Wanty the Hobogoblin
Tiel Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
At first, when you announce it at home to family, friends, and even strangers, it all sounds soo glamorous. "I'm moving to Europe." Especially from the American stand point it does. For those of you who may not know, Americans are mostly seperated from the rest of the world. Yes, we have Canada close by, and Mexico too. But let's be honest, we think of both of those countries as extensions of our own. Please don't think I'm being arrogant; hear me out.
Our economies are very tightly stuck together. Up until this year you didn't even need a passport to get into or out of Canada. Mexican immigrants can pretty much come and go as they please at this point and politicians are pushing for laws to protect them here. As for world news, we do get it on a daily basis, but thats the world from someone's point of view. Imagine if the rest of world thought all Americans were like the people they see on Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Cops. Yeah, that's how skewed our worldly perception is. And sadly, some people do think that's how all Americans are.
To get an idea of where I'm coming from, we need to go farther back than my announcement. It's every little girl's dream to fall in love with a prince. From my sheltered middle-class American roots, I thought that a good looking, kind, European man who loves you is pretty much as close as it's gonna get. So when I announced I was moving to the Netherlands with my wonderful Dutch boyfriend, let's call him Hans, and his family to live on their estate in a 150 year old house next to a river surrounded by lakes, beaches, and wildlife that includes orchards and horses, it sounded perfect to everyone, especially me...
While the house is everything I thought it would be and more, and the boyfriend is everything I said he is, moving to the Netherlands has been no joyride to Fantasy Land. It's more like a climb to the top of a vertical stone wall. I know of a number of people leave their home every day in search of their own dream. My dream isn't the prince. Its Europe. My wildest ambition is to own it, my most realistic is just to be here independently and I'll take anything in between. Until then, all I have is the climb towards what I want.
Let me get my first and most obvious obstacle off my chest and out of the way. The language barrier. I wanted to move to the Netherlands before I ever met Hans. The Dutch people have a fantastic sense of hospitality, 80% speak some English, it is located centrally enough for me in Europe, and it has a great economy with many international companies operating there which bring in people from all over the world, including many from the U.S. It really is the perfect place to get started, especially if like me, you don't speak any other languages. In larger cities, the language barrier isn't a huge factor. In the farmlands, where I live now, it is worse than the elephant in the room no one is supposed to talk about.
Even after it has been widely discussed among everyone, it's still there. It won't ever go away. It watches me make breakfast with food that have labels I can't read, and laughs as I order lunch, because I have little to no idea what's really going to be brought to me. It's there from the first to what feels like the hundredth time some one asks what I want to drink each day because I don't know what they have or how to ask. It embarasses me as I fail to walk through public doorways because I can't seem to remember which word means push and which means pull. And it just gets bigger ever time I stand in a room full people that I don't know, I can't because I can't talk to them. So I'm by myself, trapped inside my own head most of the day even when I am surrounded by other people. Most of my vacations from my skull come from Hans who speaks good enough English that we can understand each other, but is broken enough that he still has a very sexy accent. However, his lack of assistance with this issue have led us to fight. I often fear that I will smother him and at the same time become dependent on him because of my lack of linguistic skills.
In case you are reading this and thinking either that I did this to myself (true), or that I need to pony up and learn the language already (also true), I know and you're right. In my stubborness I created my own state of frustration because I would not wait to get to what I wanted in a more practical manner when I was more prepared. But these issues I am having are what I am willing to go through for my dreams. This is what I'll do for the life I want. Not that that's going to stop me from bitching about the rest of my not so glamorous attempt to move to Europe from time to time.
I try not to get too mushy, too preachy, or too mean, but here is a quote that I found about wanting something, anything. I helps remind me that wanting things for yourself isn't always bad, like culture sometimes makes us think it is.
Wanty is the hobogoblin who scrambles the signals so that wanting becomes a bad thing instead of a way to move forward. His cohorts are guilt and denial; his ace up the sleeve is fear of rejection. Wanty should not be confused with pure want. Pure want is the essence of living. Freedom to want is power steering, your trump card. It's what enables us to scan new constellations, fall in love or resolve to leave, find our way home. What you want isn't merely what you get. It's where you'll be. It's who you'll be. - Ellen Tich