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Linda A. Janssen

Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

An Extended Stay

Posted by: Carole on Friday September 26, 2014 (14:25:33)   (1307 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

Let me be frank: repatriation is harder than you think. I’m learning firsthand that when it comes to repatriating, there are many hurdles to be faced: some are expected, others not. We’re busy building a new life in what is assumed to be a familiar place in which it’s easy to navigate supposedly known social, political and cultural climates.

Yet one of the most difficult aspects is dealing with the thought that our days of living in another country and culture may well be over. To some this may be welcome news, as we embrace the knowledge that we finally can put down roots, establish friendships and become part of our newfound community, all without the ticking clock of an expiration date lurking in the back of our mind.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Expatriwaits

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday May 27, 2014 (03:07:43)   (2940 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

The decision to repatriate was not a simple one, but after months of monitoring and evaluating and considering, it became the default choice. All arrows pointed toward it, bright lights illuminated it, sirens blared around it. You couldn’t miss it for the world.

Despite all the wondering, the second guessing, and the nagging ‘what ifs’, we had come around to what – for our family, at this time, in this set of circumstances – was the only option. We were choosing to return ‘home’.

The hard work didn’t stop there. Far from it. But once made, the decision to return to the US was actually rather freeing. No more contemplating whether; it all become a matter of when and how and what and where.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Appreciating The Dust – Repatriation To The USA

Posted by: Carole on Saturday February 01, 2014 (04:24:00)   (2478 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

We’ve experienced quite a bit of dust in our lives lately.
It’s not a symptom of the season or the result of an extreme weather pattern. No dust outside, certainly not in these frigid temperatures, snow and ice of a North American winter.

It isn’t because we’re slovenly housekeepers, leaving things be until dust bunnies collect in corners, cobwebs string themselves in intricate patterns among furniture and walls, and items picked up leave their full outlines where they’ve resided.

Nor is it due to our house undergoing renovation, the kitchen or a bathroom being upgraded, some architectural feature being changed, another room being added on.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Anatomy Of A Decision

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 12, 2013 (18:09:26)   (3046 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

I suppose I should have seen it coming, and perhaps in subconscious ways I did. Still, every time we took stock of the situation, we continued to come down on the side of ‘we’re staying’. That is, until late spring.

A few short months ago I was in the final stages of finishing my book, my husband was well established in his job, and our daughter was looking forward to the last two years of high school. Our son was happily settled into university, and would soon rejoin us for a few months in the Netherlands after semester final exams. Our summer plans focused primarily on spending quality time with my parents as my father entered into the final stage of terminal cancer.

Months earlier, we’d already settled the omnipresent expat question of Where next? as we welcomed the new year.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Spring In The Netherlands

Posted by: Carole on Thursday June 20, 2013 (02:38:33)   (2056 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

At first glance you wouldn’t notice anything odd about the title of this month’s column, until you realize that it’s June.

Not March. Not April. Not May.

It’s June, and Spring has only recently arrived here in the Netherlands.

Now I don’t know whether this is a result of global warming, a one-off year of wetter and colder weather than usual, or some sort of karmic retribution for collective bad deeds in Nederland.

Strike that last choice, considering others in places as disparate as Central and Eastern Europe, the UK, northern US and Canada have all been caterwauling in unison on this theme.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Traveling Tightrope

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday June 04, 2013 (02:57:43)   (1614 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

‘Oh how wonderful, think of all the traveling you can do!”

It’s one of the first responses expats get when we tell our friends and family we’re packing up and heading overseas. It’s certainly the chorus we heard over and over when we announced we were moving to the Netherlands.

Now I know some will scoff, buying into the stereotype of expats swanning around the globe, jet setters hopping from one popular hot spot to the next. The truth is more mundane in that many people who live abroad these days do so without benefit of a corporate, government or organizational stipend for annual or semi-annual home leave, let alone setting out to see the world. This means any travel is on their time and their dime.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Passing The Crown

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday May 01, 2013 (21:29:17)   (2636 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

In the family room, gathering up old newspapers for the recycling bin.

We tend to remember precisely where we were and what we were doing when we first hear momentous news. I was working my way through the half-read newspaper sections and outdated magazines littering the coffee table, when my husband appeared at the doorway.

‘It’s official. The Queen’s going to abdicate the throne. She announced it yesterday.’

Our eyes locked as we stared at each other, taking in the significance of the occasion.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Building My Global Tribe In The Netherlands

Posted by: Carole on Saturday February 23, 2013 (02:39:03)   (3711 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about friendship lately.

No one reason in particular. Or rather, there are several. It could be that I’m glad to be back in the Netherlands after being away for a couple of months. Nothing like absence to make the heart grow fonder. I was pretty fond of my friends here to begin with, so it’s probably more of making the heart grow desperate.

Perhaps it’s because I’m experiencing the perennial lament of expatriates everywhere: you look up one day and realize that half your circle of friends, acquaintances and POPIs (‘persons of potential interest’) are gone. They’ve headed off to new locales as a result of work assignments, empty nests or repatriation.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Stripping Down The Holidays

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday December 11, 2012 (03:00:08)   (3159 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

Early December rolls around and the enormity of both holiday expectations and the accompanying to-do list descends like the darkness shortening our winter days.

Christmas is right around the corner: presents must be purchased in person and online, even made by hand, if you're a far more talented and craftier type than me. Celebratory menus require planning, special ingredients hunted down, Christmas cookies baked and other favourite treats made.

Holiday cards need to be sent, wrapping paper and tapered candle stockpiles refreshed, wreaths hung and a mid-sized tree redolent in freshly cut pine scent selected and trundled home.    more ...


Columnists > Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

Autumn Equals Change

Posted by: Carole on Thursday November 01, 2012 (01:38:03)   (2153 Reads)

Linda A. Janssen

I must confess upfront that autumn has always been my favourite season.

I used to think that it was because of the softer sunlight, fields of green and gold, forests ablaze in vibrantly coloured leaves It might have been the weightier bracing air ripe with the mingling scents of pine cones, apple cider and smoke from wood fires.

Perhaps it was the sturdy root vegetables, pumpkins and hearty stews, or daylong hikes on well worn trails winding peacefully through woodlands and meadows. Then again, the sight and smell of abundant vineyards and orchards bursting with their luscious harvest also speak of autumn to me.

With cool days and evenings cooler still, fall weather is neither sweltering hot like summer, nor brutally frigid like winter. No bundling up in layers of clothing that impede movement or scarves that stifle conversation. Like Goldilocks' search, autumn ends up feeling 'just right'.    more ...