A New Journey * by Maureen

 

Hi everyone!

It's a warm Friday morning with sand filled clouds here in Dubai. The weather is changing and the desert 'Spring' is in the air, so I thought this is a good time for me to start sharing how we started our Moksi Lifestyle, 12 years ago.

If you are a new reader: Hi! I'm Maureen, grab a drink and read along what The Moksi Homes is about right{here}.

When I started thinking about this new website, I wanted to share what it's like for me, and the many women I've met over the years, to pack up and move to another country, with emphasis on the Home part. We are now a couple of weeks online and much has happened in my personal life, that has changed the planning of the posts for The Moksi Homes, the still to start newsletters, as well as posts for my own blog, Daydream Living. Luckily I had help from great blog friends who shared parts of their Moksi journeys (If you have missed them, check out the Guest Bloggers section).

It's funny how we started out, thinking this will be for 3 years. I never felt that I'm an expat. In my mind we were simply living abroad for a few years. And yes, that is the definition of an expatriate but I didn't want to label myself as one. And still to this day, I like it much better to capture everything 'expat' related into one word, Moksi! Being an expat sounded so serious and life changing and had a tone as in 'forever ' living abroad. Never in a million years had I thought that my children would be in international schools - I didn't even know they existed! Boy, I learned a lot, not only about other countries and cultures but also about myself.

You see, even though my parents moved from Surinam (South-America) to The Netherlands (Western Europe) in their early twenties, I honestly never thought that I would do the same thing with my own family. I was living happily with my Sweetheart and our first little girl in a modern maisonette-apartment in Amsterdam. We made that apartment our Home from day one. We bought it in 1997 and with help from both our families we removed a wall, painted walls and ceilings and laid a gorgeous wooden floor. I bought a lot of fabric at the famous Albert Cuyp market (if you are in Amsterdam have a look, it's a must see place) for the windows and my mother in-law made curtains from them. My dad (who was an electrician) did all the wire works and because everyone was so involved, it felt like ours right away. I was heavily pregnant but that did not stop me from painting the baby's room and packing up both our separate apartments, so we could start living in our first Home together. Come to think of it, in both my pregnancies I've moved house. First with a 6 month belly and ten years later with an 8 month belly - I was planning, packing, painting and puffing away!

Our first apartment was spacious and light and it had an upside down layout - you entered downstairs in the hallway leading to the 3 bedrooms and a family bathroom, with an open plan living area and kitchen upstairs. There were windows over the width of the apartment on the backside, making the most of the view. Being high above the stores of a small shopping center, the tram line in front of us and the motorway two minutes away, we had everything at our doorstep. We made many lovely memories there - not knowing at the time that they would carry me with their positive energy for a long time. These memories helped me when I was not so happy, trying to settle in a far away country. The most memorable moment in that apartment was the birth of our first baby being born in the bathroom (yep.... but that's another story).

We made that apartment our Home, we became a family there and we were happy to stay longer. We both love to travel, but we had no direct need for big changes at that time. We both worked, our daughter went to the daycare and to the grandparents and we enjoyed our hobbies. We had both our families and many friends in Amsterdam, life was good as it was. Fast forward 5 years later. A big work opportunity knocked at his door, we talked it through and decided to go for it. After all, if you never try, you will never know if it will work out or not, right? 

So within just 3 months we had to arrange everything for the big move. I now know that 3 months notice from a corporate company is considered long enough to arrange to move. From a family point of view it's a short period, because there are so many things to do. The company provided us with the necessary visa's, paper work and a moving company. We even had a visit from a moving consultant. I'd never heard of such a job! You can consult people how they should move? How hard can that be, right? Well as it turned out, not so easy at first as I thought. I will share more about this part of moving in a different post. 

We made lists, which were pretty long ones! Think: quitting my job, cancelling all things administrative related, (banks, city hall, tax authorities, insurances, etc.) sports, school or house related - we sold our apartment two weeks before we left. These are some of the bigger things. 

The smaller things had to be ticked of as well, like buying goodbye cupcakes for the school kids and decorating them with the American flag. They're all 4 years old, so proper goodbyes were in order. The "why is she leaving?" and "where is America?" questions went on and on. Moving is a whole different experience for children. In between the daily work and school routine, we were busy at home sorting out the house from unwanted items. To top this all, we said teary goodbye's a million times to family and friends, which was difficult and unreal. Before we knew it, we were waving goodbye to our belongings, packed safely into a big sea container, not to be seen for almost 2 months. I was so nervous about this way of transport. I honestly was praying that the boat would not sink with our stuff on it! A couple of days later we had a Goodbye party in our empty apartment. Those last days we camped at home. We borrowed different things from my in-laws like utensils, airbeds and towels because we wanted to stay till the very last day in our own home, knowing that we would be renting a place that wasn't ours.

I have learned from this move to stop looking at a house as The Only One where we can be happy. It's not about the house itself. It's about us as a family. We can live in any house but we have to make it our Home. By remembering all the good and bad moments and taking them all with us. Cherishing the good ones and learning from the bad ones. They are part of who we are as a person and a family. If you are thinking of starting your own Moksi way of living, you will need to mix your old memories, customs and even furniture with all the new things that will become part of your new life. Like I said before, that is what it's all about for us here at The Moksi Homes. Mixing and Matching.

Mixing our old life with our new life, while we are creating another Home away from Home.

That is our Moksi Lifestyle.

 

Maureen xx

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*Note: If you are following me on Instagram you probably already know that I'm tackling our many boxes in the storage room. In one of those boxes is my old computer with thousands of photo's and I'm hoping to find some photo's of the inside of our Amsterdam home, so I can share them here on the blog. But for now, I hope you enjoyed the outside of Amsterdam. As for us, we love to walk around like a tourist in our home city. Amsterdam, we always will love you!