We have moved countries many times now. In between the triangle that is the United Kingdom, Holland and Sweden we have looped around quite a few times.
A combination of not being able to make a decision, unexpected opportunity and fear of the unknown balanced with excitement for something completely different has kept us living like students/nomads for a good 5 years or so.
We are not the only ones. I have spoken to expats, people with mixed nationality marriages or just a large number of international friends who experience the same thing: the more you move around the more you appreciate bits and pieces of each place, instead of accepting and working with the environment that God provides you engage in what I call "Mental Cherry Picking".
Mental Cherry Picking. All the good bits of each country that you take to your heart and combine to an ideal world that can never be. "The ocean of the Solent in the south of England, the snowy winters in Sweden, the tranquil canals of Holland, the liqorice of Holland, the coolness of LA - not to mention the open top Mustangs -, the, the, the...
A fantasy world that cannot be. It took me some 40 years and a lot of moving around to finally get to crunch-time: "This is where we are staying, come hell or high water". I decided to accept that some fruit would only be eaten when on holiday and that I would enjoy the local fruit instead.
And just when you are getting some control over this new phenomenon, the "being in one place", the "make the best of what you have", the, as the Swedes say: "Gilla laget", something remarkable happens that reassures you that the choices you thought you had to make were not so black and white after all.
The week started my new job in Sweden, I found out I had a Dutch and an English colleague. The project I was due to work on was almost exactly the same as the project I left behind in Holland. It gets more interesting: the day I start a new position at a client site, I meet both my project managers.
One is married to a Dutch woman and has lived for 6 years in my little home town in the Netherlands, and we end up discussing local shops and people, as if we have known each other for years.
The other project manager actually lives 2km away from where I live out in the Swedish archipelago. Our kids go to the same school and we know the same people.
Considering that my client's offices are some 40km away on the other side of town, and that Holland is some 1600km away and even most of the Dutch don't know my home town at all, the instant relationship with both project managers through geographical commonality (sorry, I can't think of anything better to express this) is a remarkable coincidence.
Or is it?
Somehow, I am never far away from home even though I am.