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My Friday visit our Stockholm office happened to coincide with the last day of a colleague I’d been working with over the last year. She had come on to cover for another who was on maternity leave and always knew her time was temporary. Near the end she had hoped they would find a place for her to stay on but it wasn’t to be. After our meetings finished, the team gathered together to say goodbye, wish her well and eat cake. Though she gave her speech in Swedish and I didn’t understand a word other than “tack” (thank you), the tears and the sentiment came through clearly.

As I observed the scene I put myself in her shoes and for the first time was conscious of how difficult it would be to say goodbye to my colleagues, the people I’ve spent so much time with these last two years, should I decide not to renew my contract. After all, it’s not like I’m deciding between this job and another next door. It’s 1) stay here with my current job, or 2) move 5,000 miles back to the US to…do something…somewhere…I hope. Putting an ocean between us makes it a bit more difficult to get together for lunch here and there.

On a similarly somber note, I sat next to a girl on the return flight who was making her way back to the states after her first trip to Europe. She seemed to get a bit teary as we landed in Amsterdam. I imagined that she was sad to see her holiday come to a close, to leave the people and memories of the past few weeks or months behind. I put myself in her shoes and thought about what it would be like to leave. It’s been hard enough getting on a plane from the US to Europe, saying goodbye to family and friends but knowing I’d be back again in a few months. To think about leaving Amsterdam with no planned return, saying goodbye to everyone and everything I know here indefinitely, that’s rough.

So the question remains: Am I ready to say goodbye? To board that final flight? In my first post on the topic, I mentioned that Amsterdam has not yet felt like home. Despite this, the leap of faith to move here for a job maybe none of us were sure I could do has turned out to be such an amazing, life changing, eye opening period and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have met so many different people from so many different backgrounds – probably more than in all of the months and years before. These people have taught and inspired me. They have introduced me to new places, things and ideas. They have helped me grow and change whether they know it or not. Thinking about leaving that behind isn’t easy as is likely made obvious by my laboring over it in these posts.

I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent thinking about this, weighing all the factors. Letting my imagination run wild. The good news is that the decision is imminent and will come before the calendar page turns again. (Mine is a monthly calendar just to prevent any question or confusion.) Thanks for sticking with me, for your comments, your support, your advice.

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