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?
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?
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11 thoughts on “I have two homes”
Renee, I totally agree with your sentiments. I feel blessed to have two countries that are home to me. I’m Dutch but have lived in Australia from ’83 to ‘ 91 and again from 2001 onwards. I have 3 adult children, 2 born in Australia and the youngest born in Holland. The story is now continuing this year as my youngest child has decided to move to Holland in January. My parents and siblings live in Holland, my husband has 2 siblings in Australia and 2 in Holland. He is the only one from his family who was born in Australia but grew up in both Holland and Australia. Its hard and painful at times and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thanks for sharing Reina, that’s one of the reasons I love having this website, I hear similar stories from others and you’re right, it’s a (sometimes painful) privilege! Renee
It’s the reason why I ‘www-connected’ with you, now quite some time ago ~~ and you were kind enough to tell my story here. I just HAVE to repeat that yesterday I was emailed a scan of my postcard to a classmate, which I’d sent from Fremantle when our migrant ship stopped there, in May 1956, on the way to Melbourne, from Amsterdam. It had been kept by the mother of my classmate. My teacher, in Gouda, had put me in-charge of my classmates on Wednesdays before lunch-time (home-time) while he went off to Rotterdam and I was THAT kind of ‘smarty’. (I can tell by the tone of my message to my friend “explaining” what migrating to Australia was all about.) I too try so hard to explain that the advantage of knowing the two cultures outweigh the disadvantages of being a “Tulip under the Gum Tree” ( by Eef ten Brummelaar).
I have two- and more homes: Poland, Germany, the Netherlands… any place I’ve lived in my life, I call home. Now you understand what being a TCK (or raising them) really means! Great post!
You tell your story so beautifully. I have the same feelings although I emigrated from Holland to Australia 10 years ago with my 3 children. I miss especially my parents every day, who still live in Holland but as you say, so grateful for skype. I have not been in a position to go back to Holland to see all my loved ones. I have a huge family with lots of uncles and aunties, cousins etc, but only one sibling and I was so happy when my sister decided to move to Australia with her husband and 3 children (now she has 4, last one born in Australia). We have been very lucky that my parents although in their late 60s en early 70s, are still healthy enough to fly to Australia every 2 years. With their only 2 daughters in Australia, I feel guilty sometimes for moving here as we took all the grandchildren away of course.
I live on the Sunshine Coast and I really feel I live in paradise…as at the moment I have 2 weeks off. Of course normal life starts again when I am going back to work :-).
I can’t wait for September though as that is when opa and oma are coming to Australia to celebrate their 50th anniversary with us (bringing dropjes, speculaas and other goodies that is allowed), and my mum will probably make us kroketten mmmmm.
September is a good time for their visit. Wow! Every two years. Really (almost) best of two worlds, I reckon. Joop (70). 🙂
And so, “like sand through the hour-glass, time moves on” ……… I DO! hope that you are STILL enjoying the “twist-and-turns” of our lives, on this plannet, Renee!! (I am!)
And so, “like sand through the hour-glass, time moves on” ……… I DO! hope that you are STILL enjoying the “twist-and-turns” of our lives, here, “Down-Under”, Renee!! (I am!)
enjoyed your post. Zo herkenbaar!