Currently I’m in a good place, thanks to having more hours at work, but there have been some serious lows over the last few months. I guess most expats have similar experiences at one stage or another, especially those who leave to join a partner.
I thrive off challenges and am at my happiest when experiencing new things that life has to offer, however I didn’t fully realise the importance of having work, a routine, a purpose. As a Turner, I do enjoy my own company but I am also a Stacey, which means that I am a social creature and can’t deal with life being flat!
I also have a problem with the grass is greener attitude. I yearned to be with my partner for so long and I absolutely love spending my evenings and weekends with him but at times I have felt that I’d switched one life for another i.e. I had a job, a purpose, friends, a social life, but no partner. Now it’s the other way around.
Unemployed Mondays are the worst. I’m no longer technically unemployed, although with a 0 hours contract there are weeks when I don’t have any work. It’s these Mondays that are horrific as I feel like I’m not really living, in the sense that I’m not moving forward, I don’t have a purpose.
But “you’re so lucky!” I hear you say. I have freedom and time, no stress and can take life at my own leisurely pace, but managing this time effectively is difficult when you don’t really have the social network to enjoy it with nor one’s own income (there have been the occasional guilty purchases!). Having this for a short period of time is great, something that I haven’t had the chance to enjoy since the Year 9 summer holidays, but after a few months of not belonging to a community and not having a purpose other than cooking and cleaning I am ready for a change.
The power of parenting and its lasting effects are amazing. My mum has always been the strong, independent, determined type of woman and so I’ve grown up with the firm belief that if you want something, you go out and you get it. I want a job, so how haven’t I got one? Before moving to The Hague many of my friends told me that I’d find a job in no time, that I’d be snapped up particularly because of my language skills. However despite the fact that The Hague is full of international schools and organisations, the job market is fierce. My dream of working in The ICC, Europol or an international school became a fantasy after not hearing back for positions that I thought were a perfect fit for both the company and myself. I’ve been told that people with law degrees apply for basic admin jobs just so that they can get a foot in the door, so what chance do I have?
This is not the right mentality I know. Fortunately I’ve been getting some decent hours at one of the international schools as a cover teacher (a bonus being a languages teacher – there are always school trips to fill in for!), meaning that I’m forming new bonds, becoming part of a community again and getting back some purpose! The other Fat Lady (you know, from the 2 Fat Ladies Euro Tour) once said that the key to happiness is having a balance of purpose and pleasure and I believe her (she has a 1st degree in Psychology).
And so here I am. It’s the beginning of the Easter holidays and I don’t know when I will next be in work, but I have a better outlook now meaning that I will be using my time more wisely and effectively (namely learning Dutch, more blogging and decorating the apartment) whilst I wait for the right position to become available. Now that I’ve got my own foot in a door, who knows what’s around the corner? When I find out, I’ll be ready to hunt it down just as fervently as a child on an Easter egg hunt.