I Over-Romanticized What it Would be Like Coming Back to the U.S.

3 things I thought I missed, and why I was wrong.

Delaney Jaye


Image by the author at delaneyjaye.com

I way over-romanticized what it would be like coming back to the U.S.

For context, I’m an American who has lived in the Netherlands for the past several years with my husband and dog. To add further context, we’re all three American, so the Netherlands wasn’t a move of obligation to a spouse/family or anything — just a place we tried and fell in love with.

Anyway — no matter how happy you are abroad, eventually you’ll sense a tiny little goblin voice that pops into the back of your head.

The goblin that’s watching your parents age, your nieces and nephews grow up, your friends move into new stages of life — all from a distance.

That little voice says, “Are you really happy here?”

It tries to remind you of all of the things you’re missing.

The life you once had.

So you start to question things. “Am I actually happy here? Should I go back?”

Despite the questioning, I couldn’t have imagined moving back to the U.S. — at least not for a while. I knew that voice wasn’t to be trusted.

But life had other plans.

So here I am, back in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. For the better or worse of it, I now get to put that little voice to the test.

3 things that little goblin told me I missed

Besides the obvious things like friends and family, there were other things that little voice convinced me I missed. Now that I’ve been back in the U.S. for a while, I can see the forest for the trees and realize that I didn’t actually miss them at all.

Let me explain.

Freedom of Movement

One of the things I gave up in the move to the Netherlands was the right to drive. After 6 months of living in the Netherlands, my American driver’s license was no longer valid.

I needed to complete the Dutch training and driving exams or stop driving in Europe altogether.