Still, I will always be a buitenlander, a foreigner.
|My wife and daughter, buitenlanders like me|
I am fortunate to have a lovely family, new friends, and a good job, so this helps. The feelings I have are quite normal for expats. All of us go through difficult adjustment periods at times and I'm fortunately used to this feeling. Still, as I walked back to our new flat, I saw a policeman riding a scooter along a canal, a gun at his hip to protect against the virtually non-existent crime (compared to the US), but not wearing a helmet to protect against the very real possibility of an accident. He looks odd to me, but I am the buitenlander, not him.
Years from now, when we retire, we hope to have a place in the south of France, near the Mediterranean. Leïla, despite being French, may find herself an étranger in her own country, having lived so many years abroad. She's already finding herself, at times, speaking French with English grammar. Heck, I couldn't move back to the US without finding myself out of sorts. Despite my passport, I'm no longer quite American, but then, I don't know what to call myself other than "human". I don't mind as it's given me a lovely life, but sometimes I wonder what "home" means.