I don’t think I did…
Most probably I didn’t tell you, I was too busy trying to put a puzzle together with pieces of my old life and my new life all mingled together. At first it didn’t look like something. It looked like nothing. And I felt everything was shaking under my feet. But when it was shaking the puzzle pieces were slowly vibrating and moving, some were falling, and some were magically clicking together.
They said it very well, you make plans, and god laughs.
To recap: I had quit my life, sold
all most of my belongings, bought a ticket to Bali, and left then had to reconsider. See, for many this would have been deceiving, but I was on such a moment of my life that I took it with great calm. I sat down, and I took a really, really, really, deep breath. And I asked myself: what do I WANT.
I was leaving on a Wednesday. One week before that I had gone in for a job interview during which I got offered a temporary job at my old office (not the one I quit recently but the one before). I didn’t sleep for 3 days. It was a job I could do, 4 days a week, for a fair amount of money, in a place I know, with people I like. But that didn’t go with the plan. And yet I couldn’t reject the offer straight away. You must think, why did you even go to the interview in the first place, it doesn’t really matter (I have a thing for job interviews and this one was a special one). I promised to give an answer by Friday. On Friday I emailed saying I would need a little bit more time. I had no idea. I didn’t sleep for another 3 nights. And then it happened. It was Monday morning. I had to do some admin and I came across a paper that has been in my drawers for over 2 years. The request I made in 2011 for Belgian nationality. Nothing had happened in all this time. And that morning I looked at the paper, and I took the phone, dialled a number, gave my file ID and a man with the most uninterested voice ever told me: your file will be going in for evaluation in January. And you will have an answer in May 2014.
I sat back, I hung up, and I took many deep breaths. Everything I have been waiting for, was about to happen, when I had just let go. And now I was about to be gone. With my life in a suitcase. And so many things started rushing through my head. Because if I become Belgian, I must be on Belgian territory, so I cannot be a traveller like I wanted, because I cannot go home and live in the jungle (at least right away). Because if I leave for good I won’t become Belgian. Do I still want to become Belgian? Is it ok if I say screw being Belgian! and forget about it? Will I be able to live without ever knowing what happened?
I took my computer and I wrote an e-mail, accepting the job starting March 2014, because I HAD, to come back.
And then I realised that as much as I would like Indonesia, I wouldn’t be able to stay. I made a decision, for a greater good. I made a conscious choice, of coming back for something I believe I deserve, and for something I had worked hard for, something that in some bizarre way feels like belongs to me and had given up on. I do not know if the country will grant me the nationality and the passport, I do not know if I will stay here or where I will be next or for how long, with or without Belgian nationality, but right now I am at peace, because finally I will know, and I have been so lucky, to go through the process of letting go, and feeling the freedom, and having a second chance to reconsider (in case I wouldn’t like the freedom and I wanted to go back to my project manager job and my laptop 14 hour days).
When I came back from Indonesia I was happy to know that coming back is a chance for me to confirm that my previous choices were the right ones. I want to go and live by the water, in a warmer place, where I can be barefoot and my closet is composed of mismatched bikinis and old sarongs that don’t dry anymore because they are too salty from sea water. I want to hear the birds sing, and I want to be amazed every second of the day, with the gifts that nature gives me. I have so many things to post about diving and yoga, and they will start flowing into my keyboard when I am ready. But right now, I am in a city that I love, and that loves me back in a strange way, and has given me many chances. I am in Brussels, where I’ve lived since 2005, where I came with 22 years, no money, no connections, no job, no house. I have received everything I ever hoped for, and I have let all that go, and I have been lucky, to have yet another chance.
So maybe it’s the last chance. But this chance, I am taking. And my plans continue to shake and click, like a puzzle.
Quitting is scary. But coming back is scarier. Because I have to “undo” what I did and stand by it, and embrace it, and face the world and say: yes, I came back and it’s allright. It makes sense in my heart. And it will last as long as it has to last. And I will be ok. Actually, more than ok!