We’ve now been in the Netherlands for over three years. The anniversary passed while we were on holiday in the UK in fact. Which made me think about how soon you lose the ties to places you used to live in. And how quickly you are bound to a new place. Walking round the streets of where I was at University I felt like an outsider in a place where I used to feel at home. I didn’t see anyone on the streets that I recognised. I doubted myself about the best way to go from one place to another. We visited a few friends where we used to live, but there are so many who we are no longer in touch with. People who were a big part of our lives and now we have barely any contact. Which is sad in a way, but I wish them all the best and will remember them with fondness for what we did share.
My parents still live in the house where I grew up. We moved there shortly before my third birthday, so I don’t really remember them living anywhere else. And in many ways that house will always feel like home to me. Even if my old room has been refurbished and looks nothing like it was when I lived there. But they are in the process of moving, and soon that’s another place where our links will dwindle. If we go back to the local pub how many people will recognise us? Gone are the days when my sister and I left our car outside the pub and walked home, to then be asked about it on the following day!
And now we are back at our new home, meeting up with friends and carrying on as normal. Greeting the neighbours and waving at people we know across the street. Three years is a short length of time in many ways, but it’s also long enough to become part of the community; to be a face people recognise, someone people want to arrange to meet up with.
When we moved to the Netherlands we planned to find a house for a few years – to see how we liked it and then work out exactly where we wanted to be. We didn’t place to necessarily stay in the same area, as it was really difficult to judge differences between places when you’re not right there. So we are very lucky that our (somewhat) random selection of a place to live has worked out so well. We didn’t even look at what the schools were like when we first moved here. Rocket boy wasn’t yet three then and it seemed too far away to be worried about yet. But the local school is great, and we’re all really happy with it. Now we are starting to think about where we might move to, in the not too distant future, and we are looking for something no further than a kilometre away from their school. Looks like we’re here to stay then! Fingers crossed for the Brexit negotiations then…