Over the past week we came to the decision that this is the right move for us at this time and we are ready to come home, having accomplished more than we had originally planned. Our primary aim when moving here was to experience living and working in a different country. With this aim we considered three tiers of jobs: the first tier was working in a café or a job that was a means to support ourselves; the second tier was something administrative like a temp job in an office; tier 3 was a job in HR that was of a similar level to our previous experience in Canada. At no point did we think that there was a tier four option—a position that was in our respective fields and actually enhanced our careers and allowed us to develop fantastic experience in truly global organizations. The fact that we both found these tier four positions was beyond our expectations.
So why leave? Well, a co-worker said to me over lunch a couple of months ago that if you stay somewhere for more than two years, you will be there for five. Seems like a leap to go from two to five but I think there is some truth to that in my experience. Here’s why. The first year or so is just about growing your life and finding your place in the city. Everything is new and challenging – finding an apartment, making friends, finding work, opening a bank account, joining a gym, buying groceries in another language.
However, sometime between year one and two most of it fades away and all the basics are covered – the challenge is gone and real life sets in. Your life has grown beyond the basics of getting by, and you start to crave more – you want to buy a bigger television, maybe an iPhone, maybe even a house, maybe you just want to take a Zumba class in English. You have a small group of good friends but you think maybe you should get out there and make more. You start to feel disconnected from the city because you don’t know the language – maybe it’s time to learn? This is the moment where you have a choice – do you commit? Or do you walk away? People that make it past the two-year-mark stay for five because they made their decision – they committed. This was the choice we had, but in the end we looked back at the reasons we came and we knew in our guts that our path would lead us back to Vancouver sooner rather than later. So, sorry Amsterdam, your delicious cheese and picturesque canals just aren’t enough to get us commit. Vancouver gets that badge of honour.
A couple more blog posts to come before we retire this blog for good. And you thought it was retired already?