There are a lot of things I love about my life nowadays – and I agree with the common way of saying that living abroad for a certain period is a huge luck. It certainly broadens your horizons and puts everything under a different light, it makes you meet different cultures and people.
But I would lie saying everything is smooth and easy. There is that one thing causing me troubles all the time, and it isn’t not seeing me living my life in the Netherlands or being afraid of not being integrated, or complaining about the weather or the food. It is simply the distance.

Not being able to decide at the very last moment to go visit your family and friends, not seeing your nephew and all in a sudden he is able to walk and chat. And not only I feel sorry I miss so many good times with my beloved ones…my main struggle involves also hurting people with my decisions, and having the feeling I am doing the wrong thing.
I think to my parents seeing me leaving for a year abroad and not coming back longer than 20 days per year. To my friends who get a small time slot in my fully scheduled time back. I think about the future, having children that need to take a plane to meet their grandparents.

Nowadays I am not alone in the decision, the decision of both of us depends on third party reactions, and it would change substantially our lives. On the one hand there is the challenging and enjoyable current situation, the life you have been building for some time, and on the other side there are family, childhood friends and your home country.
I have this equation in hand for which I have not been able to find a solution so far. Probably it is just part of it, and I simply have to accept it (stop overthinking, Marta) – and see it as a luck instead of as a dilemma.

Especially after such a September of travels, visits and events, I can really agree with my mum who often reassures me that distance is even making our relationship stronger.
I have been to the wedding of one of my best friends, I got emotional in hearing their yes and hugging my high school friends after so long, I have been spending as much time as possible with mum and dad, I got visits that couldn’t have been more pleasant.

Maybe my limited chances of going back make everything even more valuable and I have learnt how to fully enjoy this time. And after all of this, although saying goodbye always causes tears and pain, I was happy to come back home, ready to be fully here, back to Dutching, confident in what my friends once told me

Distances mean so little when someone mean so much

Tom McNeal

Opening up like this online feels extremely strange, but I felt committed to do so: often I have been thinking I was the only one in this vicious circle, but then I happened to talk with people who told me they felt the same, and probably it is pretty normal.

How do you cope up with distances?


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