When you are stuck between two worlds…

by mirunaandra

I have lived my whole life in Romania, my home-country and I have to admit that it was very difficult to cut my own roots and leave this beautiful and amazing country. But there I was, exactly one year ago, packing all my stuff and closing the door behind me which implicitly meant leaving behind 19 years written in memories, my parents and some very dear ones. Three days later I found myself in a new city, in a new apartment that I could hardly find my place in and staring at the window thinking: “Will I ever manage here?”.

After one year, I learnt to love my new place, the unique city of Rotterdam and I surrounded myself with people from cultures around the world. Now, every time I am away from the Netherlands after a few weeks I find myself missing this country. So far, it’s the experience that shaped me tremendously in a good way and I link lots of experiences that happened there to who I am now.

Romania was, is and always will be my home. No matter how far away I will be, I will always look back with a smile on my face and maybe some tears in the corner of my eye. I grew up here, and I have learnt social and moral principles of utmost value. I am extremely attached to places and people here and every time I dig into my memories from here it’s like opening a treasure that never fails to amaze me. The buses, the streets, the parks, the cafes, the people on the streets, the fuss of the city – they all fit perfectly like in a puzzle game…All of these are so deeply ingrained into my mind and spirit that it’s so difficult to put it in words. There is nothing more comforting  and refreshing than having your parents beside you and hugging them on every possible occasion. I feel safer, calmer and more relaxed when I am here. There is nothing that can bother me anymore, because what was bad in the past, for me it’s completely forgotten now. Romania has become my escape – my oasis of silence and peace.

On the other hand, Rotterdam is my adoptive home. It’s not as agitated as Bucharest, but in one year I hardly had a moment for my own self. I’ve learnt to love this way of living, of going from here to there. I like being busy and having lots of activities to take care of (imagine that now I feel guilty that I am having a 12-hours sleep per night!). I have met lovely people that exceeded my expectations and we’ve spent quality time together. I grew up as the person I wanted myself to be, but I cannot help but wonder how would things have been now if I  hadn’t chosen this path for myself. It’s still a mystery, though. When you are an expat, you sometimes have this feeling inside yourself that you are constantly missing something.  It happens to me – a strange loneliness that I cannot explain completely. I am happy with what I have achieved. Rotterdam made me a better self, more ambitious and offered me the possibility to learn how to live on my own. I am fully independent and responsible for my own self now. And that’s just amazing, for a person who was scared of her own shadow!

Yet, I think I will never be able to tell which place is better. I like having the best of both worlds and that’s what I am doing now! I am settled and grateful for this chance 🙂