only to discover I was scammed out of three months rent. I can not find my voice, which is fine since my mind blanks and I don't have the words to to express how I feel. How I don't feel. I am emotionless. Is it due to the beauty around me? Is it jet-lag?
Amazement: I step into one of the elevators of my new office building with my manager and a colleague. I crane my neck to speak to them. I can't get over how tall they are. We walk onto the floor and I meet the rest of my colleagues. One tells me I can stay with him until I find somewhere else to live. They are all so nice. Tall. And nice.
Exhaustion: I sit at a desk, dazed. I stare at a computer screen, lost. I want to curl up in my bed, but I don't have one. I email my dad. I am no longer emotionless. I want to cry. I don't.
Relief: My colleague's Alfa Romeo is small. Small like all sports cars were intended to be. I have five oversize suitcases. Five oversize suitcases that were not intended to be stuffed into an Alfa Romeo. But they fit. Miraculously.
Elation: We step inside ALDI to buy groceries. I spot a large wedge of Brie for only 79 Euro cents. "Is this correct?," I ask my colleague, pointing to the price. "Yes," comes his response. His look is one of shock. No... confusion? Or maybe it's a look that expresses a lack of understanding as to why I would be so surprised about something as normal as the cost of Brie? "No," I say, "you don't understand. This. Here," I hold up the cheese, "This is only 79 cents?!?" He laughs. "Yes, Claire, that," he states, pointing to the Brie in my hand, "is 79 cents." "Really? Wait.... Really? Wow. 79 cents? Man! I love this country!"
He laughs again.
Gratitude: I lie in the bed my colleague prepared for me while I made dinner. I reflect back on my day. How it could have gone wrong. How everything worked out. How everything would continue to work out. Because it always works out. Always. And I fall asleep.
The next day I wake up... four years later.