After the Second World War, many people wanted to start a new life on the other side of the ocean. The war had destroyed much of the European economy, and instead of waiting years for it to recover people opted to move abroad. Canada, Australia and the United States were among some of the most popular destinations for Dutch emigrants. For them, their transatlantic move was literally a one-way ticket by boat. Making the move would take everything they had left, and if it didn’t work out there was no way back. Staying in touch with family and friends left behind was difficult. Until later in the fifties, there was no transatlantic telephone service, so the only option was to write and wait for the mail to arrive. It would take weeks if not months to hear back, as long as the mail didn’t get lost somewhere along the way.
Love On Christmas Eve
Staying in touch with family abroad has become a lot easier. Today, I can even watch some Dutch television shows on my Canadian flat screen. Through the various media players available these days, it’s become a relatively easy process, despite some of the providers making it unnecessarily difficult by adding location-based filters to their online video streams. One of the shows I enjoy watching is a program called All You Need Is Love. In particular their Christmas Eve episode has became a tradition for me every holiday season abroad. The host, Robert ten Brink, has made it his life work to reunite families and loved ones that have been separated by distance for a long time. Many of the stories are in one way or another influenced by families who were separated by the post war mass emigration. Absence makes the hard grow fonder. Distance is hard but can result in something good. In any case, it makes for many years of great television.
What strikes me most every time when watching Robert reunite families on All You Need Is Love, is that missing someone isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good thing, a beautiful thing even. We experience “missing” someone often as a negative emotion, but it doesn’t have to be. While physical separation changes the relationship, it doesn’t mean the change can’t be for the better. Interactions might be less frequent, but are often more intense in the short amounts of time you do get to spend together.
The Cast Of Your Life’s Theater
When you’re extremely close to your family you probably won’t do what I did. You won’t move to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to chase some version of the American Dream in Canada. While I love my family, the pull of adventure was stronger for me than family bonds. My move ultimately forced the relationships I had with my family and friends to be redefined. Some improved for the better, some became worse, and others disappeared completely. There are different people that play different roles in every stage of life. The cast of your life’s theater is ever changing.
In a way, I love my family more now that I’m on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. It changed the dynamic of the relationship, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. My family, on the other hand, never approved of my move abroad. If you fear the unknown, that’s where I live. With every major setback I faced in building a life in Canada, it was expected I would return home. I never did. Even though I might eventually move on to another place, I’m not planning on ever returning home permanently. Aside from the complicated paperwork, immigration is an irreversible process that “de-roots” you. The wanderlust is part of my genetic structure. From time to time it makes me restless, but hardly ever homesick.
This post contains a story from my new book, The Freedom Project Love 2.0. The books introduces an upgraded view to the way humans relate to each other. It’s available on Amazon, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble and finer book retailers worldwide. For those who like ebooks (not me), it’s also available on Amazon Kindle. To learn more about the Freedom Project series please visit www.freedomprojectbook.com. Thanks for your support!FreedomProjectBook.com
Feature image by RTL / All You Need Is Love