How long as that wrong logo been there? Clearly I’m not spending enough time on the blog these days. Well it’s fixed now and hopefully I’ll be up and moving about on the old blog a bit more as we move into a new phase of our expat lives. In a word: repatriation.
In a lot more words, Dan and I have decided to move back to the United States. Where? We’re not quite sure yet. It will depend a lot on where we can find jobs and if we can find a city or town that feels like a good fit. (Write me if you know of a good job opportunity. ;-))When? Our various employment contracts wrap up in December so we’ll probably arrange for the actual move to take place in January so we have a bit of time to handle last minute issues and don’t have to move in the middle of the winter holiday season.
Coming to the decision to move back to the US was a long one and it’s one I’ve been struggling with and feeling guilty about for a while. Many of the wonderful people we’ve met as expats are long-term expats, so it was only naturally I would start thinking about our stay in the same way. As a result, it’s hard for me to shake the feeling that we’ve somehow “failed” despite 2 years of personal growth and an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Even the hard bits that I really haven’t talked about here. The fact is that I like living in Europe and have enjoyed Maastricht to the extent that I’ve engaged with the city and region. And there are many things I will miss. All other excuses aside, it ultimately comes down to two things:
1) I want to work in my field: Library preservation and archives. I could do that here, but it is astronomically more difficult given not only my citizenship but also my poor language skills. Frankly, I’m not willing to put my career on hold any longer than I have to just to get caught up on the basics. The Netherlands doesn’t exactly having a librarian shortage. Both part-time jobs I have now are good jobs, but it took me two years of struggling to get those lined up. Dan is also in a transitionary place in his career and we believe he’ll have more success in the United States as well.
2) I’m not happy. I’ve often complained (mostly to myself) that people who really hate on living in the Netherlands ought to move. I don’t hate it here (far from it), but ultimately I am not happy and haven’t been for a long time. So to put my money where my mouth is, we’re moving. Hopefully we’ll find the place that is right for us.
Since we don’t have jobs lined up yet, isn’t a move back the the United States a poor career move too? Maybe, but the country you are a citizen of is always the easiest fallback option. I’d actually be interested in moving within the European Union, but currently countries all over seem to be battening down the hatches on expatriates; particularly non-EU ones within the EU. We’d only be interested in moves for jobs we could do in English as well, so if we see something: awesome. If not, we’ve got a long life ahead of us and I won’t rule out another expat adventure in our future.
Of course in the mean time I’m not really going anywhere for a while. Now that I feel free to write about our decision to move (I’ve informed everyone who needs to know expect our landlord), I hope to write more about our process. Coming here we had a lot of help from the University but on our way back, it’s all us. Repatriation isn’t glamorous, but it is part and parcel of the experience of many expats so it deserves to get written up. I hope you find it interesting.
Other things to watch out for: