While I have zero doubts that moving to Europe was the right decision to pursue one of our life-long dreams, it has not come without loss. Despite all the incredible new ways we’re experiencing day to day life in The Hague, I am feeling the loss of seeing people I love on a weekly or daily basis, the comfort of knowing a city so well, the fact that we could drive or take a quick flight to see family, and being able to work towards my personal goals as a studio artist. I am feeling the loss of my studio and all of my tools/resources that are now sitting in storage collecting dust. You might respond with, “why not just ship all that over asap?!”
Much easier said than done, my friends.
If you’ve ever moved abroad or have had thoughts to do so, you know that so much brain space is taken up by weighing the insurmountable risk that comes with leaving a life (a great life) to pursue what may be dare I say better? Now, before I get caught in a foot-in-mouth situation I mean living in a culture, political climate and all around environment that fosters a lifestyle aligning more with our values. Essentially, a better fit for us. What does that even mean? Well, one example would be that a part of the culture here is to speak multiple languages and seamlessly switch from one language to another as you converse with your diverse neighbors. We highly value global citizenship and want to cultivate this norm into our own lives and of course our future children’s lives! The act of moving to Europe itself was a way for us to live out our belief in global citizenship--you’ve got me, a South Korean citizen, Christopher, a U.S. citizen, and now the both of us have taken up our residence in The Netherlands (just got our official resident IDs this week!).
It’s been a huge milestone in our marriage. We celebrate that and are greateful that we’ve even had the opportunity to be here.
Circling back to the risk of moving abroad--it’s still something that we have on our minds. We’re not kids in college anymore that can just whimsically throw ourselves at an opportunity, and if it doesn’t work out we had nothing to lose anyway. We have a lot to lose. We both went to private colleges, and one of us (you know who) got their master's at yet another private institution--hello, mountain of student loans! In order for us to move abroad and make peace in this conversation of weighing every cost, we’ve put measures in place for the next few months. Our current apartment is a 3 month lease with an option to extend another 3 months in case we sense some red flags and need to pump the breaks on finding a more permanent home. During the first three months (or possibly even longer), Christopher and I have decided to not sign on a studio space. There’s a lot of networking and understanding the art culture here that I’ll be devoting my time to (between Dutch culture and language classes, of course).
It has only been a few weeks, but I am feeling so sad about not having the resources to continue my work at Modern Heirloom Studio. *Just a note for those who are not familiar with the work--the type of marbling work I do on textiles takes much more than a piece of canvas and a good set of paints* I know it’s only temporary and that it’ll challenge me as an artist to come back with more depth and perspective in my work, but that doesn’t mean I'm not devastated as I come to grips with that. I’m trying to channel all of that sad energy, which is a lot when you’re an INF(FFF)P into reaching out and learning what other local artists are up to (as well as glean from a few Dutch masters at Mauritshuis, Rijksmuseum, etc.) while getting to know this beautiful city that is our new home.
I shared earlier that we have a lot to lose, but on the flip side we truly believe we have so much to gain from this experience despite the unforeseen and expected hardships. Building a new life in a new place takes time. We're open and willing to put ourselves out there and learn as much as we can. Thanks for journeying along with us on this crazy ride!
Also, Christopher and I have been talking about how to best use our experience of moving abroad to help others that are seriously considering (or just extra curious!). If you do have any questions for us, please feel free to ask away here or in the comments!
Until next time,