The one-year anniversary to mark my arrival in the Netherlands came when I was in Greece. I sat in a cute little restaurant in Athens, avoiding returning to my temporary dorm-like residence, getting a little tipsy on wine. At that time I attempted to write the 100th post for black girl gone. Most of it was about the journey that brought me here – a journey that began far longer than a year ago, as evidenced by this blog alone. But it was a ho-hum of a post, with the weepy sorrows of years long gone. I can get plenty of that with a quick scan of old posts. So fortunately, a dead battery and a failure to save resulted in the loss of what I had written.
Beyond acknowledgement of a challenging path, some really smart decisions, and a newly found trust in my instincts and distrust of expectations, I think my one-year anniversary and 100th post should focus on what’s next. The year, and whatever else ahead…
1) Genealogy overload
I went almost completely dark on my personal family research well over a year ago. And last year I picked up the projects of several others in Amsterdam, researching family histories that stem largely from Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. But I’ve even fallen behind with them.
No more of that. Re-opening my own research, while furthering and creating noise around the local genealogy project will be a priority. My family research has left plenty of unanswered questions. And the local interest and passion for family history is certainly enough for me to gain more momentum for the project in Amsterdam. For this reason, you can expect somewhat of a shift in this blog. Expect more family history and genealogy-related posts. Accept it, my friends. This will be a defining aspect of my life. In the longer-term, I expect it to take me back to the southern states of the U.S., Salt Lake City, Cuba, and southern Africa – at least. I expect to earn the title of genealogist. And I can’t wait.
2) Write a Master’s thesis
By August. I want to (and I will) finish by August. Is denial of access to one’s family history a form of social oppression? It will be some type of a comparative study of black Dutch and black Americans, as descendants of survivors of slavery, and their perceptions of identity, as potentially impacted by a (lack of) knowledge of ancestry. Or something like that.
It’s there. And I don’t see why I shouldn’t be. So I’m setting my sights on creating a plan to spend a few months moving a genealogy research project forward in Suriname by the end of this year. This will require support, funding, and a more concrete idea. But my instincts are telling me this will be important. So before I understand it so clearly, I’m going to work on putting a plan into place.
4) More traveling; more writing
I continually taunt myself with the cliché, “life is short!” But hell if it isn’t.
I enjoy traveling. And I enjoy writing. I need to do more of both to spend more time enjoying this too-short life.
5) The fellas
I’ve gone back and forth on this issue, to dramatic degrees. All resulting in very little. Dating/not dating/white boys/no boys/single lady/ cat lady. I’m putting all of it away. To be honest, this is less about some level of personal growth, and more about simple boredom with the subject. Look, folks. I’m human, okay? Of course I notice that most of my friends are in stable relationships that are leading to marriage and/or babies. But that doesn’t mean any of this knowledge occupies a significant amount of space in my mind. It shouldn’t. And it doesn’t.
This year, whatever happens with the fellas will be fine with me. Let’s just leave it at that.
I enjoyed last year very much. And it looks like, more than ever, I’m in control of the year ahead. So I think I’ll enjoy this one even more. I hope you’ll continue to join me!