In Romania we have a saying that autumn the buds are counted, mostly because in this month the school starts and the kids starting primary school are called buds. But it is a saying that applies to older people, too. So now that is October I can count my buds for this year.
Moving in Netherlands, as seen from my posts, is an experience with ups and downs, but overall it is an experience I would try again. In the first months I was over excited about my new life, I was continuous smiling with no reason. After a while, the home sickness installed, but it passed and now it is just business as usual to live here. I think these are common steps when you move to a new country: you enjoy in the first months everything (I was enjoying even the fact that the train has delays!), after that you enter in the home sick phase when everything, no matter how good it is, it is just not like home and in the end you start living a normal life (starting to be annoyed by the train delays).
But what is my Netherlands moving experience? It is still clear that all my friends think that I smoke weed every day and that I even grow some marijuana in my house. It is like I don’t have a job or something. Even in my last trip in Romania a cab driver said to me “Oh, Netherlands, you smoke there a lot”. Yeah, I am high all the time, but I am high because I can’t get enough of the beauty around me. Netherlands was our choice because it is a country from which you can travel easy everywhere. So the best experience was the fact that monthly we visited another country and we have 3 weeks until we will do a Cadiz and Andalusia trip. You have a lot of options: bus, train, plain, ferry. You need to choose and know the period for convenient tickets. Netherlands offers a lot of possibilities for affordable hobbies: train passes for weekends, cinema passes, and museum cards. With all of these there’s no time to stay apathetic in you couch watching TV series. Slowly I changed in a more active person and I’ve started to have hobbies I wouldn’t had time back home. This is another point: if at home I was working like 10-12 hours per day, here I work 7. So I have a lot of time on my hands which is transformed in almost daily gym exercises (I’ve started kickboxing and I’m going to Zumba lessons as well), reading or just sitting on the balcony with a beer and admiring the neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job and I work in the same domain for almost 9 years. But in Romania I was a freelancer so my target was to have more hours, more projects and so on. Here the situation changed and, as I heard from my other friends working in IT, there’s no rush in delivering overnight. I can say Netherlands changed me a lot, I am a new person, more relaxed (I am still learning not to complain about my work load) and more open minded (I hope).
And now, which are the downs? I moved here together with my partner and thank God we’ve taken this decision together. Because I’ve lost a lot of friends, as time passed by. This was the hardest part in accommodating in a new country – you keep in touch for a while on mail/Facebook, but in time the relation started to degrade. Even if we live in a new world in which is common to have internet relations, I still feel the need to meet the person face to face and talk about everything easily. And in time the state of mind is changing: it is hard to make new friends (especially if you are kind of shy) and by time the love relation becomes the most powerful interpersonal relationship. But it isn’t easy. My partner worked in a domain in which they are requiring Dutch. As easy as it seems to learn a new language, if you don’t have an opening for this kind of activity you are just becoming numb. I am taking Dutch lessons and it is hard because it is so different from Romanian. So during the classes I translate from Romanian to English (which is not at a great level) and from English to Dutch. So here we are after almost 8 months and he is still searching for a job. We are both reading a lot of forums about how to get a job here, he applied to hundreds, been to all the recruitment companies and the conclusions are that you learn the language or simply get a job in a restaurant or in a factory. And maybe if we were 20 it would have been easier to learn the language, but now (I am 28, he is 33) it is kind of hard; at least for us. And the most important thing is missing: you need to talk the language in order to learn it, and since we don’t have any friends with Dutch knowledge it’s even harder. But we are still optimist, since in all the forums they complain about the same thing. We never imagined that since the first week he will have a job, but to receive refusal emails in Dutch or at the phone to tell you that the company doesn’t work with Romanians it is just disappointing. Eventually this down period will end.
Beside the real things, the ups and downs are situations that you define. There’s an “up” due to the beer, but a “down” due to the food. There’s an “up” due to the shopping areas, but a “down” due to the fact that you don’t find easy what you are searching (it took us 1 week to find a mop). Everyone can be annoyed by something, but it is very important for the scale to be balanced. So now, crossing the line, I can say we’ve found a balance in our life and, even if I sometimes miss the chaotic life I used to have, I am beginning to find pleasure in this peaceful life. Oh, yes, and our cat is really happy too.