At the time I had different reasons for making such a decision, part of it was a curiosity to another world and another life, part of it was this odd urge to be on my own and create something that was mine, and a smaller part of it was for college.
Arriving in Amsterdam definitely brought with it an element of major culture shock. This big city life which I knew very little about was daunting. The hardest part about leaving home was without a doubt leaving my family. We were, and still are, so incredibly close. It is through my family that I know how to Love and be loved, it is through my family that I have learned what loyalty means. It is through my family that I know what true honesty is. My tribe has without a doubt shaped who I am, so after my father went back to Aruba after spending a month in Amsterdam helping me set up and get settled in, reality kicked in, hard. That nest of people and love which was always there, even to the point of annoyance at times, wasn’t there anymore. I had to start doing this thing on my own, and I was terrified.
Sticking with it
It didn’t take too long for me to start exploring this city full of culture, and energy and freedom. I fell in love with Amsterdam. This crazy city was a far cry from the small island life. It was like being thrown into the deep end, and having no other choice but to get to know yourself, connect with your environment, and grow. It truly was anything but easy. I missed my family and my home most of all, to the point that I almost moved back, twice.
I remember during those times my parents reminding me that I could come back home at any time, the next day even and that whatever I left behind we would deal with afterward, but I had to give it a fair shot and be sure about my decision. The love and support I continued to receive from my family despite being far away, never disappointed. I knew I could always go back home, and they assured me they would be there with open arms to receive me. The option of going back home was made so easy and accessible that I thought, “you know what? I’m gonna give it one more shot.” Within months after making that decision, I started experiencing Amsterdam in a completely different way, with a group of completely different people. This would be the start of my true love for the city.
Grounding & reconnecting
Since making that decision four years ago, I have made it a point to visit home at least once a year (Aruba is a far way from Amsterdam, getting swept up in other travels has proven to make it quite the challenge). Every time I come back home, I am confronted with how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve grown. I go back home, and I am reminded of the life I came from in Aruba, compared to the life I created for myself in Amsterdam.
It is always without a doubt, no matter how often I’ve been back and forth, an emotional rollercoaster. When I’m back home, reunited with my family, I grow a little more, I reconnect with my environment and reground myself with my roots. It’s almost like a wake-up call, or cleanse. A reminder of who I am and how I’ve grown.
I write this as I just returned from a month of being home in Aruba, it has been one of the best trips back home so far. So much has changed and developed in four years. We’ve come so far as family, every one of us changed. I’m 23 now, I’ve seen and experienced things I never even thought of before I left home, bonding with my family in a different way than before. Experiencing my island in a way I had not experienced it before. Soaking it all in, fully aware and present. Reconnecting, regrounding in a beautiful and powerful way. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, but that’s so okay, making peace with that fact, is what creates my peace.
Leaving home is, as always, incredibly emotional and hard. Shifting back from one world to the other is, and always will be, an intense and emotionally charged experience, never without tears. I remain connected with both my family and my island, even when not physically there. Today’s technology makes that so beautifully easy and simple, that I am incredibly grateful for it. I look forward to my next trip back home, to the next moment of confrontation and confirmation of the changes and growth yet to come, to the next moment of reconnecting with the world I’m from.
I cannot begin to express how grateful and full of love I am that I have the opportunity to live in a city like Amsterdam, and always go back to my home, to my family on a tiny speck in the Caribbean sea called Aruba. Who knows where I might end up in the years to come, or where my growth will lead me. One thing I do know is that I will always continue to return home!
Love & Light,