There’s a certain theme to being at a place and leaving it half a year later. After getting there, you make friends, enjoy and then, when all is working out, it is time to leave. Having done this a few times in the last years has always reconfirmed that notion, and so has looking at other people’s experiences. I was thinking of that theory when I was dragging my heavy suitcase from my house to the bus station, and still managed to be relatively calm about it. This had been my time in Barcelona, and I was leaving without many questions asked. You do get a certain routine after a while, especially when you say goodbye to people for three days in a row and then get on a plane, pay the ridiculous extra amount for heavy baggage and head out.

What is comforting about the whole experience is to return to places you enjoy. Sure, Barcelona was great, but there’s still a strange comfort in returning to Den Haag. The weather was godawful, a good 15° colder than in Spain and the sky was grey and depressing. Still, though, getting together with my friends after not having seen them in half a year significantly eased the transition. There were long nights at O’Caseys, lengthy dart matches, chicken soup with absurdly old broth, and even a glimpse of wonderwall, that made me feel right at home. And while it was strange to walk into my house and see it inhabited by strangers (which, I’m sure, was equally odd for them as it was for me), or to pick my bike back up and ride it through the eerily quiet streets, it felt good. Even now, though, more than a week after returning, I don’t quite feel like I have arrived yet. It’ll take a while.