Today I am sharing a post I wrote over a year ago, and originally posted on my TCK blog. The reason I am publishing it again on this blog is because it reiterates a lot of the emotions I have felt over the last couple of days. I have said a lot of “hello’s” and “goodbye’s” in quick succession the past couple of weeks, and while I’m used to it as a TCK, it’s never fun.
A few days ago, I has some time to waste at Schiphol Airport. Not knowing what to do, I decided I would sit and watch the arrivals. This might sounds strange, but it reminded me of the Dutch show: “Hello Goodbye”. In this show, the presenter interviews people at the arrivals bay, asking them who they are waiting for. This mostly bring up complicated histories and astonishing stories, and I always love to watch it. So I took a seat near the arrivals bay at Schiphol airport and observed. There were people with banners and balloons, all for the people arriving. The excitement on peoples faces when they saw their loved one was heartwarming. It got me thinking though; have I ever experienced this?
As a TCK, you travel a lot. Sometime this is to foreign places, but sometimes this is also to return to your home country. For me, we go back to the Netherlands once a year, during summer. I vaguely remember the first time arriving back in the Netherlands after having moved abroad. Our whole family was waiting for us, some of them cried. They were ecstatic to see us, my uncle even brought me and my brother a present. This reaction to our arrival back in the Netherlands grew less and less grand over the years. The past few years there has not been anyone waiting for us at the arrivals bay at the airport. My grandfather does usually pick us up from the train station with my grandmother, with smiles on their faces. It is not that they are not happy that we are back for the summer, but it has become normality now. I think this is something most TCK’s experience; the novelty of returning to your home country wears off for both ourselves and our family.
I am not going to lie, I did feel a pang of jealously watching the Schiphol arrivals bay. While I in no way blame my family for not coming to greet us as they used to, it would make arriving in the Netherlands a little bit nicer. I completely understand why it is no longer as big of a deal as it used to be, yet I wish it could be equally special every year. There comes a time when your family accepts that you are now a TCK, and they might treat you slightly different. Not in a negative way, just differently.