Weekly Wonderings – September 8th, 2021

We have officially sold our house and moved out. We kept waiting for the closing date, and then early Monday morning, our broker told us it would be Wednesday if we wanted. We wanted it and spent the next 24 hours working harder than we have in a long time to pack, donate, and move things over to my sister’s place. This morning we went to the attorney’s office and signed the papers. We were in shock when we learned that because this was our primary residence and we’d sold no other houses this year, we would not be taxed on the sale. This is a life-changing experience because we doubled our money on the house. Because of the insane housing market, we sold it for 92% higher than we purchased.

The money was wired and is in our account now, and it is stunning to look at. We’ve never had this much money in our lives. It made me suddenly think about how everyone should feel financially secure in their lives like this. No one deserves that gut pang of anxiety over finances. Just this week, people are sharing on social media that they are getting letters from the government asking them to pay back thousands of dollars in unemployment insurance. These people needed that money to survive, and they simply don’t have the means to pay it back. The government should be sending people monthly stimulus checks until they have gotten control of COVID, but it’s become clear that the official stance is “kill ’em all and let God sort it out.” Sickening.

Here is this week’s Spotify playlist.

Things in America are just spiraling down the drain. Millions kicked off unemployment on Labor Day, of all things. Many of the same and more facing evictions as the freeze has been lifted. Texas is kicking off a reproductive rights nightmare as now Florida is poised to pen a similar bill. And then COVID just tearing through the Southeast as leaders turn the other way and mentally deranged mobs terrorize school boards at the mention of basic decency like masking up. And then the global climate collapse that feels completely unavoidable.

Well, I guess I should tell you where we are moving to. For the last couple of years, a friend of ours has been trying to get us to move to the Netherlands. She has grown up there, originally from the States. Her husband is a Dutch citizen, and they have been espousing the positives. Before anyone shares any thoughts or critiques, I am fully aware that the Netherlands is not perfect. Perfect places don’t exist. Wherever you have humans, you have problems of varying degrees. Nevertheless, I am confident the Netherlands is better than here, especially if I’m just talking about Tennessee.

We’ve spent the last year digging into Dutch culture. We’ve been using apps to just begin to learn Dutch. I’ve gone about 110 days straight doing lessons through DuoLingo. I have learned a lot, but I am nowhere close to being fluent. The language isn’t all that different from English; it’s the grammar in some longer sentences, especially with conjunctions, that trip me up. I like the frankness of the Dutch people, the culture that plans their social calendar in advance. I know there will be so many things to get used to, things we don’t anticipate yet and will surprise us when we arrive.

It certainly helps to have friends there, friends who have a large group of natives and expatriates that are already sounding eager to meet us and help in any way they can. At the start of the year, I submitted my paperwork to the Dutch government to have my teaching credentials filed and be placed in the Duo database; it’s essentially their method of approving foreign teachers. I plan on dipping my toes in as a sub with the English schools there, getting a lay of the land and learning how their pedagogy works and is different from the pretty awful American one I’ve worked under.

The Netherlands may not be our final stop in this journey. We want to explore and find the place that best fits us and closely matches our values. I want a place where I know that my wife will be safe and cared for no matter what happens to me. I know that place will never be here, in Tennessee, in America. I feel profoundly sad on one hand that leaving is even something we have to do. On the other hand, I also feel excited about this new adventure. Neither of us has ever been to Europe before. I’ve only ever traveled outside the U.S. to visit Canada and the Dominican Republic. At 40 years old, I am tired of just being in this one horrible place when there is a vast world and so many different, better places. I don’t know if we will ever find the home we fit the best in, but we’ll never know until we actually start looking.

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