When you relocate to another country, your mind is forced to simultaneously process such a raw influx of information, that it is only natural to feel overwhelmed. I remember within my first month at my new apartment in Amsterdam (that still lacks internet, leading it to be incredibly lonely at times), my determination completely subsided and made way for pure defeat – that night I cried hysterically for about an hour into my fish dinner for no reason at all (I laugh when I reconsider this memory). Everything at that moment seemed so intense and devastatingly overpowering, I had no idea why. So what do you do in that situation? Write to your nearest and dearest, light some candles, count your blessings and go to sleep. I try to remind myself that as human beings, we require polarity of emotions, in order to appreciate the occasions when we feel good.
I’ve now been in Holland for around three months, and as far as relocations go, it’s been pretty straightforward. I fell into a job which I love, working with people who keep me entertained on a daily basis. I have a beautiful apartment (it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that does the trick) and I’m slowly starting to meet people – however this has been the part that has lead to the most personal detachment. The expat community is wonderfully huge in Holland, however the consequence of this demographic, is its fluidity. People are constantly relocating and contracts are constantly shifting. This truly tests your ability to be flexible when you meet some beautiful souls who you know you will be losing in the near future. Don’t get me wrong, when I say I ‘fell into a job’ and so forth, this implies that it was not necessary to make an effort. But, I worked my butt off to gain employment, meet new people, find somewhere to live, literally start my life from scratch – I was simply extremely lucky that everything came to me so quickly. The tip is work hard and eventually you will experience a change that is worthwhile.
There are blissful occasions when I am cycling home from work through the centre of Amsterdam and I find myself smiling the broadest grin – it’s these moments I cherish because I am able to experience a raw feeling of pure gratitude. Alternatively, there are times when I’m embarking on my morning commute when a man decides to ram his bike into mine as we cross paths – even though we both spot each other – this is swiftly followed by a ”fuck you”, to which i respond ”yeah? well…fuck you” whilst trying not to burst out laughing. Plus, although English is spoken by the majority of Dutch (something which has lead me to respect this race of people massively), the language barrier in work environments or social situations often reminds you of the differences that exist between yourself and your peers – I never thought I would be excited to hear a cockney accent as I walk by the canals.
Living in Holland is a constant journey of discovery in how to balance out the scales, attempting to achieve some inner peace and happiness, whilst still being kept on my toes, and it’s an experience that I am certainly enjoying.
There’s so many things that I’ve struggled with since I have moved here, and as a result my personality has definitely learnt to be more adaptable and to put it rather bluntly, all you can do in these environments is simply get on with it. Sulking and being caught in deep emotion are not attractive factors for creating new relationships or maintaining a positive environment. Moreover, when you’re lying in bed, completely alone and it hits you that you are miles away from home, you are the only one to comfort yourself, thus, leaning on others becomes void. This kind of thought process used to suffocate me, but now I find myself completely liberated. A work colleague remarked the other day ”I can do whatever I want to do and no one can tell me otherwise” – that’s when it hit me, that I am literally living the dream. Freedom without limits is such a privilege that we often forget to appreciate it. Now, it’s something that I feel blessed to be able to experience.