It’s already getting dark when I look up from my computer. The red trees look so bright against the dark clouds. The mountains in the distance are barely visible because of the rain. I can’t suppress a smile. I am a lucky person to be here.

After months of preparation, planning, and hard work, I managed to move here to Portland, Oregon on a special 6-month B1/B2 visa. Exactly one year ago I visited a friend in Portland. I fell in love instantly with nature. They always say that in America everything is bigger, better, and more exaggerated. Normally I don’t like that, but I’ll make an exception for autumn. I’ve never seen such a beautiful as autumn in Portland. I keep making photos of the bright red and bright yellow trees, the misty mountains, and the deserted trails. Even though a photo never reflects reality. You just have to see this with your own eyes.

I close my laptop and see that it is already after midnight in the Netherlands. No one is awake anymore to chat with. If they want to chat with me, I’m already asleep. It’s a challenge to find the right time to keep in touch with the people I left behind. Fortunately, I have made new friendships here in Portland. Two Dutch women married an American. Apart from the fact that I can just speak Dutch again, they understand my culture shock and the problems I run into like no other. How wonderful is that to hear the recognition?

It’s really great, this opportunity, and I’m enjoying it to the fullest, but what you often don’t hear about moving to another country is also the downside of being away for so long. No place of your own, missing people at home, getting used to a new culture, new environment. New products in the supermarket. New money. New rules. Literally finding my way again (thank God for Google maps!)

I still have four months to go before I have to go home. Every moment, every view, the smell in the forest, the silence in the mountains, I try to hold on to it as best I can for when I get home, because I already know I’m going to miss this too, just as much like I miss home now. Actually, I feel a bit between two worlds. If I’m here, I miss there and if I’m there, I miss here. I’m sure it will eventually fall into place. For now, I stare outside as the sun slowly sets, turning the trees a burning red, and let out a deep sigh. Pure luck!


*The photos below were taken in the Portland area and on a road trip from Portland through LA to Phoenix, Mexico, back to Phoenix, Sequoia park, and then back to Portland.

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