Renee and girls

My girls and I on the beach in Caloundra before Christmas

Girls and I in the cold

Girls and I in The Netherlands in November, about to cycle to school.

My daughters and I left The Hague, The Netherlands on 7 December for a holiday and have had the most amazing month on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.  You can read more about my connection to both countries and the first five things I did when we arrived (back) in Australia.  We’ve been staying with my parents and spending as much time as we can with my brothers, sister in law and friends.  As I knew would happen, the time has flown by and it’s almost time to leave.

If home is where the heart is, then my heart must now be split in two.  That can of course hurt dreadfully and I know many will be able to identify with the pain I already feel through my whole body, knowing that tomorrow I have to stay goodbye – again – to my parents, brothers and sister in law.  I need to leave behind friends, beaches, sunshine and many of the things I love so much here.

However the good thing about love is that loving something new doesn’t mean that love for the old is diminished.  So I can “still call Australia home” but find joy and love for my other home – The Netherlands.  Most importantly, my husband will be there waiting for us and we will be together again as a family, we’ve missed sharing this holiday with him. So instead of imaging it splitting in two I’m going to think about my heart just needing to grow huge to accommodate both countries!

When I’m sad I also try to think of the things I can be grateful for.  Though having two homes can be painful, it’s also an incredibly positive experience that many others can identify with.  Do you have two homes?

I am Malala

Some choose it and some don’t – I’m reading “I Am Malala” and this sixteen year old was shot in her home country of Pakistan simply for being a girl going to school and was taken to the UK with her family for medical treatments and safety.  So she now also has two homes and can’t even return to the first, though she longs to despite the dangers.  I have loving family, friends, safety and opportunities in both Australia and The Netherlands and for that, I’m grateful.

I’m also fortunate to be in a position to be likely to return to Australia again for Christmas 2014.  I’m grateful for Skype and other social media, which makes life for those with two homes a little easier.  I’m grateful for the richness of experience having two homes gives me – with such incredible contrasts for my mind to process and adapt to, this forces me to be a problem-solver and think in unique ways.  Both Australia and The Netherlands have their own styles of beauty and opportunities.  I now have friends and family in both countries, as do my children.

My children speak two languages fluently and are truly natives of both lands.  Their lives have so far been split fairly regularly between Australia and The Netherlands (with one born in each country and living for some time in each), though I have so far spent the majority of my life in Australia.  In 2014, I am going to focus on specific ways to make The Netherlands more my home as well, such as improving my Dutch language skills and developing my career there and perhaps even buying a house.  Hopefully in December 2014, I’ll get to hug my parents again at Brisbane airport as a hello and not a goodbye and sit back on an Australian beach again and feel the sunshine on my skin!  Then, the cycle will begin again.

Do you have two homes?  How do you feel about it?  How do you make it work?

Renee

Dutch Australian is a community of those with connections to both Australian and The Netherlands.  This blog follows the adventures of our Dutch Australian family as well as highlighting information and articles of interest to dual nationals.  You might like to read more about me, get to know other Dutch Australian people and explore other articles on the blog.  Come and chat to others over in the Dutch Australian Facebook community, we’d love to meet you!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d really appreciate you taking the time to comment below or share.  You can also contact me directly and sign up for our e-newsletter to keep up to date.