Monday, July 27, 2009

A Month of Lasts

Well...we knew the day would come: The day that we would be faced with leaving our home in Amsterdam and making the journey back to America. Without going too much into details, we knew for some time that it would be this autumn, but the exact date was in question. Now, we know--after some final European travel, we’ll be landing on U.S. shores on the 1st of September.

Visiting somewhere and actually LIVING there are two completely different things. Even extended visits in a location can’t give you a complete picture of a place. Only when your mail, your garbage, your water bills, and your grocery stores are tied to a postal code can you actually get a sense of what your home is really like. And that’s exactly what we have done during our nearly two years in Amsterdam.

As an expat, you make a very big investment in attempting to gain some level of “bi-culturality” of your new location, and I feel that our investment has been large. Learning the language, navigating the cultural waters, adjusting to a different type of lifestyle all take serious time and effort.

But for us, like many expats, the return on investment has been staggering. Travel has taken us to unbelievable destinations. Digging deep into the local culture has taught us more about ourselves and our perceptions of the world than we ever thought possible. And the friends we’ve made are much more than just casual acquaintances--they’re true friends for life.

A goodbye to Holland wouldn’t be complete without a huge note of thanks to our Dutch neighbors and the many Dutch people who have helped to make our short stay in this country a good one. It’s funny...some people make fun of the Dutch, calling them rude, insensitive at times, and closed to possibilities. Our experience has been to the contrary. Warmth, sensitivity, and a fun-loving sensibility have been the defining qualities that we’ve experienced with the Dutch. The world could be a better place if we could all take a little bit of The Netherlands with us.

Before we depart, we’ll visit the fjords of Norway and the sun-drenched beaches of the Greek isles. It’s a great way to wrap up our European journey. For now, it’s a few week of “lasts” in Amsterdam.

No comments: