While I’m stuck at Washington Dulles airport because the airplane crew is delayed, I’m wondering if this really is happening: if I’m really on my way to North Carolina to start looking for an apartment. And more importantly: how the heck do you adjust to the idea of moving from the Netherlands to the States?
Seven days later, with an apartment contract and the faintest clue about the city I’ll live in, I’m back in Amsterdam and realize that it’s really happening. My boyfriend and I are crossing the pond, together. He for his job (he’s been working for an American company for a few years now), me because I can’t be without him for two or more years. Because I was a bit “over” the Netherlands anyway, because I want a shot of adventure in my calmly meandering life. Because damn, it’s the United States of America.
It doesn’t mean that it – somewhere deep in my lizard brain – doesn’t terrifies me. All these changes. All these chances. All these things that have to be taken care off before we can even consider returning. I’ve lived in other countries before, but there were parents or university to back me up in the Take Care Of Everything business. Now it’s just us.
Now we have to empty our Dutch apartment, cancel the rent, decide what we want to move and what to leave behind. I have to tell my boss, the boss that always made sure that I could come back for a small job, that I don’t want a new contract. I have to say goodbye to my parents, my family and friends and oh good gods, my dog.
I have to apply for a journalist visa and get approved, I have to get a proof of employment, income, being a good renter (I never rented anything before, how does that work?). There are plenty of things that can go wrong, there will no doubt be doubt, homesickness and a dramatic goodbye (I know I have to, even though I rather slink away silently).
And yet, there’s a part of me that is incredibly tickled by this Big Change. Maybe I can find freelance writing work, there is a roller derby group, animal shelters that need volunteers, teens that need mentors. It will be different, not having a monthly salary and not knowing anyone (at the start) will take some getting used to. I will have to remember that talking English to make a snarky comment isn’t a good idea in English-surroundings and oh no, how will I live with real licorice and cheese? Either way, in the words of the great Tim Gunn: I’m just going to have to make it work. And I’m looking forward to it.