Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Next chapter soon: Why i will miss the (North) Netherlands...

Another move, another set of goodbyes, another time for wet eyes, and emotional farewell dinners and coffee mornings. The Netherlands welcomed our family so warm, that it is very difficult to let things go. I never expected to feel so at home in a country where, we just came for work, where i don't speak the language, (although my time in Belgium helped me a lot) where i knew nobody, and where i had to start from 0. Well everything happened so easily, effortless, and calm. We found a house close to my ideal kind of house, in an area where you can easily find anything you need on a walking or biking distance. In a beautiful setting surrounded by nature and animals. Where the rhythms of life are relaxed and organized. Nothing fancy or glamorous, just pure normal living. And of course i had the luck to be at the right place at the right time to meet my first friend here at the gym, who she generously open her house, her hug and her other friendships and shared them with me. They say, or i say, you only need one person to connect so to stop feeling alone in a new place. Well, i had the privilege to meet more than one wonderful women, mothers and seekers of a better life for them and their family. Netherlands has been a box full with surprises!

The first surprise was the area and the city each self. I had no idea what somebody can do at the North of the Netherlands, away from the fuzz and the buzz of Amsterdam, or Rotterdam or the busy Hague. None of my friends new anything about this new place. But it was a revelation!

Groningen, is a wonderful university city that has as much nightlife you want and need, many culinary discoveries to make and at the same time it is a family friendly place. Beautiful buildings, picturesque canals, markets and full agendas with festivals and other happenings to keep you busy most of the weekends. A city that is inviting you to walk through the narrow roads and discover new corners. An old city with a young vibe that in every turn you find another frame you want to capture with your camera. Moody landscapes, magical colors and painting like landscapes that makes you want to be the next Van Gogh!  At the same time bikes are flooding the streets day and night, through summer and winter keeping the city alive, in comparison with other places up in the North countries in general, where they turn to ghosts when the clock hits 6 o clock on a winter day. Groningen is a happy city with a good energy ( reminds me of my lovely Oxford)!  And that is one thing i will miss. But i have more to look back too...

Things i will miss....
  • My friends. As i have wrote in a previous post i believe you attract certain people in your life at a certain time because they want to teach you, show you something or take you to the next level. Well that happened and now i have a new set of people that i can call friends for life!

  • The Dutch people and their attitude. I will miss how much straight forward and honest approach the people have here. They don't scared to tell their opinion or how they feel. Some they say  it can sound rude, i say it is a liberation!

  • The nature and the proximity that everyone who lives here has to farm animals or wild animals and birds. I will really miss the horses that are everywhere! Seasons are alive and well in this place on earth. Autumn and Spring are beautiful seasons and the best time to visit the area.

  • Biking and walking to the super market, to the doctor and to do your errands. Parking is never an issue! Biking as a way of life and as a mean of transport. A vehicle synonym to freedom. 

  • The canals and the lakes and the color of the sky, the clouds and their dance from the high winds who are dominating the sky most of the days.

  • The chance of a normal old school style childhood with climbing, free play on the streets and parks and a close relationship with nature. The organized and well maintained playgrounds all around the area.  

  • The respect to humans and animals.

  • Our house that became a home. A place that my kids could grow old...

I recently asked my older son "which place do you consider as your home country between Belgium, Greece, UK, USA, and The Netherlands?" He made a long pause and answered "i don't know mom..." Typical answer of a third culture kid, where he was born to one country, that soon had to leave behind, his parents are from another part of the world, and the whole family stays 2 years here and 2 years in sometimes another continent! Well, for me of course the answer should be Greece, right? Well it is more complicated than you think... now after 15 years living abroad and almost 6 moves, "home" is a difficult term to define. One answer could be Oxford, because i loved the people, the schools and the whole area. But now it can be also the Netherlands and  here on the North i may have found another place that i can call home!

With these memories and full with positive feelings and images, i will try now to invest to our next destination, hoping that this new/old place that we are returning too will become a piece for my puzzle that completes what home means and feels for me.

No goodbyes, just see you later!

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