I’ve been missing from the blog for a very long time, and with good reason too. Since this is a navel-gazing forum for the most part, I shall now explain why. You are free to escape at any time. Just look for the fluorescent strips along the floor and they will guide you to the nearest exit (which may be behind you.)
So the reason I’ve been away is that I’ve had a considerably tough time adapting to my new life. It’s not homesickness, it’s mostly the horrifying Dutch job market, and the realization that there is very likely no place for a person of my ethnicity and professional background here in the current economic scenario. It has been very difficult to accept that I shall not be conventionally employed for the foreseeable future, that I will have to choose between travelling on a whim and taking expensive Dutch lessons, and that even if I learn Dutch, it will be time to leave before I can reach a level of proficiency that enables me to put it to use gainfully. All this left me quite sad, my self-confidence shattered to bits (and not only because my neighbors used to ask me in the lift if I was a cleaning lady when we first moved in,) and it did not help that my only friend was a cat who liked to rub her face on my leather shoes.
I did not know I was such a people person. My mother thinks I permanently have a cold, because I clear my throat each time I start speaking to her on chat. That’s because my voice kind of goes away because of not having been used for the last six hours, and I have to cough it back into existence! Those who know me will vouch for my constant jabbering and I kind of miss my nightly jaw pain from spewing nonstop nonsense. This silence is a huge change, and has taken some getting used to.
However, as fog envelops my new home, the internal fog has lifted. I have made peace with my new life, and now I have a routine that fills my day with purpose and fun. And on this difficult journey, I have had loads of help from people who I must thank for being there. So here goes:
1. The husband: Poor guy, for months he has come home battered from the pressures of a new job to a high-strung, agitated woman who is all set to unleash her frustration and verbal diarrhea on him. His patience has ensured that we shall be celebrating another wedding anniversary soon.
2. My office: I was surprised that the boyfriend/fiancé/husband had been at the same job for six-seven years when we met, and since then have been constantly messing with his head to make him keep changing jobs and evolving. At the same time, this September I complete 5 years of association with MY workplace, which continues to indulge me and my insanity. A big thanks to my boss and colleagues who fill my days with work and fun and gossip, and bank account with pocket money even though I am thousands of kilometres away.
3. My family: They all have lifestyles that make me exhausted at their very thought, but they still take time out to sit before my stupid face for an hour on Google video chat to make me feel that they are right there (and also glad that they are not actually right there. Evil smirk.)
4. The Internet: I have a noisy office environment all day in my soundproof house. Marathon sitcom streaming allows me to work among some of the wittiest fake people in the world. It feels like “I Am Legend” when I reach the end of a series, but then I just get reassigned to another team.
5. Ramkali: My tiny foldable second-hand cycle with one handbrake has gone from being a pain the arse (literally) to my almost-daily companion on long and pretty rides around the suburbs. She makes me feel I have wings, she gives me the exercise that really does improve one’s mood as the experts claim, and she does not care where I’m from and what language I speak. For all that, I love her, and thank her.
P.S.: I am not alone in my misery. Wise Ishani has more info here.