This was for me an eventful summer, and I was lucky to travel around Europe. It is now time to return to Wageningen. One month ago I longed to be gone, now, still some sand in my shoes, I am content to be back. What triggers this feeling?
Here people keep being positive. The world is flat, according to Thomas Friedman’s spell. He paints a picture of a world moving faster than most can keep up with.
For a lucky few businessmen this means good business, but there is competition everywhere and events have global consequences. Shopkeepers are pessimistic on Russia’s trade embargo, neighbours tell me to give up my flight to Indonesia, but the Wageningen minds do not seem to mind. They have a sensed and educated remark to most of these folks’ concerns. Academia’s neat character feels ever more reassuring while the world seems to become more chaotic and dangerous. I realize how vital this environment is to me—it places order and optimism on what, from other perspectives, feels like entropic chaos.
There is, I believe, another reason why Wageningen is such a sweet home. One symptom of the flat world is that it changes so swiftly, that one has to run as fast as one can just to remain in the same spot, and twice as fast as he can to be able to look into the future. Yet people in Wageningen don’t fuss about it. Perhaps because this place was already cosmopolitan, long before the world accused symptoms of flatness. As mobility across Europe and many other countries has increased, an internationally-oriented life filled with multicultural acquaintances becomes less exceptional. This couldn’t but benefit the global village called Wageningen, which seems to mushroom with talented and future-oriented characters. Studious Latinos, blessed Italians, dutiful Dutch, transgressive Chinese, hectic Finnish, dedicated Americans, independent Indonesians, romantic Czechs… and the list could go on.
Whatever it is that makes you feel good when you get back to Wageningen, don’t take it for granted. You may want to look for the same qualities, in the next place you will make you home.