Challenges of Living Abroad

Dutch weather. Bad weather. Bright weather. Changeable weather. The weather is an endless topic of discussion, always available to smoothen small-talks with whoever you meet.

Coming from tropical backgrounds, but living in The Netherlands for a very long time, I got used to this custom all my adult life. And I like it. It seems to be an inexhaustible source of conversation, useful almost anywhere in which you find yourself stuck for words. The weather is a lifesaver in many occasions.

Among the international TU/e spouses of the Get in Touch Program, it’s also one of the favorite topics. When we talk about the challenges of living abroad, it seems to be the number one issue: how to survive Dutch weather, and particularly, how to survive wintertime. Wet, cold, and grey outside doesn’t work as a pull factor to get you out of your warm home. And they are right. When the sun is shining, everybody shines as well. When the rain is drizzling, everyone seems to drizzle too.

Me personally though, I love the seasonal changes of Dutch weather. Fresh cold. Blazing blue skies. Crystal crisp snow. Cautious sunbeams reflecting on the peaking leaves of the first spring flowers. Exhausting heat of summer days. But my favorite season is the fall. Deep scents of autumn. Raindrops endlessly dripping down from bright colored leaves.

This constant changeability resonates my life. I would rather do ten things at a time than concentrate profoundly on one only. I feel more comfortable with a constant switching flow. The Get in Touch Program is as changeable as the weather and in a constant switching stream. Each time there are new spouses, different experiences, other locations, all kind of languages, many histories from all parts of the world, and still we are basically connected.

I admire those young women and men, going for courageous challenges for their future, gradually appreciating that nothing will ever be the same again. The impact of their adventurous decisions is only understood by living them, through the ups and downs of finding your own new ways. It’s daring and full of perspectives, but it’s also great to feel the support of fellow spouses, who are moving with the tides of life as well. Adjusting to the changes, versatile as the weather. That’s their reality. And mine as well. Period.

Carola Eijsenring, Indigo-Wereld
Carola writes for Eindhoven News on a monthly basis, she writes about things happening in her life, subjects that touch the multicultural world of Eindhoven.

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