Sweet Home Chicago
Trip Start Apr 06, 2003
69Trip End Ongoing
I just read an email from a friend of ours in A'dam and it nearly brought tears to my eyes. We have been riding an emotional roller-coaster for the past month+ and have experienced many feelings. Walking around an empty apartment, our home, by myself, picking up scraps left by the movers, was a very tough thing to do. We love A'dam and the lives we developed there and saying good-bye to that was very very hard.
At our 'farewell drinks' along a picture perfect A'dam canal 10 days ago was equally as challenging. All of our friends made it and said such nice things about us and the huge hole our departure was leaving. It really made us feel very nice and re-emphasized that we really had developed a home in A'dam.
At the same time, the excitement in the voices of our family (and Joey) as Aug 1 drew nearer made us look forward to the flight home. We know that having the family close (or at least on the same side of the ocean) will be great and Natalie will love it as much as her grandparents will.
And as we have seen more and more email listings from our real estate agent, we are getting more and more excited about buying a home and settling into life back in Chi.
So here we are, having put our last European trip behind us in Portugal (pics coming soon), sad about what we left back in A'dam and excited for what greets us here. Moving abroad was not an easy thing to do. But something tells me moving back won't be either.
Today I went straight to the office after dropping the girls off at the temporary apartment - talk about your adjustment, how about the (lack of) work-life balance in the US, not that having the entire month of August off for vacation is the way either though! It actually wasn't so bad as it was only 2 hours and will probably speed-up the process of getting the IT in order and getting up-and-running, but it was just interesting to be asked to come right in.
Anyways, this is our last t-pod, although I might send 1 last one in 6 months (if I remember) to comment on how strange it is living in this 'foreign land', but until then, here is something I wrote yesterday on the flight home...
ABOARD KLM FLIGHT FROM AMSTERDAM TO CHICAGO ON AUGUST 1, 2006
We are sitting on the plane at Schiphol and I just finished reading the 1st 3 t-pods I wrote over 3 years ago. Wow, what a weird experience. So accurate and clear, like it was yesterday, but mostly, what amazes me is how much has changed and how much is exactly the same. For 1, when I arrived in '03, I came alone. Now, not only is Julie sitting at my side, but Natalie is pulling at my pantleg!
The most glaring similarity about this flight is that, in general, I feel nothing. I am just sitting here. 3 years ago I wrote about my lack of nervousness, excitement, sadness, etc. and again, I feel nothing. Sure, I am sad to be leaving A'dam and our lives. When we moved here, we were kinda 'ready' to leave but now, we are not necessarily 'ready' and would've been perfectly happy staying a bit longer. And sure, we are excited about settling into life in Chicago, buying a house, and starting a job I am really excited about. But overall, I sit on the plane feeling nothing.
The 1 true emotion I have (other than overwhelming excitement to see Joey) is satisfaction. I am proud of Julie and myself for all we accomplished in the past few years. We left our 'safety-nest' and emerged more rounded people. Our experiences and relationships (both with others, each other, and ourselves) will certainly shape us forever. We made this foreign land our home. We travelled non-stop, even up until yesterday when we returned from a 10-day trip to Portugal. Everything we wanted to accomplish, we did. Julie is the only person who would've supported my crazy idea of moving to Europe and she was the perfect partner throughout. I could never have done this without her. And I imagine she feels the same.
We are looking forward to our repatriation and am guessing we will be very happy to see some things that America offers (see: customer service) but will long for some things like they are done in Europe. Hopefully we can find a balance.
So, feeling nothing but pride, I seal the Kantors_Abroad t-pod...until maybe the sequel in another land around a decade from now =)
Thanks for joining us on this most amazing journey.
-Stephen (and Julie)