Uprootings and Other Changes

Fagaras, Hiker, Mountains

The spring is once again here, the days are stretching out longer and there is a little more warmth and a new, vibrant, buzzing energy starting to appear everywhere.

A buzz is going on also in between my ears, as it seems to happen every spring, I realized, now that I looked back to the archives of this blog, for example. Most often it has stayed as that. Buzz between my ears and words on the pages of WordPress. So to be honest, I am a bit hesitant to write anything about any of it this time. It might still just remain as a buzz.

But since I have no impulse control, I find myself blurting.

Well. I was not completely honest right there. You see, something has already happened, so this all can’t stay just a buzz anymore.

We are moving. For real. We have found an apartment closer to Brussels, with a completely tolerable commute to work for the both of us! To get this far has been a bit of a process. Waffle has long roots in Rupelmonde and the surrounding area, so it took quite some mulling over to get to the point of actually moving. Sure, we wont have such an area rich in wildlife right at our door step and yes, we are leaving behind a lot of memories but hopefully all of this will bring some improvement to the overall situation and life quality.

We have the keys at the end of this month, so we have plenty of time to go full KonMari and let go of everything we have gathered. Waffle has been living in the house for 10 years now, so you can imagine there is some accumulation. We are sincerely looking forward to moving, to gaining an hour of extra time every day. An hour less spent on the road, every day. Whoop! And we have been thinking to start going to work by bike,  and getting those killer butts everybody is always dreaming about!

The increased amount of free time is hopefully going to change our daily lives. I am  wishing to and looking forward to finally getting back to horses, back to the saddle! Maybe we’ll be running a bit more the both of us. And Waffle is looking forward to further developing his extensive knowledge of the computer things he does. I am afraid we will be having just extra time, but way, way too much time in our hands which is going to lead to more and more travel plans, plummeting us into bankruptcy and eventually forcing us out of the country and moving to the Azores. Is this the silver lining to every cloud, people keep talking about?

At the same time, I am having the regularly occurring existential crisis. This time it is rather loud and demanding. Partially it probably stems from the fact that I am turning 30 in less time than I would have hoped. And I have a nagging feeling that I should have achieved something in life by now. What that something might be, I do not have a clue.  Partially the roots of this crisis are on the work front. There is some turmoil going on internally. New hires etc. I have kind of promised myself, that once the result of this shifting is clear, it is time for me to figure out where to go.

Ever since I moved to Belgium I have kind of been floating, I left my roots behind me in Finland. Now we are just planning ahead trip by trip, but nothing much deeper than that, it has been quite enough until now. But slowly I have been developing a need to root down to something. Create a meaning for my existence. Possibly not the most unique set of feelings in the life of expats.

One reason to get these thoughts on the move is that lately we have met and surrounded ourselves by some inspiring, brave and curious souls. People who have been and are brave enough to live the life they want, no matter what the people around them think. They have given me some seed of thought.

Maybe work should be something more than just means of earning money. Maybe it would be important to feel that you are doing something meaningful. Maybe it would be good to actually enjoy the work you do and feel that you can be good in it. Maybe. What do you think? It puzzles me, that it took me so long to get this idea.

I might finally be brave enough to actually do something about this nagging feeling. Take and tackle those maybes and get going. Now the challenge is to fit some studying into the schedule, and take a step to the direction without ending up bankrupt and living in the Azores. Hopefully I’ll be able to put some more concrete plans on paper in the near future.

Oooh, what a cliff hanger!





Just passing, but for how long….

I think many expats go through thoughts like these every once in a while. How permanent is the situation of living abroad? How permanent is the current location? Should I return home or not, if yes, when? I know I have posted something similar to this before, but it seems to pop up every now and then in my thoughts.

I have a small existential crisis – again, so I have been pondering and chewing on these questions quite a bit in my own head.  There never was a plan laid out for the future after moving abroad. I did not seem to need it back then. You know, I was moving into the center of Europe, with the best traveling possibilities imaginable. To live with a Waffle so close to perfection I could cry. Not much consideration or deep thoughts were involved in this process.

So far, it has been fabulous. We are traveling around Europe as I always was dreaming of doing. And there is still plenty to explore. But there are other life goals too, some of which require settling down, to somewhere, for some time. So it would be kind of nice to have a vision of where we would like to settle down to.

Belgium has some pros and cons. The ease of travel being one of the best points, as well as high living standard and delicious beer! But for a person who loves nature and mountains, peace and quiet, it is not exactly a heaven. Flanders is the most densely populated area in Europe which makes nature, peace or quietness pretty difficult things to find. Belgium has never been seen as the forever home for us.

But for now, we are building our lives in here. We both have a stable job, a nice circle of mostly lunatic friends and so forth. Despite these things I find myself hesitant to get committed into anything that would force us to stay put for a long time in this country. One of the main things bugging me is studying. Although I have a comfortable position in working life now, I don’t see myself having it as my life career. I want to jump onto another field of profession completely. But that would mean jumping out of a paid job – and sticking to this country for 5 – 6 years, cutting quite q big junk out of the travel budget, not to mention a putting a huge strain on Waffle. Then again, Belgium does have some of the top ranking Uni’s and I am not getting any younger…

This desire of studying would of course hinder some other dreams from coming true. I have been planning to buy a horse now for a while. But owning a horse, going to school and traveling every month to somewhere might be a difficult combo to pull off.

Seems like I have a dilemma here.

And then there is the whole Finland question. I think both me and Waffle want to go live there at some point. That wonderful, evasive point of time called “some”. Now that we have a piece of property there that point became less urgent, I have he possibility to get to my roots even if my parents needed to let go of the farm. It does make hunting down the right “some point” more difficult though. At least we have some traveling to do before going to Finland more permanently.

If there needs to be a conclusion to all this, I think it is that we are  going to live just like we have done so far; in the moment. I am not big on making lists or going through a problem logically, figuring out all the pros and cons of each alternative. I prefer just jumping after any interesting enough opportunity that presents itself. Not really too mature way of looking at life, I know, but it seems to be working, as long as there are not many too strict goals in sight.

I just hope I don’t have to do any job interviews where I need to answer the threaded question: “Where do you see yourself within 5 years?” Because I have absolutely no clue, could be in Belgium or Mars as a nurse or a circus director, who knows? I just have to learn to love this randomness of our life a bit better.

Baltic sea, archipelago, sunset




Fears, Nightmares and Heatwave

We are having a heatwave here in Belgium. The mercury is climbing up to 33 degrees during the days. That is making my brain melt and I am starting to look like a piece of butter someone forgot on the sofa for a day; I droop. Good thing the computer is still functioning and keeps me entertained with all sorts of stupidity.

Having my hand plastered has also given me time to get my melting brain working, as much as it can in these temperatures. So here you have it, a very useless blog post:

I have the habit of seeming fearless. You know, all that stuff of moving abroad, getting into new things and going alone into places, climbing mountains and what ever not. To be honest, I am often scared to bits, as I think every normal person is. The thing is, that the will to learn and curiosity are often so much stronger that I end up doing and going. It is not so much about not feeling the fears, it is about what you do with them.

One thing is the moving abroad part. I was scared. Oh so very scared. I was only moving to Belgium, not really a completely strange culture or environment. Could have been Saudi Arabia, you know, but still. I was afraid, irrationally, to stay in Finland, but at the same time I was scared of moving. So I ran through things. I think I thought that our relationship was either going to work out or fail, it didn’t matter if I moved sooner, or later. So, the heck with it, I chose sooner, didn’t want to waste time. Plus, there was less time to be petrified that way. All ended well, so risk worth taking. Now I am just scared of Belgian roads and traffic, the sissy that I am.

One of the other things is the buggy sport that we do. Almost every time I am a little nervous, if not scared, to climb in and drive. But often the sessions that make me poop my pants also give out the most. Those are the days I learn from. I think that is quite often the case when you hop on and do something even though you are afraid of doing it, no? You also may end up breaking an arm, but never mind that.

Sardinia, Hiking girl, Top
On top of the world, well, close enough.

Oumph, nightmares then. I don’t really sleep well in the smoldering heat, our house is one of those old ones, that turn into baking ovens at some point of summer, and so, nightmares come!

I am floating a little at the moment, when it comes to future. The only certain thing is that I need a new job. Some of you might remember how I was determined to go and study myself a psychology degree. Well, to do that, I need money, turns out, it is not completely cheap to study. Then there is the massive uncertainty, of where we are going to be within the next few years. Oh dear, living here, in Finland, somewhere in Europe or in the back bush of Australia, who knows. So, it is rather difficult for me to make the decision of where to start the studying. Time to start learning some long term planning, maybe… Waffle is being so great, being his loving self and standing by my side through all this, as I have not really been the best of girlfriends lately.

Related to future views, there was this occasion of me writing my CV and application letter in Finnish for the first time in maybe 3 years. That is a long time to live without using your mother tongue in an official context. So, I got my good old friend of a nightmare visiting me again. I think it stems mainly for my living abroad, outside of my native language. The nightmare drops me off to a situation where I am fast to realize I can’t speak any English anymore, nor Finnish. I am basically mute. It is an absolutely horrible feeling to wake up to, especially if it pares up with those days when your head jams and you are literally unable to produce a complete sentence in any language.

While writing this I had to pop into the shower twice, to cool down my feet. I destroyed the remnants of an ice cream bucket (oh, blobbery life, I am coming!) and shoveled down some very nice home made iced mint tea, mmm! So, how do you guys tolerate heat? Does you brain go for a holiday on the beach, or does it jump onto over drive of useless pondering?

I’ll continue melting and marathoning through Six feet under.