Friday, October 15, 2010

Split between two worlds

Article by Tiffany Jansen

We met. We fell in love. We got married. I moved in with him… to his home in the Netherlands.

For months before the wedding, I was so excited. Nervous, but excited. I had met at least one other woman who had done what I was about to do and she was well-adjusted and happy. Naturally the same would happen for me, right?

The day of the wedding, it hit me. It was huge what I was about to do. My mother and I sat on the edge of my bed and cried together. We agreed that I would give it 2-3 years and then I would move back to the US with my husband. After all, this was my home. I couldn’t stay away forever.

When I got to the Netherlands, however, I fell in love. I met remarkable women in the same or a very similar position to that which I was in and made some really excellent friends. My husband’s family and friends took me in and really made me feel at home. It came as a surprise to everyone – myself included – how quickly I adjusted and came to love my adopted country.

“No way am I going back,” I’d tell everyone (except my mother, of course).“I like it too much here.”

I became overly critical of America and the Netherlands could do no wrong in my eyes. I didn’t understand the other expat women I spoke to who used the word “home” to refer to both the Netherlands and their countries of origin.

As far as I was concerned, “home” was the place I was living. Where my husband and dog were and where we wanted to start a family of our own. When you move out of your parents’ house, you don’t continue to refer to it as “home” for the rest of your adult life. Why should it be any different in this case?

My first 6 months in the Netherlands, I had no desire to...

Read more about Tiffany and her life in the Netherlands at

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