Next week I am turning 23 and I thought it would be fun to do a blogpost on all the things that kept me busy the past year!
North American adventures
I kicked off my 22nd year in Toronto, Canada! At the time, I was still living abroad and on my birthday the first family members came to visit me. It was a special birthday because I had missed home and my family and celebrating the day with them was super cool. In the next months I was living in Montreal and from my birthday onwards every month family members would come and visit me. Living abroad was definitely a highlight of this year. It taught me how to survive completely on my own on the other side of the world, how much I love my family and friends and it made me fall in love with Canada.
I stayed in Canada until Christmas when my boyfriend’s family and I left to celebrate the Holidays in New York. What a dream come true. In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined to spend the Holidays in this city together with the people who are so important to me. Once the Holidays were over, it was time to work another month at the Northeast Epilepsy Group. A month in which I was already familiar with living in the City and working at the office (because of my summer internship) and a month in which I was working on an academic publication about PNES and the internet with my colleagues. This month flew by and before I knew it I was standing on the airport with way too much luggage to move back to the Netherlands.
Back in the Netherlands, life was soon back to normal (with work and university). It was weird to see how little had changed while I was gone. I came back with different experiences and ideas and the whole adventure of living abroad had shaped me. Life carried on as usual, basically. I was experiencing seizures on a regular basis (once every two months) and I felt secure in dealing with those. Being abroad taught me that I should not be so scared of being alone and that I was independent despite the seizures.
Time flew by and before I knew it it was summer. Me and my boyfriend decided to interrail with the train through Europe and this was one of the most amazing journeys I have ever went on. The freedom of just taking your backpack and exploring new places was liberating. This trip made it clear for me that I can do these things without having to fear too much for my seizures. We travelled through 4 countries and 7 cities in 14 days and it was awesome!
The 2016 PNES Conference
Once back to normal life the weeks passed and before I knew it, it was October and I was going back to New York City for this years PNES Conference together with my boyfriend. Isn’t it weird how this was already the third time I was attending the conference? I still remember writing the blogpost about my first visit! I do realise how lucky I am to be able to attend this conference for the third time and how far I’ve come since the first time I went there.
And I can proudly say that currently I am 5 months seizure free, an absolute milestone for me in these 6 years I have been suffering from PNES. The 22nd of December, if I make it, I will be 6 months seizure free and believe me when I say that I will celebrate that day!
Typing this blog made me think of the past year and forced me to take a moment to reflect. It was a pretty great year with lots of ups (of which most of them are in this blogpost) but also a couple of downs (because that is life) and I am excited to see what my 23rd year on this planet earth has in store for me.
Have a great weekend!