‘What shall we do?’ I ask my husband, while we are driving on a small loop that will lead us past desolate farms, meadows and a curvy side of the river. It always has been our favorite road to drive when we wanted to escape the bustling city life. A little piece of nature in the midst of highways and concrete buildings. We drove there when we celebrated our prenuptials or whenever we wanted to discuss big things. This day was no different and for a long minute there was nothing, no word, we both just stared into the grey sky while rain hit our windshield. Then he turns his head and looks at me: ‘Let’s do this, let’s move back!’ I take his hand, firmly hold it and there we drove….off to another adventure.
It was January 2017, only four months after we moved back to Amsterdam. We always knew that after having lived in The States for a while, the adventure was not over. We were very happy in Atlanta, came to the city in 2013 when we just turned 30 and had a very comfortable life. No kids yet and enjoying our American Dream to the fullest. But after three years of my husbands secondment, it was either moving back to The Netherlands or taking the risk of going on a local contract and burning the bridges back home. Now I’m a person who likes to play it safe (once lost 50 cents on a slot machine when I was 8 and cried for a whole day… never gambled since), so we decided to move back to Europe. When we made that decision I already joked that we would leave our furniture in Atlanta, because we were only going for a short amount of time. Little did I know I became a fortuneteller that day.
But as you can read, it took us over a year from deciding to move back to actually getting back. There were a few bumps along the way organizational wise and as time passed by, the typical winter sky, or as we call it, the 50 shades of Grey, made way for a beautiful blue one. Amsterdam was again the beautiful city that we knew of, covered by streaks of sunlight. But did it in any way change our decision? No, it only made us realize that we love both countries, both cities and we can call ourselves very lucky to realize we can always end up in The Netherlands, but then with a backpack full of new adventures and memories to look back on.
And then the long awaited moment finally was there, May 11th2018. Standing at the airport, I had flashbacks of the same setting around 5 years ago. The many suitcases to check in, the emotions of our family and friends that wanted to say goodbye and the calmness of me and my husband longing for this adventure to start. To us, it all seemed right, familiar even, but our parents seemed heartbroken. My very talkative mother, my almost silent father and my mother in law who just wanted to get out of this place, they all coped in their own way. One more coffee, a few more hugs, walking through customs, looking back one more time, a final wave and off to…a full diaper, a kid crying over his sandwich falling apart and a paper, scissor, stone on who will deal with who. And there we stood, in the middle of passing travellers, realizing that this adventure may be different than the last one, when bringing kids to the picture.
With mixed feelings I boarded the airplane, silently moving to our four seats in the middle. Put our bags in the overhead compartment, started my sons movie, let my daughter sleep in her car seat and sat down. My husband in the meantime was joking around with my son on who could be The Hulk and who could play Spiderman, when I spotted an empty window seat just a few rows behind ours. ‘I’ll be just in the back for a while’. He nodded meaningful. And there I was, all by myself. The airplane took off and I sighed…this was that moment, this was now and this is life. I was ready for it. Knowing it will not all be the same as our adventure before, not all as easy, but it will be worth every second of it.
A friendly flight attendant asked me about our trip and I told her our story. That’s lovely, she said. ‘I wish y’all the best’. Y’all….that sentence. I grinned…I was going home!
So here I am, this is me. A Dutch girl, woman, wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter and anything in between who tries to stay sane in a world of dreams, anxieties, diapers, Lego and mindfulness podcasts. I will write on my experiences, cultural differences (the good, the bad and the ugly) and so much more. Hope you’ll enjoy.