leaving Amsterdam

Amsterdam to Portland

It’s official. After nearly seven years in Amsterdam, I am heading home. The move has been in the works for a while now, but the tangible reality of it is really emotional. It hasn’t always been easy, but this little country has been good to me.

In July 2006, I arrived in the Netherlands with two suitcases in hand. It was my first time stepping foot in the country, enticed by a full scholarship for a two-year Master’s of Arts program. The first year was a rollercoaster as I adjusted to living in Europe, a mix of awe at the beauty of the city and confusion as I wondered where my place was in the world. I had lived in Seoul the year before and, although I loved my family, I didn’t want to live in America. A year into my studies, I wondered if Amsterdam was the place for me. At the height of wanderlust, I imagined moving next to Berlin or Paris. And then…

In September 2007, I met Marcus. A sweet German who had lived in Amsterdam for two years, played music, worked with technology, and is the epitome of stability and love. When I received my diploma in June 2008, I couldn’t imagine leaving him and decided to stay. I entered the Dutch workforce in August 2008, building my career and an amazing network.

Moving to a new apartment. German lessons. A job offer from World Press Photo. Traveling the world. An engagement. A wedding. And then it was 2013.

The two suitcases I arrived with in 2006 have evolved into five cubic meters to be packed in a transatlantic shipping container. I now have my MA degree, a solid professional career, friends from all parts of the world, and an amazing husband. And somehow, despite the distance, I am closer to my family than ever. I don’t mean to make it sound easy. There were moments of tears and frustration, times of loneliness and wondering if I would make it along the way. But I did.

A new life awaits in Portland and there are so many details to arrange before the end of February. But for now, I am going to enjoy these last days with the city that has brought so much to my life.

17 responses to “leaving Amsterdam

  1. Congratulations and best wishes as you prepare to leave Amsterdam and settle back into life in the USA.

  2. Thomas Headley

    Oregon welcomes both of you home with open arms. Candy and I will see you two soon!

  3. i am so, so thrilled for you. congratulations & remember, you are most definitely not leaving amsterdam “forever”. 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness! I’m so happy for you! I bet Brenna and the girls are thrilled! 🙂

  5. End of February! That’s so soon! I mean, I’m really happy for you! It was so nice getting to know you a bit while you were here!

    • Things moved surprisingly quickly and we decided just to go for it. It was great getting to know you too!

  6. Whoa! I just moved back to the States from Amsterdam to Portland in November. What a incredible coincidence!! Best of luck with your move. I have shared my whole journey on my blog and I’m looking forward to following yours! Maybe we’ll run into each other some time. xxx

    • A coincidence indeed! I just looked at your blog and your posts on travel and friendship are some of my main thoughts (fears?) at the moment. I’m looking forward to watching how someone a few steps ahead tackles it all. Best of luck and I hope we do run into each other in PDX!

  7. Congrats and Good luck on the move! You surely had a fabulous 7 years in Amsterdam and I am so happy we got the chance to meet up 🙂 I look forward to following your adventures back stateside! You can probably expect an email from me regarding transatlantic shipping soon 😉

    • Thanks so much Ashley! I am also happy we had the chance to meet in person and am so glad we can keep up through technology. Curious about your plans now! xo

  8. I’m sorry I didn’t keep in touch much after meeting last year, but I checked in on your blog occasionally. Exciting to be going back to Oregon! Good luck with the move and I hope adjusting to Portland goes well. – Marie

  9. Wow, I actually can’t believe that your return to the States came so quickly! Just last week I read a long article about Portland – great city which I would love to visit. It was so nice that we had the chance to meet in Amsterdam! I wish you all the best for your new start and look forward to reading many interesting posts.

    • Thank you so much Toni! I am also glad we had the chance to meet and I look forward to seeing where your work takes you next. Best wishes until we meet again!

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