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A Long Good-bye: Starting the Road to Repatriation

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.

Boxes from the "Out of Storage" exhibition in Maastricht

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.

Decision Time

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.

Why the USA?

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.

In the Mean Time

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:

  • We’ll be selling and giving away a lot of our stuff since most things don’t need to move with us. If you live in the region, keep an eye on the blog since I’ll be posting about it here.
  • I’m developing a “Maastricht Minutiae” digital archive project which I hope will take the place of this blog once we’ve moved. The archive will be a collection of our three years in Maastricht and will essentially be the same thing as the Maastricht Minutiae blog with more pictures.

5 Responses to “A Long Good-bye: Starting the Road to Repatriation”

  1. Jules says:

    Well, you’ve gotta do what makes you happy, and even though I will be sad to lose another reason to go to Maastricht, I hope you’ll have an easier time of it in the US.

    I’ll save my good luck wishes for a get-together in October or November (we’ll probably make a trip in November to start Christmas shopping). These things are better in person, anyway.

  2. Amanda says:

    Be thrilled to see you in November (or October if you like but Dan’s folks will be here then). :)

  3. Star says:

    Good for you for seeking to change something that just isn’t working for you. I’ve lived in many different states/cities in the US, so feel free to ask me about any particular areas you might be interested in. We’re not happy living here in Michigan, but we have an end in sight…John’s company will likely be moving us sometime in the next two years.

    Good luck with the preparations to move. You deserve to be happy, and anywhere in the US would be lucky to have your skills (and Dan’s, for that matter)!

  4. david hampton says:

    | know that this was a tough decision for you both, but it sounds like your doing the right things for the future. This experience will always pay benefits (how many people in Boston know any Dutch, after all) and you’ll have the best stories at the cocktail parties. We’ll miss having you with us; hope that there is a good party before you go so that we can share memories and addresses!

  5. Amanda says:

    We’ll certainly miss all the great people we have met here. We’ll have to throw a little something before we ship/sell all our furniture.