3 year Amsterversary

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Sept 5, 2017

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Oh, who am I kidding? Time just flies–whether working, playing, or just sitting in a chair. Life is flying by.

How is it that I’ve been in Amsterdam for 3 years now? It feels like it’s been that long and yet it feels like it’s been so much longer. How is that even possible?

First Trip Home as an Expat

 

Change, it happens

When I got off the plane, I remember being excited to see Sean again after 2.5 weeks and oh-so-nervous about what would even happen. Would this work at all? What did we do?!

Here’s a quick recap (but you can find more information in this post): We packed up what was left after getting rid of 95% of our things and moved to the Netherlands. We had a plan, yes. But even the one thing we thought we knew didn’t pan out. We thought Sean has some temporary work lined up but the company never delivered on that. We spent months job hunting, then apartment hunting, and then it happened! Sean got a job and was able to sponsor me thanks to his Italian citizenship.

 

TravelShoot_Amsterdam_canalside_lookingback

 

Since that incredibly emotional and scary first 3 months, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve flourished. From not understanding how anything works or even knowing one word of Dutch, to buying our first home and at least being able to order food in a restaurant, it’s been an insane ride. But, possibly the biggest change is that we travel as much as possible.

 

Traveling More

Traveling is one reason I love living in Europe. It’s also a huge reason we moved. I love going to London and Paris every year.  From Amsterdam, two hours in the air can get us to so many amazing cities! While we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg, I’m in love with Italy, I know that I need to spend more time in parts of France that aren’t Paris and that I must discover more of Portugal and Spain.

 

Amalfi Coast, Italy

 

There is so much to see that it’s overwhelming, but I know I will see and truly experience more of it because I’m here and all those lovely places are just a quick plane ride away.

Not only do I experience the world by traveling, but I have friends from all over the world too! They inspire me, teach me, and bring more diversity into my life than I ever had before. I feel more educated and more tolerant just by knowing people from different countries, religions, and cultures.

 

Friends as expats

 

Does changing the scene change me?

Beneath it all, I will always be the same person with the same insecurities, issues, and worries as I ever had. I still have the same desires, dreams, favorite shows, and love to eat as I ever did.  The biggest difference is what I have available to me here and feeling incredibly independent.

My dreams are just a bit bigger than they were because I’ve seen more of the world and I see more opportunity in it. I meet people who are more like me which is empowering. I see what those around me accomplish and that inspires me.

I feel safe and secure. Finding a house was a pain in the butt–not gonna lie. But having a house–a home–is one of the best feelings ever. Being in Amsterdam makes me feel safe. While I don’t have the amazing community network I had in my last town, I still feel incredibly at home.

 

Rooftop tour in Stockholm

 

More things excite me. There’s so much to do in Amsterdam that it can feel overwhelming! Just look at the iamsterdam.com page to get a peek at what’s going on. Those are just the events they post, and don’t include the concerts, movie premieres, marches, private boat trips, picnics, and house parties.

My love: travel. Living in Amsterdam is perfect for travel. Our airport is a great hub that can take you anywhere. It’s a huge place, but I’ve been so many times that I don’t get lost anymore. I’m surprised I haven’t made some security friends yet! I should work on that.

Who would have ever thought I’d bike to work almost every day? Surely, not me. But I do! I love the exercise, the views, the challenge, and the way it clears my mind. It takes some mighty focus to cycle during rush hour!

Biking the dunes in Zandvoort

 

Living in Amsterdam has enhanced my personality. It’s taken things that have been there but made them more prominent. Things were fine before we moved, but now they are amazing.

Does that mean everything is perfect all the time? Heck, no. Some days straight up suck because of the weather, terrorism in Europe, trying to figure out Dutch mail, or even just figuring out who will deliver soil for our garden. Everyday is a new challenge in some way. It can be overwhelming, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.

 

3 years in, now what?

We have a great circle of friends that we can depend on and who can depend on us. We have a home that is all ours. We travel frequently. We’re all set, right?

My happy place in Stockholm

 

After living in the same town for 7 years and working at the same university, things (again) were fine but got incredibly stagnant. That’s exactly what we don’t want here. Our friends and our home are the staples, and everything else is unpredictable. What next year will look like, I’m not sure. I feel more in control than ever and yet you can never really know what life will look like.

The world is full of so many possibilities. It makes me excited. It gives me hope. It is inspiring.

Where are you hoping to be in 3 years?

Wishing you love and travels.

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How to Survive Your First Trip Home as an Expat

4 Comments

  1. I follow your blog and you are awesome #1, and #2, maybe you could PM me sometime and tell me what you know about health care there. I’m writing a paper for my health and leadership class and its making me think about getting my MPH. I’ve been looking at how all these different European countries do it. Is your system close to Germany’s Bismark model? 🙂

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  2. Mid-August was my 9-year anniversary for moving the Netherlands – can’t believe it’s been that long! In many ways it feels like yesterday that I dragged my heavy suitcases to my studio in Utrecht, and in others I feel like a local (when giving advice to other expats on legal matters especially) . Not sure this will be my ‘forever home’ but it certainly is a great place to live!

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