Moving to the Netherlands was the highlight of 2014
I usually don’t like the widespread tendency to sum up the last year’s achievements and failures while entering the new year. I also don’t believe in starting new life in the New Year, on Monday, or when one turns 30. Life is so complex and unpredictable, that you can face a dramatic change any time, whether it was planned by you or by someone else. But this time I will make an exception, as 2014 was indeed a crucial and life changing year for all of us – in June 2014 we moved to the Netherlands. Facing new reality made us more flexible, open-minded, patient and tolerant. We have changed and are still changing every day. But I would like to concentrate on the transformations which occurred within our family and influenced our relationships.
Four men in the boat: (to say nothing of the cat)
I like thinking of us as four men in the boat: (to say nothing of the cat), paying tribute to Jerome K Jerome’s wonderful novel. We are nothing but four nomads with a cat who went on an adventure together, apparently in the same boat and are ready for the unexpected.
Changing the environment was beneficiary for my relationship with husband. As we are still “newlyweds” (married for 2.5 years) it was good to strengthen our family bonds on a neutral territory – where we are in the equal conditions, facing same challenges, learning new language, adapting to a different culture TOGETHER. I’m from Moldova and my husband is from Italy. First two years of our married life we lived in Moldova and planned to move to Italy. But destiny played its game and now we are in the Netherlands. Strange as it may seem, but it worked. We are more united than ever! We need each other’s support and understanding, otherwise we won’t survive. My husband is finally the real head of the family (while I remain to be the neck). He is in charge of our well being. He is the provider and the supplier. And for the first time in many years I feel really relaxed, protected and safe. Actually all the three of us and even our cat do! Our boat has a captain now and we are a good crew!
My sons have started learning Dutch, but the most amazing thing was that their English improved significantly. My younger son is 9 and he could understand only some English and would refuse to speak it with my husband. Thanks to the international environment in the Taal Centrum and inability to initially communicate in any other language but English, he is now quite fluent. Couple of days ago we went to the cinema to watch the Hobbit, part 3 and Anis had proudly mentioned that he had understood almost everything.
My kid’s Dutch is the motive of constant amazement and pride for me. I can’t stop wondering how in four months they managed to leap from the level “I don’t get a word of what they are saying” to “How could I think Dutch was difficult”. They are quite fluent now, they speak only Dutch at school, they easily read books in Dutch and they often correct me when I try to “Nederlands praten”.
A stay at home mom
I became more present as a parent. I am a stay at home mom now, and even though it’s temporary, I try to compensate for all those years when I was much busier, much more stressed and less present. I try to attend every football match of my elder son, while in Moldova I had no time to attend even one. Dalil feels much more support and encouragement and he is doing great! I go to school every week to keep track of my children’s performance. For the first time I didn’t run to the nearest supermarket when my kids asked me to make a dish for the Kerstdiner. For the first time I baked a Christmas cake by myself! Boys were very proud of me. I have never spent so much quality time with my sons before. Almost every evening we play family games. Our favorite ones are: chess, checkers, UNO, the wooden tower, memory cards and Mikado. Every weekend we go to visit a new museum or a new town in Holland. We travel more than ever and we always travel together. In six months we have managed to discover at least half of the Netherlands, we’ve been in Germany and twice in Italy. During the winter holidays we were inseparable and kids confessed that it was their best vacation ever!
I must confess that I’ve never spent so much time with my children and my husband as I do now. In Moldova I was constantly busy with my journalist/chief editor work, with numerous Baha’i activities, Women’s club, Toastmasters Club, various events, seminars and meetings that I simply did not realize how little time I dedicated to my loved ones. Even though I really miss my meaningful busy life, I found comfort and harmony being a wife, a mother, a partner and a friend. I had a chance to take a break, to pause and to be just a woman. However, my plan of conquering the world is still there!
It is so wonderfull to read how much you enjoy spending more quality time with your wonderful husband and beautiful kids.
Thank you dear Haleh :). Being able to be more present in my family is a real blessing and the best thing I got while living in the Netherlands.
IRINA! This is a truly inspiring story! happy for 4 of you and Filea)))pass my regards to Marco.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Irina.
I loved this post, Irina! It’s easy to fear changes, especially when many of them come together at the same time, and to leave our comfort zone, but the way you’ve talked about your experience shows how rewarding it can be. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!