When my husband heard of the vacancy last May, a long and hard process started. We had to decide whether or not we were going to leave our lives here behind and move back home.

The irony of the matter was that when we moved here 10 years ago, we had agreed we wouldn’t stay here longer than 3 years. We were planning to make a small career hop and then hop back home. Well, things hardly ever work out the way you’ve planned them and so, abiding by that law of nature, our attempts to go back home failed over and over again. That sucked at the time because it was hard feeling at home here. But five or six years ago, after the last let down, we decided we would stop trying to go back and be home here. That was pretty tough on me because the sea is in every one of my cells and living here meant that I’d have to give up the dream of living by the sea again. I missed the water, the cooler climate, the salty air, the wind, the storms…I missed having a place to calm down as much as the sea always did for me.

But, from then on we started settling in. It was hard work. It took us years to gather a social circle. But we managed very well. And only last spring, I suddenly realized that after almost 10 years I felt more home here than back home. We had discovered so many cool things about our town and its surroundings. And we had such lovely people around us. We thought we would stay here and never move back again.

Little did we know!

So when that vacancy passed by, it was almost like a blow in the face. Wow! Super job! But all the way home! Giving up the life that had taken us 10 years to build up! Giving up our lovely house and my wonderful attic studio! My friends! My illustration class! My Art Journalling classes!

A long deliberation process started. A rollercoaster of emotions, thoughts, twists, differences, second thoughts, doubts, worries, insecurities…our newly founded basis seemed to have become detached. We were already in “the in-between”. And as you get on in that process, you think and feel so much that it numbs you. So then I tried drawing…to conjur up any sound thoughts and feelings. One of the drawings I made, was a map of Zeeland in which I tried to capture some memories from the past…

And although it’s not much from an artistic point of view, it uncoiled all the mixed emotions and thoughts and allowed some warm feelings for my home ground to surface.

But then it wasn’t sure by far that my husband would be hired, so a long period of insecurity followed. And even though the sea lured again, there were so many moments where I decided I would stop the entire enterprise and stay here. But every time something small would happen that would make me doubt that decision. The tiniest of things…like hearing a song from a band from my home town on the radio.

My town…my homeland…my sea…

Well, after I can’t tell you how much deliberation, and after a long process my husband got to be the favorite candidate. Yikes! It was decision time now. We had to be sure. My husband was. He was totally in sync with his emotions and thoughts. He was even sure for me! But I wasn’t. Such a huge step…risks…a lot of hassle selling the house and moving…did I want to do this and go back home? I surely didn’t want to go back under my parents’ wings! I was all grown-up now and I preferred to keep it that way! Such a challenge! But when more and more signs came by, I was (sort of) convinced we had to take this chance. And we did.

It wasn’t until this afternoon when I was Googling Earth…or rather Zeeland, and when I clicked a tun of photos of my homeland when the desire to go back home suddenly struck me like a knife! All the old longing came back in a huge rush. The sea! I want to be by the sea! I want to take my children to the sea, teach them to search for crabs, to collect mussels and clams and cook them, to jump the right waves, to swim in mild currents, to watch storms coming, to hold on to street lights when the storm is really rough. I want to walk my dogs along the sea every day and show my children the wonderful nature that’s there. And I want to have the sea waiting for me patiently everytime I feel really rotten. The sea makes my heart and head light and clear.

And after a good sob that tension of not being sure whether I was doing the right thing was all gone. We’re doing the right thing. And after much deliberation, this afternoon has made really clear for us where we want to settle down.

But before I get into that, we have to get our hands dirty to make this house really wonderful for potential buyers and show them all its niceties. Because this is a really  nice house. So, we’re clearing out and adding final touches to put that message across really clearly.

It’s going to be an exciting time. But we’re looking forward to it!