I never imagined in a million years that I’d feel at home here as much as I do now. Home is the Netherlands now, but I grew up in the USA. I moved to the Netherlands to be with my Dutch boyfriend. Moving somewhere new can be really hard, especially moving to a new country. It’s been a little over a year and a half since I left the states, but I still miss it a lot sometimes.
Missing the Comforts
I miss the 24-hour grocery stores. The coffee shops that are open late. Driving a car, everyone speaking English, Twizzlers, and freshly baked bagels. The comfort of knowing everything around me, especially my friends. And most of all, I miss my family.
I have 14 biological siblings. I also have two foster siblings. I spent so much time with my family when I lived in the states. This is the time of the year that has always been the most treasured by me. The time when the summer was coming to a close. The leaves are ready to start changing colors. The temperature starts dropping. I love it when it starts getting chilly enough to wear thick cozy clothing and sit down to a steaming hot cup of cocoa, Hershey’s, of course.
Today, I was reminded that even though I’m very far from my family, there are still ways I can feel at home. My boyfriend and I took a bike ride today. We often take bike rides as many people do here. We normally take a similar route every time among the farms closest to our home. Today we decided to go another route. We first biked through some of our city, Roosendaal, and then eventually ended up in farmland.
We biked through fields of sheep grazing in the grass, eating apples. Huge windmills all around. It was so windy. I felt like I was being blown away. But I didn’t mind it that much. It was a beautiful sight. Biking a little further down, we found cornfields, apple orchards. I was instantly at home. You see, corn and apples are something of my youth, something that reminds me of the fun I had in my childhood.
Every year, my family and I would go to Apple Holler. It’s an apple orchard in Wisconsin. Not only can you pick apples there, but there are so things to do. They had a petting zoo, a restaurant, and a corn maze. I had so much fun picking apples with my siblings. Biting straight into a fresh juicy apple straight off the tree. I loved running after my siblings through the corn maze. We took so many bags of the apples that we picked together home and baked my grandmother’s delicious apple cake with them.
We went every single year. I can’t remember a year not going to Apple Holler. It was one of my most anticipated activities every year. Maybe that’s why I love the fall so much. I even went again a few years ago as an adult because of how much I love it. Going as an adult was a bit more fun because I could try all the deliciousness the restaurant had to offer, being that I’m no longer observing the laws of Kosher.
I was reminded of all that today. The air reeked of rotting apples that didn’t make it into the picking basket and fresh apples still growing on the trees. The stench didn’t bother me. The chilly air smelled of my childhood. The start of the Jewish year, and all the holidays coming up. It was always my favorite time of the year. The cornfield reminded me of playing in the corn maze growing up, spending time with my family. Stepping into the cornfield filled with growing corn on their large stalks transported me home.
My family and I ate a lot of corn growing up. We would barbecue it still in its husk, bake it in the oven or boil it in water on the stove. Either way, we always slathered tons of margarine and salt. It was a delicious snack. When we didn’t eat it on the cob, we’d put the corn kernels into a salad. We’d also get dried corn kernels, so we could pop them into popcorn. We ate so much popcorn.
My Favorite Season
Fall signals the end of the warm weather, but it’s still my favorite season. I love the way the air smells and feels, the leaves turning all sorts of beautiful colors, apple picking time, pumpkins, and starting to cozy up in sweaters and with blankets.
The Feeling of Home Will Come
You see, just because you move somewhere new, it doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to feel at home. With the right people and the right environment, you can be transported back to your childhood, and your hometown. I spent plenty of time being sad, feeling homesick, and wanting to go home, but today, I felt right at home here, thousands of miles away from my hometown.
If you’re living away from your hometown, don’t give up. You will meet those people that make you feel loved. You will find your own traditions and gain experiences that will remind you of your home growing up. Just have faith and be patient.
Follow my adventures and say hello to me on my Instagram.
If you ever lived away from your hometown, when did you finally feel at home in the place you moved to?
20 People reacted on this
This is well-written & you exemplify the courage & confidence that your Family, exudes.
Thank you for those kind words!
Good for you, I know all about moving and have done a lot of that! Born in Holland, lived for 3+ years in Romania. Emigrated to northern Canada and lived there for 18 years , then moved down south in British Columbia for another 20 years! Then my daughters dream was to move to Italy after she had been in school in Tuscany . It took 13 years to realize that and since October last year we now live in southern Italy and loving La dolce vita!! No regrets about any moves!! Home is where your heart is! My heart is being with my daughter and my grandson!! Also now it is only 2 1/2 hours flying to go and see my family in Holland, rather the 9 1/2 hours from Vancouver to Holland. My sister has visited me already 4 times and although the virus makes it hard now to see my Canadian friends but I know many of them can’t wait to come and see me here. What helped me most in the latter years in Canada was FaceTime. I talked to my Mom almost every day and could see her too!! That was great and now I do that with most of my friends. The good thing from Holland is that English gets spoken everywhere !! Good luck and hope that this helped a bit!!
Wow, that’s quite a story. Thank you for sharing!
I am very happy for you my friend that, have found an resemblance to peace and happiness. When we are happy with ourselves we can be happy anywhere. You are deeply loved by your parents (my friends)& me.
We love you with our prayers, good thought for your life and just knowing that you are happy. 👑💜 Shaun Schmitt
I really appreciate it Shaun. I hope you and your family are well.
I am a Canadian currently homeless because we live in Thailand and are currently unable to go home. So for now, we are staying with friends in the south of France. It sounds dreamy and wonderful I’m sure, but I miss home. We were lucky to have been able to go to Canada before coming here. I find doing a similar routine no matter where I am helps. I already homeschool because we travel so much, but morning yoga or popping a tin of homemade muffins in the oven really grounds me. Sometimes ill watch the same movie I’ve seen again too lol.
I’m glad to hear you have your own ways of feeling comfortable. I hope you’re able to go home asap. Best wishes.
We have a grand daughter close to Amsterdam she is working over there likes it very much. We miss her but face book helps us every Sunday morning . Traveling Europe sounds like a great experience . Thank you
I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Hopefully, soon you’ll be able to visit her.
I am Korean who moved from the US to the NL. I share so much of your feeling about missing family, social network, food (and smell), and comfort. It is just more than a feeling for me as these provide me with a sense of confidence, safety, and independence. After three years of living here, I have yet to find my ‘feeling home’ spot or moment. I think I am still in the process, but it is good to know that I am not alone. Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome! I wish you all the best.
Hi and well done you! I have recently fallen in love with Amsterdam only last week in fact! Prior to that I took my 3 year old twins to live in Southern Spain (for 8 years) on my own. Best thing for them and me. I would love to live where you are now! Jx
That sounds amazing!!!
[…] to a new country is hard on everyone, especially when people are used to having comforts such as friends, family, and food around. This […]
[…] paycheck. We take time to do the things that make us happy. Quite often, they are completely free. We take bike rides through the countryside, take walks in the forest and visit his family for coffee, […]
[…] This is never easy, especially this year. I haven’t been able to go back to my hometown, Milwaukee, WI, USA since November 2019. I think the best way to get through it is video call with your loved ones, find hobbies to keep you busy, and visit as often as possible. Make friends here. They will help you feel more at home. Moving is hard, especially to a new country, just give it time. Read my blog post about one of the first times I felt at home here. […]
[…] choice when choosing to go short distances because it’s affordable and most importantly, it’s good for you and […]
[…] Let’s be honest, Google translate can only take you so far. If you want to feel at home here, and not be unhappy every time you step outside your house, learning Dutch is very important. Whether you like it or not, this is your home now. You might as well try to make it feel like home. […]
[…] who hasn’t lived in the states for over 2 ½ years, sometimes I feel homesick. But in the fall, the feeling of home is especially strong right here in Roosendaal. My good friend and manicurist already ordered the perfect fall nail […]