It was the 17th of June that I arrived back in the Netherlands, its 3 months ago now. Lately I’ve been thinking about how it is to return back to the country I’ve left for 2 years, but lived in for most of the years before. The Netherlands has changed, so much is clear, and I notice it even more since I’ve been gone for 2 years. Also, I’ve been gone for 9 years from the country side I grew up in, where I live again now. Besides Netherlands changing, some things are still the same. But I’ve changed, and for some things: I’m not used to it anymore. It is seriously interesting to go back to the country you’ve grown up in for 24 years, but left for 2.
Probably the biggest change I am noticing is how the country side has changed. The people have changed, the inhabitants. When I grew up there, youngsters went away, there were mainly elderly, and some kids, but not many. People in their 30’s were barely there, with some exceptions. Of course, when you are a kid or a teenager, you don’t see those people too, so it might be that they were there but that I was just in a totally different bubble. At least in my experience the country side has changed, the people are now from all ages, also young people, starters, are living in the country side. It’s something I enjoy very much, but I still have to get used to it. I’m still stuck in my mind with the old experience I got, with the picture in my head of the country side being dull and boring. No, there are youngsters now, there are interesting people. Of course, there are still lots of elderly, probably the majority, but there is a shift.
Even though I present this as something positive – which in my experience it is, because it means I’m not alone in that super small village – the most probable reason for it isn’t too positive. One thing I noticed which has changed in the Netherlands is that these people have moved to the country side because there is no place to live in the cities. It is an only option, a payable option. Which is sad, that people can’t live where they actually want to live. Also, the country side has gotten worse in its options: the bus has disappeared, for instance. And to make things even more funny, the road to the doktor through the bushes, which used to be rather broad, and which leads nowadays also to the most nearby bus-station, isn’t accessible by bike anymore. We do it anyways, but it’s not allowed. Further they’re creating an unfriendly environment in the nature park which is made around my parents village, which means we can’t even go for a usual easy normal stroll with our dog anymore. Everything for the tourists, not the locals. Oh no, wait, the nature, not the tourist, duh…
Having lived in Sweden, I’ve missed the directness of the Dutch people, the straight-forwardness we’re known for. I’ve always rather gotten annoyed by it, but in Sweden I missed it. How do I look at that now? Well, of course it’s strange to be back, and I have to get used to the directness again. But I’m enjoying it so much! I’m enjoying so much that I can just get mad at somebody, tell my thoughts, and then we talk about it, and drink a pint. Well, I haven’t really had much alcohol yet but you know, that’s the idea. In only 3 months I’ve gotten so direct again, but people here don’t say a thing. It makes things so clear, I realize I’m way more direct than I used to be. Because it get’s me out of trouble, it clears the air and everybody knows what they’re up to immediately, without wondering and worrying about it. Of course I got get so much better at it, but it’s such a relieve to finally be able to be direct, after 2 years of sitting on my tongue.
When moving to a new country, new place, which I of course did, even though its a new-old place, you have to start up your life again, from scratch. In the beginning I got a little bit annoyed by people telling me to find a job, asking me what I am going to do, proposing me solutions for a problem which I didn’t see, but they clearly did. I had in mind what I wanted, but the whole change of being finished with studying after 7 years, moving country after 2 years, moving back in with my parents after 8 years…. I needed some time! I wanted to start this Vardo-thing as fast as possible, and things didn’t go as I was hoping in the beginning. Besides I was helping inside the house, and basically I was just arriving. And when looking back, it didn’t take that much time for me to get started with my life in this new-old place. The only reason I have in my mind it took long, was because people asked so many questions, which usually have opinions behind them. Already a week after my arrival I had my first side-job of cutting x-mas trees, a week! In less then a month I had my first medical-research whether or not I could participate in these researches. After a month I got to be a volunteer in the national refugee organization of the Netherlands (VluchtelingenWerk Noord-Nederland), in 2 months I had a new frame for the Vardo, and in less then 3 months I got a job at PostNL (the main mail-company in the Netherlands). None of this was planned, they’re just things which happened, which passed by and which felt right to do. Well, okay, I already thought it would be a good idea to work for the refugees when I got back in the Netherlands, so that there were vacancies was just a happy coincidence, and of course the Vardo thing was also kindah planned. Busted!
Even though it might look to others as if I got everything in order and in its place, and then for
others the main thing is that I should have a paying job, it doesn’t feel like it. I’m still rushing from one to the other, things haven’t gotten to be mainstream yet, I’m still not used to things in the Netherlands again. Busses which are not going on weekends, shops are not open on Sundays, I really feel like living in a different world after all those years in the cities. I get sad when I see how bad the politics is treating the country side, as if the people who are living there don’t matter. Well, we do have fiberglass-internet, which the city doesn’t, but that is exactly because we are the country side: the big companies aren’t interested in us, and they don’t want fiberglass in the bigger villages and cities. Though we can’t use our 200mb/s, since the router we gotten from the company giving us the fiberglass is only sending 50mb/s, so yap. All that fuzz for nothing.
So besides my thoughts on being 3 months in the Netherlands, what is going on with the Vardo? I’ve taken off all the wood from the frame, and cleaned whats under it. I’m in contact with somebody who is willing to fix the few things which need some fixing with the frame, and at the same time I need to fix the breaks, check the steering-mechanism (which looks really good by the way) and the lightning, and decide how to get going from there! I’m still busy deliberating on materials, since there are so many people with so many opinions, and also so many options to choose from, I’m still not quite sure. It might be that I just buy the first and not too expensive pile of wood from the second hand website, and work with that. Probably not, but I need something right? Another point of discussion is how to get the ground floor in the wagon, since it needs to be stuck under the iron. At least, that’s how they’ve always done it, so it seems as if that’s the smart thing to do, especially since that would mean it has some stability all over. At the sides there are 4 holes for the sides of the wagon, but I wanna use those for putting up the walls. But again, how to exactly do that…….
Right now I’m not able to do anything but thinking, since I’m watching the farm of my parent’s friends, with cats, chickens and goats. Well, and a whole garden to take care of. It’s rather a lot of work, and of course I have my job, my volunteering and other appointments besides it, so I wished I had wings right now. Which brings me to…. I’m going to take my first driving lesson! It’s a free one, 90 minutes, but hey, gotta start somewhere. So, be aware…..