den Haag, the Hague or ‘s-Gravenhage?


Three days have passed since I moved myself 700 km from Berlin to the Hague and I’m still not sure which name is exactly correct. Work doesn’t begin until next week, so these past couple days have felt more like vacation than anything. I’m glad to be validated in knowing I made the right choice in coming a weekend early. What have I been doing, you ask? Mostly my favourite thing: wandering and exploring the city fuelled by good tea and food.

Today is actually the first day since arriving that I’m doing the whole “productive” business. Writing Bad Yogi blogs (have you checked out Safely Detoxing?), uploading new podcasts like our interview with Maxime D.-Pomerleau, connecting with work colleagues and obtaining work clothes being only some of the never-ending to-do list. There’s something so relaxing about just wandering around the city centre, filled with an intense excitement to find the cafes I’m going to do work in, the run routes I’m going to “not” run, and the gelato shops that I will frequent. It helps that I am, also, alone. I’ve written before how much I crave alone time. Moving to an entirely new city void of friendship is difficult, but right now: I’m soaking up the long silences. I don’t need to say anything to anyone minus not-so-often hellos and thank-you’s. And it’s great.

Saying goodbye to Berlin was still difficult. Don’t get me wrong, a heady sense of adrenaline and adventure meant that the intense pangs of loneliness and sadness upon parting from my family were somewhat delayed. Now and then, though, I get moments of such heart wrenching pain. Because while I need to keep moving forward for myself,  saying farewell to the comfortable and loving embrace of Berlin hurts. It means no more spending countless hours with friends pouring our hearts out over tea, brunch afternoons, and slow long walks throughout the city. *Deep Sigh* Endure, Gabriella, Endure.

If I had to choose the best thing that I’ve experienced yet (minus the food), it has to be the Peace Palace. Earlier today, I allotted two hours of wandering time towards the Visitors Centre and a tour. Sadly, phones are prohibited so I have no pictures. On the other hand, it was probably one of the more interesting tours that I’ve experienced. We were able to sit in the rooms of the ICJ (International Criminal Court) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. My eyes (for once) actually appreciated the artwork strew throughout the palace dedicated to the ideals of peace and justice. Infinite numbers of busts commemorating Czar Nicholas II and Andrew Carnegie were interspersed with tidbits of knowledge about the artists who made such incredible artwork. It made me realise just how underrated the concepts of international justice are. Maybe it’s the afterglow, but I feel on top of the world right now – consumed with travel spirit, appreciation for international systems and exploration. I’m looking forward to six months of adventure and learning, and hopefully finding out if international law perhaps is  the piece my life has been missing.

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