After four great years as an expat family in Taiwan, it was time to move back to our home country, the Netherlands. The kids will be graduating in the Netherlands in the coming years and will find their way in life. Bert and I will work hard to make our dreams come true and retire early to travel the world together. That special feeling of freedom we experienced in Taiwan has made us reflect and change our outlook on life.
In this post, we will share how we experienced moving back to our home country. I also give you tips about things that we have experienced as very helpful.
Moving back or relocating is always a challenge and is accompanied by a lot of emotions and tension. But it’s also a new chapter and an adventure where we learn a lot along the way.
Read here our experiences and tips that can be useful for your next move.
We had an emotional last year
The past year was a tough one where we had to deal with many different emotions. It all started in October 2020 with the unexpected death of my dad. An open heart operation did not go as suspected, and due to additional complications, it all went very quickly. We flew to the Netherlands urgently, and despite the whole covid situation, we were, fortunately, able to be with mom and arrange the funeral.
It was a difficult time, and after three weeks in Belgium, we had to go back to Taiwan and get back to our daily life. Processing the death of a loved one while you are so far away is difficult, but unfortunately, it is also part of the possibilities if you choose a life as an expat.
Because we are also in our last contract year in Taiwan, Bert has to look for new options within the company he works for. Are we staying in Taiwan, are there options in other countries, or are we going back to the Netherlands for a few years? So many questions but no answers yet.
This period of uncertainty always demands a lot of energy. It’s nice to dream about new countries with every option that presents itself, but after a few months, you’ve had enough of this and want clarity. But the whole covid situation doesn’t help here either.
So we decided to take the plunge ourselves and choose to return to the Netherlands for at least two years.
Relocating our stuff and furniture
In 2017 we chose to move to Taiwan and bring our furniture. We thought this would create a home feeling because we had our own bed and such at our disposal. Now I dare to say that it is not the furniture that makes a home, but the people who live in that house. Even with small accessories and some personal stuff, you can create a pleasant living environment, and your furniture makes no difference in this.
Bringing furniture also means that they have to go back to the Netherlands in a container. We have scheduled three days for a company to come and pack everything. Due to the typhoon season in Taiwan, the moving company advises not to plan too tight, meaning when there is no typhoon, we will stay in a hotel for over a week before we fly to the Netherlands.
Precisely this was the case which turned out to be the perfect decision. We have plenty of time to enjoy these last days. We say goodbye to friends, and the children have time to hang out with classmates. We cancel the mobile phone subscriptions and close the bank account. On the day of departure, our car is the very last to be handed in.
This planning could not have been better, in our opinion. We would really recommend that you consider this if you are also facing a relocation.
Moving back home
We flew with KLM to Amsterdam. On the flight, we were surprised by a lovely gift from the crew.
We told them that we were on our way home after living in Taiwan for four years. Because we come back in a period with little supply and high house prices, they solved that problem by giving us ‘two houses’ and a postcard with lovely words written on it.
So incredibly thoughtful of this KLM crew.
When we arrived at Schiphol, another surprise was waiting for us. Some of our lovely family members were standing there to give us a very welcome home. The first tears of the day were there, and they weren’t the last. It is nice that there is some extra attention for your coming home in this way. It is and remains weird. It’s called coming home, but you no longer have a home in your home country. This feeling will have to grow again and needs time.
Because our furniture is shipped to the Netherlands, we stay in temporary accommodation. In our case, a super tiny apartment where it is reasonably necessary to take each other into account to live there. But we can’t complain and are lucky that the company arranged this for us.
The first weeks are tough. We want to have space and sometimes need a place for ourselves. After all the family visits, we decided to go out for a few days and rent a holiday house near the water. We went sailing, fishing and had some good chats.
We all needed these few days outdoor.
Making new friends
Meanwhile, the school has started, and Lotte and Pepijn are enjoying all the new friends around them. Because we have chosen an international school, making friends at school is very easy. All these kids know what it’s like to move and find new friends over and over again.
We know we’ve made the right choice for the school when we see them excited every day. We saw many friends and family again and have made new friends with other expat families who have children at the same school as Lotte and Pepijn.
We are so glad to have these new friends who understand expat life, and it is nice to be able to help them adapt to their new living environment.
Helping expat families in the Netherlands
And while everyone is at school and work, I will help families who would like to go abroad with their kids and provide expat families in the Netherlands with all the necessary information as they try to find their way in everyday life.
We are pleased to share our experiences with you through my blogs and Instagram account.
Did you arrive in your new country not too long ago and struggle with missing friends and family?
Read these tips to fight loneliness in Expat Life.