When I arrive to a new country I have seen myself doing mentally what I call the “first three months test”. The test is simple: Taking into account my first long experience abroad (this is, when I went to Serbia), I annalyze how my life was there during the first three months and I compare it with my current situation, wherever I am .
The parameters I take into consideration are the following:
– Knowledge of the city, the culture, and the local language.
– Friends (and quality of friendship).
– My position in the local music scene (if I have a band or not, assistance to jam sessions…).
– Personal feeling about the city (do I feel like living here longer?, do I see myself here in a few years?).
– Activism in the city/country.
The “test” consists in annalyzing how those parameters where back then in March 2010 in Belgrade and how the situation is in the present. For some reason, my stay in Belgrade has become the “role model” for every project in a new destination.
Despite the simplicity of the test, the diversity of factors make it interesting and results vary every time I am in a new country. Sometimes, like now, I have no band (while in Belgrade I had already 3), but I may have made closer friends here faster than for example in Greece, where I needed a revolution to make long-lasting friends (althoguh I had some already).
In Serbia I had language lessons, which helped to learn the language, while my knowledge of Dutch is nonexistent. On the other hand, I experienced some activism in The Hague, while in Serbia social movements remain underground after years of wars and non-reliable political leaders.
The final question about my feelings about the city are inconsistent at the moment.
Although I love The Hague, the lack of income makes unlikely for me to stay here longer, and therefore I am not really seeing myself here. And that is the second issue: My personal “forecast” for the time ahead.
As you are probably aware, I decided to extend the internship until July. The following months promise to be exciting: Preparing the final briefing for our case, Queen’s Day, an interesting conference in Brussels, and probably a soul/funk band project. I also expect some visits from Andalusia when the good weather comes. In the meantime I will keep enjoying life here. Despite learning, going out from time to time, and having dinners with friends, I travelled quite a lot during the last months: London was the furthest I went, and I did it to visit
Antonio (who gave me the title for the blog and who I had not seen in 4-5 years) and Maciek. In the Netherlands I visited Amsterdam (3 times), Utrecht (twice), Delft (uncountable times), Haarlem, Leiden and Maastricht. Besides Brussels, I intend to go to the north of The Netherlands sometime, although I am also considering stay more in The Hague and save money (even low-budget travelling starts to be expensive, damn it!).
Regarding jobs, I definitely need to keep doing “job-sicking” (as a colleague calls it), but nevertheless I keep being optimistic about it. Why? Because optimism is a revolutionary act.