Hallo. Een update.

Ok. so yeah, I guess one could say that “it has been awhile” since I last wrote on this blog (I see it was on 03/03/2016…). Thanks for pointing that out guys.

There has been a “slight change of plan” on my side and it’s probably a good time to write a well overdue little update about it.

It’s late afternoon on a sunday, and tomorrow instead of heading into work to write code for a mobile application all day, I’ll head to ‘Forum’, which is the main building of Wageningen University in the Netherlands where I’ll be starting my first class for a Masters in Agroecology and Organic Agriculture. Wait – what??!!

Yep. 37-years old and going back to school. Rewinding a few months, I found myself working a job that turned out to be somewhat disappointing and in which I didn’t see myself working in the foreseeable future. Things were not going well to say the least, and when it’s like this there aren’t many choices…I chose to move on. In general, if things don’t go well, it’s often better to try and change them rather than wait around for them to magically change by themselves (that might have to do with my chronic impatience). Anyway, long story short, I found out about this Masters programme (which is actually with a French school but has its first year abroad) and even though the deadline was past, applied thinking I had nothing to lose. And I got accepted! That was a bit unexpected, and I then found myself having to make a decision quickly. It came down to two things: First, it was a big chance to get onto that programme and I didn’t think I should pass it up, and second, I couldn’t picture myself 5 years down the line spending my days doing web development, so I decided to change direction as soon as possible.

For several years now, I’ve been involved in activities in the field of agriculture (urban agriculture in London, community gardens in the Philippines, some training here and there on composting and permaculture). But I couldn’t fully commit to it, mostly due to work constraints, and on several occasions those activities fell way, way into the background. This time, I thought, I should take the plunge and go into it fully. I quit my job, we moved our stuff out of the flat in Le Puy and rented it, I moved back with my parents for a month and prepared to move to a new country one more time and change career.

I didn’t take the decision lightly. Obviously Ann is still in Istanbul, and even though me being in the Netherlands doesn’t make us physically further away (it’s as easy to get to Istanbul as it was from Le Puy), it will extend the period during which we’ll have to live apart, which is a big downer. We both accept, or maybe tolerate, the situation because it’ll be worth it in the end but it sucks. There is also the financial strain and risks associated with this going back to university as I won’t have a regular income. Should be fine for the first year but I have yet no idea how to finance the second one… will need to get creative and perhaps up my juggling skills so I can perform at the market on Saturday mornings.

Of course, on the other hand, it is tremendously exciting to be here. I’m starting a programme in a field I’ve been interested in for years, I’m at one of the best universities in the world to study in this subject, and I’ll finally find myself with people who “speak the same language” so to speak, and that should be good because it is so important to be in contact and exchange with people who have the same interests or goals or motivation.
For now, I’m in my small student accommodation, on the 19th floor of a building full of students from all over the planet, overlooking the sports complex right next to the campus, I’ve got my newly-acquired bike downstairs (because when in Rome do like the Dutch) and my thoughts are going a bit in all directions. It’s a lot of changes in a small period of time and that’s what makes it exciting and scary at the same time. Roll on a new chapter.

PS: Nope, no typos in the title, it’s in dutch 😉

5 thoughts on “Hallo. Een update.

  1. suncitymom says:

    Great post! But now that you have whetted our appetite for your new adventure, please give us at least a couple of paragraphs weekly so we know what you are learning and if it is truly what your passion is! Of course, I may be a little partial to the field you have chosen, but anxious to hear about your new adventure!

  2. Jo says:

    Wait — What!? Is right! This is so exciting Chris! It’s huge! Did I mention it’s exciting? And huge? Edith Lammerts van Bueren comes out here for the Organic Seed Alliance conference and both Hank and I adore her and her work. Whenever I sit in on one of her presentations I think, “That’s it, we’re moving to the Netherlands and working with her.” I hope you get to spend some learning time with her and her program. Hank and I are super jealous and wish you all the best! I hope this makes us all seeing each other in the future more likely now that our “careers” are in the same field (pun intended). SO exciting! Wishing you all the best!

    • Chris says:

      Hi. Sorry for the delay in responding. For some reason I’ve only seen the comment a few days ago. Yeah it’s exciting to here. This is a great place to study agriculture, and the diversity of people and opinions within the university is breathtaking, so many studies, so many projects, so many people…overwhelming at times even. I had not heard of Edith Lammerts van Bueren until I read your comment, but I’ll make sure to keep an eye on her classes, presentations, projects, etc. from now. I’m still trying to wrap my head around who works on what and which projects would be interesting for me. Unfortunately, there is no classes from her department listed in my course but maybe I’ll have the chance to attend some lectures at some point. I’ve been asking around and there doesn’t seem to be any project around seeds savings/conservation here, though there’s plenty of research on genetic modification of seeds…see diversity of people and opinions mentioned above 😉
      Indeed, hopefully we’ll get to see each other in the near future and discuss all these topics. How are you, Hank and the little one doing? Have you made him work on the farm yet? 😉
      Take care

  3. Antonia says:

    Awesome! It is never too late to go back to school. My grandma was 50 when she got her nursing license. It’s so important to continuously move forward. Congrats!

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