It’s my first week back in the Netherlands so I wanted to give a quick report on how it’s going. Coming home has been an unsettling experience, especially considering the major changes that have occurred in my life recently. I will describe a few of these in this blog post.
The journey home
But first, the journey home. It was a long and tiring trip back. Mostly it was very stressful because I was travelling with my cat Remi, who did not enjoy this adventure one bit. I felt sorry for him as he was visibly tense and hyperventilating all the way home – a journey which lasted over ten hours. Fortunately he is still young and managed to recover quickly.
The most frustrating thing about it were the delays: first our train was delayed by 30 minutes, then it got cancelled at Manchester Piccadilly so we had to transfer, and to top it all our plane got delayed too. The flight home only takes about an hour, but count in all the other transport and the waiting around at the airport, and you have lost an entire day. The good news is that I will never have to do this with my cat again!
The Monday straight after arrival I started a new job as a teacher in secondary education. In a less than ideal situation, I had to dive into the classroom the very first hour of my first day. Quite intimidating!
On the one hand, starting a new job has offered many challenges and ignited even more confusion: it only adds to the enormous list of things I have to figure out. On the other hand, this has been a way for me to set up a new routine. It’s nice to have a schedule and places you need to be.
I think I am managing pretty well: I’ve practically just come off the plane and already I’ve begun a new life. Everybody keeps telling me how impressive it is, especially the way I have jumped into a new job. However, that does not mean I have had no struggles.
One of my biggest issues, also when I had just moved abroad, is diet. I am a difficult eater – not just picky, I also have a number of intolerances – and moving country only makes matters worse. The food is different so you completely have to reinvent your meals. At first in the UK this worked really well for me and I finally got to a healthy weight, but those last few months abroad I started missing Dutch food a lot. Now that I’m back, you would think I would be eating non-stop, but I’m not. I feel like I am having to reinvent again and I have no clue how to set up a proper diet.
Though my job has given me a clear schedule and a good sense of purpose, I am still struggling with the rest of my calendar. I need time to get used to my new (temporary) home, where I am living with others so in a lot of ways I am dependent on them too. It is weird for me not to have complete control over my schedule because I have lived independently for so long. I am also finding it a bit difficult not to have my own space without distractions.
I can’t quite say yet that being back is a relief or that I miss the UK. I have had moments where I felt down because I couldn’t cope with so many things being different. My lowest moment (I wish I was kidding) was when I couldn’t access the new RuPaul’s Drag Race episode and I sincerely regretted moving back. I was moody for the entire evening and morning afterwards.
I wrote before that I used to be unhappy in the Netherlands, and that one of my main challenges for the future will be to find happiness here. Thankfully I am very pleased with the job that I am in now and I am also looking forward to my next job that I have lined up after summer. What’s extremely frustrating though is that house-hunting is an absolute nightmare at the moment, and it’s causing a lot of stress.
For the moment being, I am planning almost no big outings or social events that I have to travel for. I need time to settle down and get my head sorted. One step at a time!