Moving drama


I was born in Veenendaal on the 6th floor of a highrise. My parents were from Limburg, so I learned only this accent, growing up. The kids and the teacher at kindergarten couldn't understand my accent, so my parents switched to 'actual' Dutch.

When I was 4, we moved to Nieuw Vennep, where we lived in a very new, just finished, part of an -also- new town. I spoke almost accent-less Dutch by then. The rest of my life people have never been able to tell were I was born, because the way I spoke Dutch did not seem to come from any specific part of the Netherlands.

When I was 6 we moved to Leeuwarden. I learned to speak 'Fries' at school. 

But my parents weren't done moving. For me the hardest move I made, was the move from Leeuwarden to West Zeeuws Vlaanderen later on. The local culture and accents couldn't be more different and it couldn't be further apart in distance. I was 9 at the time and was really happy in the area where we lived in Leeuwarden. I even had a 'boyfriend'. A very dramatic goodbye, I must say.

I never managed to find the same in West Zeeuws Vlaanderen, environment-wise and friends-wise. I remember one time, when 2 girls tried to bond with me and told me joke. This joke was completely jibberish to me, because of the accent and the way the people from Zeeland mix up the 'h' and the 'g'. There were so many 'h's and 'g's in the joke, I could not make anything of it. 



I continued moving around after I left home to study, as well. I moved from West Zeeuws Vlaanderen to Eindhoven to start with HBO-V, a nursing study. With my propedeuse of this study, I went to University in Maastricht to study Health Sciences to fill up the time untill I would be admitted to the Midwifery school, which had been my dream since I had my first child, Pim, at the age of 21. After one year of University, I got into the Midwifery School in Kerkrade.

When I met Eric, I moved to the area around Breda. We had three kids together. And when the youngest was 1 year old we emigrated to New Zealand and 5 years later, to Australia. And now, we live in Ecuador.


The point I am trying to make here, is, that I have moved around my whole life. One would assume I would be used to this by now. But somehow I keep creating a lot of stress around this. I make sure that we end up in a situation where things go wrong and we get under a lot of time-stress and have to completely 'go to-and-over our limits' to bring it to a good end. Usually I also make sure that I have some physical problem (this time my sore rib), so that Eric has to take the grunt of it. 

I always look at my/our creation of stress and wonder if I/we will ever manage to do it differently. How nice it must be, to just pack your stuff, move and unpack your stuff. All in a relaxed timeframe.

All in all, lots of drama always.


My explanation for this, is partly my past. I think I have taken on some of the stress my parents used to have around this added to my own stress as a child to start all over again, somewhere else. 

Furthermore; I have this neurotic 'need' to clean everything, before we move in. To make it my own, to have everything in the new place be touched by my hands somehow. And this NEVER works out. Never. It doesn't matter how much I try to make this happen.

This time it went like this:


We met with the previous tenant, who had responded to our ad (house wanted). An American guy named Cliff, a Vietnam veteran and conspiracy theorist of 71 years old.

He wanted to make it as easy for us as possible and disregarded himself in this. So he arranged the truck for us. However, the truckdriver could only work on Friday and Monday.

So Cliff arranged for us to use the truck on Friday instead of using it for himself. When we said we should use it on Monday and he should use it on Friday, he declined. He wanted to help us move in asap, so we wouldn't have to extend our airbnb-stay (which would end on Saturday).

All very friendly, but not at all handy because this would mean his stuff would still be in the house, while our stuff would come. And lets not forget; no cleaning possible -for me-  before moving in....

Cliff promised he would let cleaners clean the house on Saturday, so that made me calm down a little. He said he would also move all of his stuff out the same Saturday. 'No problem' he said...

Looking back I/we should have just said 'no' in a much stronger way and paid a little extra to extend the airbnb stay. But we didn't, so we brought the following situations all on ourselves.


On Friday Eric drove to Vilcabamba to get our stored stuff from there. Beer went with him. They left at 6 in the morning to meet with the truckdriver we hired. That part went fine. In Vilcabamba Eric did some shopping, while waiting for the truckdriver to catch up with him. We had our 'regular' shops we would go to on Fridays; fresh bread at the French Bakery, organic vege's at the organic shop.

After loading everything in a sunny heat of 28 degrees (which Eric was not happy about), they were ready to head back around 1 pm. The truckdriver wanted Beer to come with him, to testify he had not stolen all the stuff, if he was stopped by police. For Beer this was quite an adventure to sit next to someone for hours, without being able to communicate (Spanish-English). 

Off course; they were stopped by the police and they wanted a bribe, even with Beer in the truck. About an hour later the truck broke down, high in the mountains between Loja and Cuenca. Beer, who had taken off his vest and put it in the Eric's car, in the 28 degree heat, was now standing in his t-shirt in 7 degrees cold for hours. Waiting for a mechanic to come and fix the truck.

Eric went back (he had already arrived at the house when they called him) to pick Beer up and they got home by 11 pm, but had to get up again at 5.30 in the morning -Saturday-, because the truck had not been unloaded and was standing at someone's place somewhere. They were exhausted.

That same Saturday I had to pack all the stuff from the airbnb and leave that place in good order. 
We entered the new house around 2 pm, after having bought a second hand washing machine (our previous one was not working properly and had to be brought back to the supplier to be fixed, but we needed a washing machine asap) as if we weren't busy enough. Eric instantly started installing that washing machine and put the plug in (the only) 220 V socket (in the house), instead of the 110 V sockets (everywhere else in the house) and blew up the transformer of the 'new' second hand machine. 

In the mean time the cleaners had gone home, because it wasn't working out to clean while everyone was moving stuff in and out in muddy weather. So the house was not clean at all. They said they'd be back tomorrow...

The previous tenant had 2 dogs and had never cleaned in the time he lived there (2 years). So there were doghairs everywhere. And the smell....

Our stuff was standing in the midst of all the dirt and smell. I tried to let go of this misery and decided we would sleep in a hotel if necessary. I was not going to sleep in that mess. Lem had the same idea.

However, I managed to get one room properly clean and without smell. So we put all the beds in there and slept with the 5 of us there, that first night.

I really really enjoyed this, knowing these moments are nearing their end; Beer being 19, Lem being 16 and Mar being 14. Funny thing is; the kids enjoyed it too. During the following day they came to me, seperately and said we should sleep like that another night, because it 'was still dirty everywhere else'. We made lots of jokes in the night. And as it goes with teens; some dirty jokes as well.

(During the day before I had said to Eric, out of the blue, that Mar actually wanted a younger sister. So Beer was like; not tonight, when we are all in one room! Hahaha)


Our first breakfast in the new place, in the morning. It felt like such luxury (bread and cheese from Vilcabamba).

It took us 3 more days to get the house cleaned properly. We washed all the dog-smelling curtains and let the couches be cleaned. And now it finally doesn't smell like dog anymore. 

It is nice to know we can be here for a while, not having to move to another airbnb again, etc.

Time to relax again after all the (self-inflicted) drama.

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Margreet (Sunday, 29 July 2018 11:23)

    Hoi Tanja, ik volg je avontuur in Ecuador af en toe. Ik vind het een hele moedige onderneming en hoop dat het jullie lukt ondanks alle tegenslagen. Intersant is het om te lezen wat voor impact de verhuizing van jullie vanuit Leeuwarden naar Zeeland heeft gehad. Ik heb die dezelfde ervaring; ik vond het echt vreselijk dat je weg ging. Ik voelde mijn destijds heel erg eenzaam (ondanks al die broertjes en zusjes die ik had).
    Het heeft om mij destijds ook een hele impact gehad. In mijn beleving hadden we een prachttijd daar achter bij jullie huis in de natuur. Misschien ben je me allang weer vergeten maar ik ben jou nooit vergeten.
    Groetjes Margreet Jansen

  • #2

    Tanja (Sunday, 29 July 2018 18:31)

    Hoi Margreet, natuurlijk weet ik wie jij bent! Ik ben jou ook nooit vergeten. Ik herinner me nog hoe we op je bed lagen te lezen. De boeken van de Kameleon waren de laatste die ik me herinner.
    En de natuur achter ons huis!!! Oh en hoe we actie gevoerd hebben tegen de bouw van een tankstation daar. Want die natuur was natuurlijk van ons. Niet van iemand anders. En het gras was zo hoog dat als we gewoon erin gingen liggen, dan waren we onzichtbaar verstopt.
    We hebben ons allebei eenzaam gevoeld daarna...
    Knuf, Tanja