I don't think I have a favorite place.
My favorite place is where my husband, two kids and two dogs are.
That's what I learned after moving from the Netherlands to the Chicago area.
When we just moved here, all we had was in the suitcases that we brought with us. After a week or so, our airluggage arrived. I must admit that it was nice to have some stuff for the kids to play with, other than their tablets.
We had one bed, one couch and one kitchen table with four chairs. That was it. I think I've never been happier.
From this experience I learned that I don't need much. The most important is being with the ones I love most.
After a few weeks the rest of our stuff came, and I did like it, but not having a lot meant having a lot of spare time too. There wasn't a lot to clean...
I never thought that the house that we live in now, would feel like 'home'. But it really does! And it felt like home very quickly. Home isn't a thing made out of stone (or plastic like here) but home is where the heart is.
The moment that I realised that America was my home now was when we, after living here for almost a year, went back to the Netherlands. That was a really strange feeling. Being in the Netherlands again didn't feel like home anymore. It also didn't feel like vacation. When we saw our house there, it didn't feel like home anymore.
I realised that the only thing I missed while being in America, were the people that lived in the Netherlands. Not our house, the village, the shoppingmalls or parcs.
Our vacation lasted seventeen days, and every day we saw a lot of people. Seeing them was very special.
While making plans to go to the Netherlands, I had to make a schedule to be sure that we all could meet with the people we wanted. This was the moment that I reviewed a lot of relationships. If you only have seventeen days, who would you want to meet? We took all those decisions with our hearts and the seventeen days were great! Some people we only saw once, some people a lot more. About some people I thought that I would miss them more, but no.
The people that we saw felt like home. Their hugs, kisses (yes, in the Netherlands we kiss people!) and kind words and gestures were the most important.
Going back home was hard, especially for the kids. I wish I could take some people along with me and give them houses in our street or neighborhood, but that's just not the way it goes.
With our decision of moving to the other side of planet Earth, come consequences. You have to accept them, otherwise you won't survive.
Living without the people that make your life extra special (not within your own household) is hard! It sometimes made me cry very loud and it made me feel very lonely but it never put me totally down. I know now that I can survive, being on my own. Moving here made me a lot stronger! I met myself in the mirror quite often and what I saw wasn't always what I wanted to see. But as long as I kept looking at myself and reflecting on what I did and why I did it that way, I kept on growing.
My husband works a lot and in the beginning I had nobody to ask for help. After a year and four months, we are building a new circle of friends. That takes a long time. And there still is room for more people.
In the Netherlands you can also meet with soccer friends without playing soccer. Or meet with parents of classmates without setting playdates. I didn't put friends in 'boxes'. I did a lot of things with the same friends. We only have two friends like that over here. The rest in a certain 'box'.
I still miss those unscheduled evenings with our neighbors. I am so happy that they are here now! It's cool to have visitors coming over and see them 24/7.
Where our next favorite place will be, we don't know at all, but as long as we are together we will make it! My husband and I definitely grew stronger together as well.
And otherwise I would pick my second favorite place: my bed! After a nice nap the world looks so much better...
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