2017 was always going to be a year of change for us; that much we have known for a few years. We are now on the precipice of a move that some days I can’t quite get my head around. How did we get to the point of simply moving from the west of the Netherlands to the east?
I blame Brexit. I blame Brexit for a lot of things so I may as well blame it for this too. In reality, Brexit did play a small role in where we ended up buying a house. The UK was removed from the list of potential locations to move to once my husband’s contract ended in May this year. A Brexited Britain is not a place I want to live in so a search for a new job there was halted.
Job applications were made. Brussels was on the potential list. Many other countries were mentioned fleetingly in conversation. There were discussions. There were offers. And then a domestic opportunity came up which became more and more interesting as the months
went on flew by.
It would provide us with a chance to make a huge change but within the Netherlands. More space, more green, less people, smaller schools, more quiet, more house. Everything we had talked about over the years. Less hustle and bustle, away from life in the Randstad.
Staying in the Netherlands was certainly easier for our children. Different but the same.
Faced with the idea of leaving the Netherlands I realised just how much I didn’t particularly want to leave what is now my home.
But it turns out that the east of the country is not the same as the west. Just how different I have learned since March this year, the month we started scouting possible areas to live.
We visited many towns, villages and in-between places in Gelderland between March and May. We ruled out areas. We drove through neighbourhoods and looked at schools from the outside that had looked great on paper. We did our homework.
The distance (at least 1 ½ hours driving) with three kids meant we had to anally plan house viewings and prop a lot into, what turned out to be, one day. One day was all we needed.
The second house we saw was the one. I knew it as we shuffled behind the estate agent from the kitchen to the woonkamer, despite standing outside the property asking, “Why are we seeing this one? It looks too small for us.” Inside it was like the tardis.
We viewed it a second time (with an aankoopmakelaar) and then we made an offer.
And so here we are, a week away from getting the key to our new home. The kids have spent two days (wendagen) in their new school and were more than enthusiastic. We’ve met our future neighbours. We’ve packed up 80% of our belongings into boxes. We’ve said some goodbyes, but we know there are more to come. There have been tears, and many more will fall before we leave this place.
On the 9th August the moving company will unload all our possessions off the moving truck and place them in our new home. It will be exactly 15 years to the day that we got the key to our current home, the home we brought three new born babies back to from the hospital. The home we came back to after our wedding day (ten year anniversary next week). It’s been the place we have laughed, cried, stood together, celebrated and mourned in. For 15 years. It’s the only home my sons have known until now.
It’s a transition time. It’s a difficult time. It’s an exciting time. It’s why it has been so quiet here on the Turning Dutch blog.
It’s a time of looking back, but also of looking to the future. I’m excited. And scared. Change is scary. The unknown is terrifying.
But what I do know for sure is that village life in the east of the Netherlands awaits us. Hellos await us. Friends we haven’t yet met await us.
We’re moving east.