It was hard to believe our week was over. The farewell dinner was bittersweet as I realized we would never be able to replicate this experience. What I said at the dinner was true, when I see my cohort it feels like being reunited with family. Our dinner was delicious, but I was so tired, I was not good company. The highlight of that evening was seeing all the World Cup revelry as we walked back to our room. Honestly seeing an entire city united around one purpose was so cool. You could hear the entire town cheer or groan. It was great! I think I am going to pull for the Netherlands to win the World Cup!
For Chris and I, our trip was not quite over. We had a late flight from Amsterdam to Dublin and a layover day in Dublin. I have to say though, if I had it to do over again, I would be heading straight home at this point. I did enjoy our Saturday morning in Leiden. We went into a windmill, strolled through a small street market close to our hotel, and then walked into the center of town for the real market. The market in Leiden has been taking place in that very location for over 800 years! It was truly a site to see. Stalls as far as the eye could see selling everything you could imagine. We sampled some of the freshest and tastiest fruit I have ever eaten, bought some cheese, and were generally amazed and entertained by the vastness of the market. It was like a portable Wal-Mart.
All too soon it was time to head to the airport. I could have spent more time Leiden. I think it was my favorite place we visited. It felt like a college town. Dublin was ok, but honestly I was so ready to be home. I am so grateful for this opportunity. The entire trip I kept thinking how I would never have come to these places on my own. Not only did exploring other universities expand my perspective as an administrator, but also the simple act of traveling to a completely different place expands my perspective as a person. I missed my boys so much though. There is no real way to describe the way I felt when I saw those smiles welcoming us back home.