I’m moving… but, not to Canada

Do you remember my big news from three months ago? I shared with you how I’m moving to Canada with my family.

Well, a lot has happened in the meantime. 2020 showed us its teeth and the whole world has found itself in the middle of the pandemic. Who could predict that only a few months ago?

Of course, it affected my life and plans to move to Canada, too.

Here is what’s been happening lately…

With so many things happening since the beginning of March, I have a feeling like the whole year passed by in the meantime.

I was getting ready for my move

Tea from Culture Tourist in Amsterdam

My move to Canada was scheduled for April 20th. So, already at the end of January, my family and I started with preparing everything for it.

We have put our house on sale, sold it and had to move out by the end of April. We also informed our son’s school his last day is going to be around the same time.

Numerous small little things were done because of it, too. Like selling or giving away some of our furniture and all of our electrical appliances. Because, well, plugs in Canada are different than in Europe.

We also sorted out our work visas and got our plane tickets from Amsterdam to Toronto. And have also planned a three-week-long road trip around Spain, to celebrate our big move.

And then the world pandemic started

When around the mid-March things started to get serious in the Netherlands, and we were advised to stay home, we still thought we will be able to travel by the end of April.

Little did we know 2020 had different plans for us.

Probably the first sign this move may be trickier than what we’ve expected was when a week later the US closed its borders. A few days after, Canada decided to do the same. Our flight was cancelled within the few hours.

And we realised the situation is much more serious than we thought.

Looking for a house in the middle of the pandemic

Wooden house in Haarlem
River Spaarne in Haarlem

Luckily, my husband’s company was amazing, and they assured us we don’t have to worry about anything. Marijan could start to work remotely, and they will help us with finding accommodation, organising our move and setting up a home office for him.

Sounds great, right?

Well, as you already know, things tend to get a bit complicated in 2020.

Since we had to move out of our house by the end of April, we started to look for a temporary place we could stay in. However, by that time the hotels were closed, and there was literally nothing on Airbnb.

Renting a house regularly wasn’t an option, because all the landlords wanted to sign at least a year-long contract. Which obviously, wasn’t possible for us.

We were checking all the rental sites like Funda, Airbnb and Booking.com each day, hoping something will show up. And, luckily, it did in the end. We found a cute little house at a southern part of Haarlem, just next to the river Spaarne. With so much beautiful nature around it, it was probably the best place to spend those few months of social distancing.

Moving in the middle of the pandemic

After the first wave of happiness, our excitement was replaced by the worry about how are we going to move to another house in the middle of the pandemic.

Same as with renting a house, we soon realised things that used to be quite easy, are far from it in 2020.

It was the mid-April, the time when the pandemic was on its peak. And we were all avoiding leaving our houses or meeting other people altogether.

But, how can you keep the distance when you need to move a piece of furniture with someone?

I won’t bore you here with all the details, and all the hilarious and stressful things that happened to us. But, in short, it became quite normal for us to leave the washing machine or a fridge in front of our front doors. And give instructions to people who came to pick them up from our window. We managed to prepare all of our stuff and leave detailed written instructions to the moving company that had to relocate them to storage.

Well, our things are still somewhere in storage here in the Netherlands, so I’m not actually sure that part went completely fine. But, let’s hope for the best.

Living out of a suitcase

Culture Tourist drawings
Culture Tourist working on colouring postcards

We moved to a temporary house (although, no one was sure how temporary it’s going to be) with one suitcase each. And I’m quite proud of us because we managed to pack all of our clothes (spring/summer collection, we were optimistic we’ll get our things by the autumn), our laptops and home-office stuff, and a sufficient amount of toys one five-year-old needs.

However, with the days passing by, it started to be very hard to live out of a suitcase. And not to be able to make any plans with our lives. Working from home and home-schooling a child, while all three of us missed our friends, freedom and personal space, started to be harder by each day.

We started to think long-term and what the move to Canada will mean if we’ll proceed with it. The world definitely changed since February. It would be almost impossible to put our son to school in Canada in September when he should start it. With all the social distancing, it would be quite hard to create a life for us, as well. Travelling, meeting people, moving my business to a new continent, all of that would be nearly impossible.

In the same time at my hometown Zagreb, a very strong earthquake happened. It was tough to see all the images of my city broken. And with all the pandemic stuff and restrictions on mobility between the countries, I felt I wanted to be closer to my family.

Somewhere around that time, Marijan’s company announced they’ll become a completely digital company. And that everyone will be working remotely for good.

We decided not to move to Canada in the end

After the news, Marijan’s company is switching completely online, and that he could choose if he’d like to stay in Europe or move to Canada, we organised a family meeting again. We discussed all of this news and tried to figure out what we’re going to do.

Well, a family meeting lasted for the whole weekend actually. And we were talking about all the pros and cons of the new situation. We would set at our window with a glass of wine in our hands until late in the night, thinking about all the possible solutions. And everything both decisions could bring with them.

In the end, we decided not moving to Canada is probably the right thing to do.

The main reason is that after the last few months that were probably the most stressful time we ever had in our lives, we desperately need some stability again.

Our son needs his friends and school. We need regular working hours and office space. And we all need a more permanent place to live.

If we’d decide to proceed with our move, we can’t be sure when we’ll have that.

We’re going to live between the Netherlands and Croatia

Culture Tourist colouring postcards

Another big reason not to move was that we wanted to stay closer to our homes, family and friends both in the Netherlands and Croatia.

During the last few years, I had a feeling of that huge freedom to move and very easily travel from place to place. However, the outburst of Covid-19 pandemic thought us this could change overnight. It was always very easy for me to plan a quick trip to visit my family, buy a ticket and be there within the two-hours long flight.

Living on another continent and not be able to quickly get back home started to sound quite scary to me. What if someone from my family gets sick? What if we won’t be able to see each other for months or a year?

Why I want to be in Croatia

Even with the move to Canada, my long-term plan was to move to Croatia within the next few years. So, it’s coming just a bit sooner than what I’ve planned.

Once we started to think about that, and the fact we could spend so much more time in Croatia, and live between these two countries, we’ve got so excited about it. Although our plans changed completely within the few months, somehow, the situation turned out to be even better.

And I’m also so excited to start this new chapter of my life.

We are both working remotely, and that gives us a lot of freedom. Perhaps, that’s going to be one of the good outcomes for the world after the pandemic.

I’m already planning to spend a long vacation in Istria this summer. And am really looking forward to spending so much time in my hometown of Zagreb again. I’m also really excited to explore some parts of Croatia I didn’t have a chance to visit before.

Well, I’ll probably update you with how the things are going in a few months. Let’s hope this time, 2020 is going to approve my plans and allow them to happen.

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