On the Move… Again

Do you ever go online and look at houses?  Or do a drive by through a neighborhood that you really like?  Maybe we’re just strange that way but it’s something we totally do. Especially when we are on vacation.  On our trip to Portugal this spring, we actually got as far as googling international schools in the area.  It’s all about fantasizing about a different life. Not necessarily better, just different. Continue reading

Done

Let it go!  Let it go!  Can’t hold it back anymore!  It’s time folks.  Time to let it go.  You don’t want to hear me sing it, trust me.  But keep up with all this political hate talk and I might just do it.  It’s my alternative to saying lalalalalala and blocking my ears as I do my best to ignore it all.  Or maybe I’ll just put my head under the blankets and pretend it’s not happening.  Avoidance is good.  It could work.

Because I’m done.  I’m so incredibly done with this election process.  It has been a loooong year.  I had hoped with yesterday’s results that we’d finally be able to move on, but it seems that we can’t.  Would things have been different if Hillary had won?  Somehow, I don’t think so.  I’m still seeing all this hate and division out there and I suspect we are really just getting started.  It’s in the media, on social media and every where I turn.  Yes, I’m disappointed like so many out there, but had the decision been reversed, you would have had a different group equally disappointed.  There was always going to be a winner and a loser in this election.

I’m angry about yesterday’s election.  It’s not about the results, though sure I wish it had turned out differently.  But that’s not why I’m angry.  I’m angry about what this entire campaign has done to my country.  A country that has become so divided it no longer looks like home to me.  This election season was a tragic circus and it entertained us in all the wrong ways.  And while I didn’t voice my opinion through my blog or social media, I’m ashamed to say that I allowed myself to be entertained by the likes of TV personalities mocking the candidates, memes, etc.  But no more.

I feel like it’s PTSD, but after close to 2 years of this battle for the president, I’m done. I’m worn out.  I truly cannot take any more.  Is it a coping mechanism?  The stages of grief? Yesterday was disbelief.  Today it’s anger.  And I’ve found that I’m snapping at the seams. Lashing out at the people around me.  In the last 12 hours I’ve managed to snap at 3 people on my Facebook that made comments I didn’t agree with.

These people have made plenty of comments over the last year that I’ve chosen to ignore. I’ve ignored it because it is their freedom of speech that allows them to post whatever they want whether I agree to it or not.  It is their choice.  No one forces people to respond.  But for some reason, I snapped and felt the need to comment.  I’m just done with holding back.  And it makes me feel like such an ugly person that I have risen to the bait.  It also felt good to get it off my chest.  However, understand this.  I made my comments respectfully.  There was no name calling.  There was no attacking the other party.  It was agreeing to disagree.  Therein lies the issue that I think has been prevelent during this entire campaign by millions of people – we’ve lost our respect, compassion and humanity when it comes to how we interact with our fellow Americans. We’ve forgotten what it means to have a conversation and instead go on the attack when our opinion is questioned.

So why did I need to do it now?  It’s like the hate and anger around me are contagious.  I’m so sick and tired of the hate.  On both sides. The constant attacks via social media and the traditional media.  It’s so rare that I see something on my social media that makes me smile these days (other than pictures of puppies, how can you not smile at puppies?).  It’s just bullshit attack after attack – most of which isn’t even valid truths.  The amount of made up information I’ve seen in the last year blows me away.  Do we no longer check the sources of our information either?  We’ve turned against each other.  Friends and family alike – on different sides, no longer agreeing to disagree, but instead, reacting in a fiercely negative way.

I’m angry. I’ve got a bitter taste in my mouth that isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I’m angry that our country is divided.  That there is so much hatred, distrust and more that has been buried under the surface that it has come to this.

We are a nation in pain.  And it shows.

I’m tired of being angry.  I’m tired of the constant goading, gloating, antagonizing and in your face kinds of actions and words.  On both sides.  I get that some of  you are happy your candidate won.  But do you need to throw it in our faces?  And I get that we lost, but do we need to attack our friends and family who are happy with the results?

What I want is for it to stop.  What I want is for this process to be over so we can begin to heal.  I thought that with the election, we would start this process, but instead, it seems to me that the anger is only intensifying and that the divide is so great that it feels impossible to fix.  But it’s not.  Like your votes, every one counts.  It is not impossible to fix our country.  It starts with each one of you.  Think before you type.  Do your words hurt? Are they gloating?  Didn’t your parents ever teach you that bragging is bad manners?  Will someone you love be offended by what you say?  Don’t you remember the words of your mother – if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all?  Well, she was a wise woman and these are words we all need to live by.

I don’t want my children to grow up in a world filled with hate.  It’s not just the US either. It’s all over these days.  Don’t think that because we live in Europe, we are immune to the hate.  We see it.  We are exposed to it the same way you are at home.  However, it’s our choice to be exposed to the hate.  And so maybe it’s time to shut it off and take a break.  I can’t continue to look at my social media feeds and see the hate and anger and hold back. I’m doing the adult thing and walking away.  After this post, there will be nothing more political on my newsfeed.  I will not be liking or commenting on others political posts. If necessary, I’ll walk away from social media all together if it means relieving myself of the angst I see when I login.

Don’t we want better for ourselves and our children?  Aren’t we better than this?  Don’t you want to go back to the days before this campaign?  When life was “simpler”?

Let’s just keep this in mind. The sun will continue to rise.  We will continue to fight for our nation.  These are growing pains.  No country is perfect and ours is showing its battle scars right now.  We have a long way to go but together, unified, we can do this.  Take the time to think first, act later – be kind to others.  Everyone is hurting right now.  We will find ways to move past this and come out of it stronger, better.  And this too shall pass.

With love,

Julie

NaNoWriMo 2016

After years and years of saying I want to write a book, I’ve decided to take the leap.  Last year, I heard of this “competition” called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). After 7 years of blogging, I’m not sure why I’d never heard of it before, but once I did, I was intrigued.  It’s a competition of sorts, but more than anything, it’s a motivator. Continue reading

A.U.B.

Everywhere you see the letters A.U.B posted around here.  At the airport.  On the credit card machine at the grocery store.  In signs.  For the longest time, I didn’t think much of it.  Nor did I really care.  Until I figured out what it meant – I think we were at least a year or more into our time here.  It was yet another light dawns on marble head kind of moment.

It stands for alstublieft.  So what does that mean?  It means “please” or “here you are/go”. And it makes so much sense that I would see this abbreviated version at the ATM or in stores where there might not be space to write the entire word (the Dutch like really long words).  So now I know (and as we all know, “knowing is half the battle”) and hence, now you know that when you see AUB, it means please!

Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

Live for the NOW

In one of my last posts, I mentioned that it’s time to start living for the now.  The expat life is filled with a lot of uncertainty and often times (ok, all the time) we are really only about to plan our lives one year at a time.  We have no 5 year plan, much less a 10 year plan.  We have no ties to anywhere at this point beyond where we are in this moment.  And often times, it makes it difficult to make even the simplest decisions because we don’t know where we will be in a year’s time.  It’s also hard to define what is home.  Is it where you lay your head?  Where you are from?  Where you lived most recently?

Continue reading

A (re) Introduction to The Expat Chronicles

I’m sure some of you are wondering, “why in the world is she reintroducing her blog?”, especially after 7 years of writing.  It’s simple really. I’m taking a blogging course and each day I’m given an assignment to refine and update my skill set when it comes to blogging. Today’s assignment – introduce yourself and your blog.  It’s harder than it seems!  So here goes!   Continue reading