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The seasons seems to have shifted quickly from summer to winter. Now that the clocks have changed, the sun rises around 8 and sets around 5 already making the days far too short. It’s also getting cold, bitter cold. Tonight my fingers were numb inside my leather gloves as I walked across town from the dentist to my apartment. There are lots more things I could complain about as it relates to the cold, dark winter. Instead there’s something that makes me smile about the Old Man’s arrival. It reminds me of what it was like when I first arrived in the Netherlands almost a year ago.

Everything I’ve done or experienced this year has been a first. When the adventure started, I thought I would get one shot at each of the seasons, events, experiences, but now I smile thinking about how I’ll get to see it all come around again. At least once more. Contract negotiations for my second year are underway and though no one has yet signed on the dotted line, I know I will be back for 2012.

There’s so much I look forward to doing again again next year (Queen’s Day, picnics in the park, boating on the canals) and I’m happy to have the second chance to do things I missed. In 2012 I look forward to starting the clock again, this time with great friendships established and an already long list of to-dos. And that’s just in Amsterdam. I’m also thrilled that I have another year to see more of Europe. Through all the travel this year, I still don’t feel like I got to see as much as I wanted or spend time as many places as I could have. As I mentioned last time, the travel list has also already started. So far the list includes a long weekend ski trip early in the year (France, Austria, or Switzerland), Oktoberfest in Germany, visits to Prague, Finland, St Petersburg, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Croatia, and on and on. Who knows, maybe I’ll even find a way to squeeze in another continent or two – Asia or Africa would be nice.

It isn’t yet time to write off 2011, but I am already looking forward to what 2012 will bring.