BIG NEWS: I AM MOVING HOME! Not right now immediately, but in a little while when I finish university. As the final deadline is approaching, I needed to start thinking about the next step. That next step, for me, lies back home in The Netherlands. I am very excited to return and once again step into a new phase of my life. Whereas before I have been very keen to share aspects of my life abroad with you, I would now like to take you on the journey of my move back to the continent.
This decision was incredibly difficult. At first I didn’t talk to anyone about it because I didn’t want to get their hopes up or have them influence my decision. Only my therapist knew what I was going through. But in all honesty, I had always known I would return to The Netherlands eventually. This is because my aspiration to teach there has never gone away.
So, my eventual return was inevitable. The only question was when I would return. During autumn last year I posed myself that question: what were my wishes after university?
Unfortunately, I had no idea how to make this decision. Initially the plan had been to stick around for a while, find work here and explore my options – but by October 2018 I was not so sure anymore. I made a pros and cons list. I noted every silly little thing that could possibly help me make my decision, from “concerts are much cheaper in England” to “the Netherlands has fantastic dairy products”. In my mind, any seemingly tiny detail could be the defining argument.
It did not work. The pros and cons were roughly in even numbers and I felt no strong connection to any of them. Apart from two factors: my social life and my career.
In Sheffield, I had made some great friends over the years. The problem was that most of these friends had left. Every year around graduation time, I would watch my friends leave to go work in another city or move back to their home countries. This meant that every new academic year, I had to reset and build up a new social network. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, was incredibly tiring.
Back home I had a wonderful group of friends that I could fall back on no matter what. I missed them greatly. In fact, if you had asked me years ago if I would ever consider moving abroad, I would have told you that I could not do so because I could not leave my friends behind (and then I heartlessly did so anyway! How cruel. Sorry, friends). If I were to go back, I decided, it would be for the love of my dearest friends.
A second aspect that weighed in on the decision was job opportunities. In The Netherlands, there is always a need for English teachers, and I have the right qualifications for it. I also know exactly what my life as a teacher would look like. Here, I wouldn’t quite know what kind of work I would like to do and where to start. In the end, I felt stability was the right way to go.
You might have guessed by now that my plan is to move back home and find a job in teaching. By the time I finish this degree, I should be even better qualified, which consequently will improve my job prospects. Not to mention that there is always a demand for English teachers, and it offers a pleasant stable salary too.
Before my move abroad, I lived in a city way down south in the Netherlands. It was practically Belgium, and it was very far away from pretty much everyone in my life. This would definitely not be the place to return to, although I do still have a lot of friends around there. My preference goes out to the Amsterdam-Utrecht-Almere region, so I can be close to a big city where there is lots to do and explore, and also closer to some of my best friends.
The moving process
The decision to move back home has brought my mind a lot of peace. However, this time, the moving process seems incredibly complicated. I don’t know how I managed it last time, especially considering the fact that I had much more stuff then than I do now.
The main reason why it is so much more complicated this time around is because I have a cat now. Moving him would not be so difficult per se, if only it weren’t for Brexit lurking on the horizon. In the case of a no-deal Brexit, there will be no clear agreements between countries on… well, anything, really. And that includes the transport of my lovely little cat. Vets are getting increasingly frustrated because they can’t give definite advice on pet travel at the moment. Worst case scenario, my trip would have to be postponed for three months. This would be very unfortunate indeed, but luckily the vets have assured me it probably will not be necessary.
The picture above marks the very first moving box I filled, which I brought over last time I went back. The rest will be sent over by post, a task I am spreading out over the next couple of months. I have not booked a flight yet, so currently there is no definite date when I will back. My university deadline is April 30th though, so I hope to return the 1st of May at the very latest.
See you then, Netherlands. 🇳🇱
PS: this time there had better be someone waiting for me at Arrivals. I am expecting banners, hugs, a marching band playing Can’t Take My Eyes off You – you name it.
Photos by Lauren