The other day, a friend and I were complaining about the unusually wet weather in Atlanta, and she asked me where the sun went.
“Holland,” I told her, and it’s true. It’s like Mother Nature decided to switch things up this year, whisking our sun across the ocean to dry out Northern Europe and sending their low, leaden skies to dump torrential rains all over Georgia. Vampires get more sun than I’ve seen this past month, and I found myself wishing I were there instead of here, homesick for a place that’s no longer my home.
There are so many things I miss about the Netherlands, especially when the weather is balmy like it is now. Lazy days on North Sea beaches. Biking through fields of flowers. Amsterdam and cafes and canals and french fries with mayonnaise. Friends and family.
Before I moved to Holland all those years ago, I never really gave much thought to the fact that I’m an American. My nationality was as much a part of me as my curls and hazel eyes. And then suddenly there I was, in a country where I knew exactly one person. I was a foreigner, an outsider, an expat. Ugh! It didn’t take me long to detest the word expat. Am I less of an American patriot just because I moved to a foreign country? I daresay anyone who has ever been in an expat’s shoes will tell you the experience only heightens their feelings of nationalism.
But after more than a decade in the Netherlands, I’m part Dutch, too. Some of my favorite places on earth are in the Netherlands. Some of my favorite memories happened there. Some of my favorite people still live there. It took a long time and an enormous effort to put down roots, but then suddenly, without my even noticing, they took hold and became firmly entrenched. There to stay, even if I’m not.
Even though at this very moment, I wish I were.