After quite some discussion, my wife Tracy and I have decided that we want to emigrate from The Netherlands to Canada. Having already had this blog space set up but never actually doing much with it, it seemed like tracking our experiences with such a major move seemed like an interesting thing to write about. In this first post, I wanted to talk about how we got to this decision.
A couple of years ago, Tracy moved from the US to live with me in the Netherlands. Considering our individual situations, and the state of our respective countries at that time, this seemed to make the most sense. Normally, we stay in the neighborhood of where we grew up mostly out of a sense of inertia—why move that far if we’re already here, after all? When one of the partners in a relationship had to move countries, your concept of “neighborhood” stretches a little, and the question of why you live in a certain country becomes more relevant than it ever has.
Every place you live has its own advantages and disadvantages—there’s a good reason why the word utopia is a pun (ουτοπία, “no place” vs ευτοπία, “good place”). Even though there are great things about The Netherlands, there were still aspects of the U.S.A. that Tracy was missing: the space, natural scenery, a culture of politeness, and the language, to name a few. That got us thinking about why we were living in The Netherlands. I can tell you that it’s a rather strange awareness when you’re truly considering why you are where you are, and you can’t really find a sensible reason. I never chose to live in The Netherlands—I was just born here. She moved here to be with me, but not particularly for the country itself.
So, that led us to thinking about where we would want to live. We started making a list of aspects that our desired country would have: good social welfare system, friendly atmosphere, beautiful natural scenery, space, and so on, and so on. Once we had that list, we started checking our home countries. Does the U.S.A. fit the bill? Does the Netherlands? Neither really met all criteria. When we started considering it, though, we both realized one country did: Canada.
Once you ask that first question—why do we live here?—you quickly move to the next question: why don’t we live there? And before you know it, you start asking yourself: why not? Why not move? What’s keeping us here? By and large, comparing the lists of pros and cons, I couldn’t find a reason not to move. In fact, it sounded like an exciting adventure!
So, now that we’ve definitively decided that we’re moving countries, a world of possibilities have opened up. We’re examining visa options, looking for new regions to explore, and working on large questions: what? When? How? I’ll post here as the mood hits me, to organize all these thoughts.