Since I went on exchange during university my life has been one big chain of living abroad. In between, I have been periods back in the Netherlands but mostly that was just for a couple of months, half a year max, before taking off again. The journey started in Spain, and then via India, Ireland, Denmark and Germany here I am, back living in Spain. Let´s just say that when the bug bites, it really bites!
I always loved living abroad, learning new cultures, picking up at least the basics of a new language (some more successfully than others!), different food (I used to be a very picky eater until I went to India for an internship!) and meeting new people. First, it was temporary sta ys abroad, a semester for university, an internship, an 8-month project for work, but now I am already 4 years fixed in Spain.
And I can say there are definitely some perks to living here:
• The weather is amazing! I never realized how gray the Netherlands is or how depressive it can be to have several days without any sunshine until I moved here and had the sunshine almost every day.
• The food is even more amazing, croquetas or tortilla de patata anyone? I love the Mediterranean diet, and I love going for tapas (with wine please).
• I can just ignore politics, in both countries. I mean obviously I follow what´s going on but I kind of take distance from both disastrous worlds. In Spain, I claim it´s not my country and I don´t live in the Netherlands so also there I choose to go fo r denial about all the crazy stuff they come up with.
• Going back home once in a while feels extra good
Obviously, there are also some downsides to living abroad. For example, the crisis in Spain doesn´t really help professionally, you need to accept quite a big pay cut when moving here from the North of Europe. I really miss my friends, first, a lot of them were also living abroad but slowly people are moving back to the Netherlands. I miss some food, but mainly junk food so that´s probably a good thing. I miss the Dutch bars with Dutch sing-along (or scream-along in my case) songs.
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But until I had the bichin, I actually never felt bad about living abroad. Yes, I missed my friends and family but I visited often and was happy with my life here. However, since my son was born I do sometimes hate it that I am so far away from them! I travel to the Netherlands a lot and they visit but it´s different and I can´t just go for a quick cup of coffee to catch-up for example. Also the fact that my parents, brother & sisters and best friends don´t see the bichin very often is something I found quite hard to accept. When you´re in such a life-changing moment of becoming a mom you just want your people around, your tribe, and it can be quite hard if that´s not the case! You can´t have it all…
What do you find most difficult about being abroad?
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