Monday, February 8th, 2016

balance in saying “lets go” and starting a new adventure

My family and I took a huge leap 4 years ago and moved from South Africa to the U.S. and it was the best decision we ever made.  Has the thought crossed your mind?  Finding a job in another country, continuing your education etc.  A friend of mine made the decision as well and moved to the Netherlands.  Here is her story of adventure.

Lee-Ann’s hubby woke up one morning before his 39th birthday and said, “I want to go and do a full time MBA (in the Netherlands)”.  The adventurous Lee-Ann smiled and said “Let’s go!”

And so their new life began and yes they did have challenges especially with a 4 year old daughter and new born son in tow.  Her daughter had to go to an all Dutch school and she had never spoken Dutch before.  As a mom, Lee-Ann worried about her but as most kids do she adapted and in 6 months was fluent in Dutch.  This amazing mom has been able to work from home and has taken to the local culture of cycling everywhere.  Yes, she picks up the kids on her bike and then does the normal home stuff we all do – dinner etc.

While it sounds all fantastic, Lee-Ann does point out that moving to a new country with little ones is not for sissies.  She was also used to the comforts of life in South Africa, having someone to help with the cooking, cleaning and childcare.   You have to rely on others and to ask for help.  I have to agree with Lee-Ann on this, my survival in Texas was mainly due to the amazing friends and support system I found.  Let’s also not forget missing the beautiful South African weather!  Finding balance is very much about asking for help when you need it.

Lee-Ann and her family have flourished and she has met amazing people in what she calls the “mellow city of Amsterdam”.  Parents around her take time to find balance and even CEO’s take a “Papa dag” – a day off to spend time being a dad.

The advice Lee-Ann would give another mom thinking of taking the leap “Just do it! I have been in and out of airports with two small children.  And look, I am no superwoman.  Kids are incredibly adaptable and the life-skills you give them through travel are invaluable.  This adventure has opened many new doors for us and I am so grateful!”

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