Where In The World Am I? Life Update | Wanderlust Wednesday

If you’ve been follow my blog for a while, you’ll know that at the end of August, I packed my life up into a suitcase and moved to Amsterdam. However, if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I am back in Ireland again!

Wait a minute, Charlene, you were so excited to move to the Netherlands. What changed your mind?

Well, I am so very glad you asked. The short story is that life throws things at you when you least expect it! The long story is that job opportunities in Ireland were being sent my way, and there was the minor detail of the fact that I couldn’t legally work until the middle of November. If I was in Amsterdam right now, I would still be unemployed. That’s was how long it was going to take to get my burgerservicenummer  (BSN aka a Dutch social security number). It was also proving difficult to find a permanent accommodation where I was allowed to ‘register’ – this basically means declaring myself to the municipality and receiving my BSN. Without a permanent address, I could not get a BSN and therefore could not work. Without work I could not earn money to pay rent, and therefore I could not secure a place to live! The main reason behind these obstacles being that Amsterdam is increadibly densely populated. There are approximately 811,000 people living within The Ring, with over 50% of inhabitants being foreign. Limited housing + a constant influx of people moving to Amsterdam = may the odds be ever in your favour!!

2014-11-05 21.52.13

About a week into living in Amsterdam, I also came to a huge revelation. I really don’t want to live there. Don’t get me wrong. I love Amsterdam. It is a beautiful, historic and vibrant city; a city that has everything I could possibly want in it. But I want more than what Amsterdam has to offer. Or should I say, I want less. Living in Utrecht last year spoilt me. It’s smaller, quieter, prettier and has way less tourists. And Dutch is the number one spoken language – too many people start conversations in English in Amsterdam for my liking! I also felt much safer cycling in Utrecht. Plus it is only less than 30 minutes away from Amsterdam if I ever want a trip to the capital city!

As I’ve said before, life is too short to not be happy. Life is also too short to put what makes you happy on hold because you’re afraid of what other people may think or say. So after the big deal I made about moving back to the Netherlands, I made the courageous decision to come home only a month in! I still intend on returning to The Netherlands in the very near future. I am still learning Dutch and am still scouring the internet daily for possible employment opportunities, for my own pleasure more than anything else (nerd alert!) But for now, here is where we are!


So where am I right now? I am living with my parents for the first time in 8 years, in a tiny village in rural Ireland – the above photo was taken from our back garden. When I first drafted this post I was attending a multitude of interviews and hoping that something would spark my interest. For the first time in my life, I was unemployed. I was a statistic. I was one of the many graduates looking for work. And while it was not the best plan, I had decided that I had the right to be choosy about the jobs that I was applying for. I refused to work in a job that would not stretch my mind, spark my interest and add to my skill-set. I refused to work unsociable hours, and overwork myself. I had done that all before, and I grew to resent my position in an organisation that I loved. Well, my choosiness paid off! Last week I started in a new role in the wonderful world of sales and revenue management. I am being challenged. I am learning and so far no two days have been the same. I have every weekend off. I am home every evening at a normal time to eat my dinner.

I miss not living in the Netherlands. But I am gaining work experience that will enable me to work and live a balanced life there in the future.

Most of all, right now, I am happy.



This Day Last Year: 5th November 2013 – The Ultimate Garden Centre



8 thoughts on “Where In The World Am I? Life Update | Wanderlust Wednesday

  1. You are so brave to have taken the leap to try it out! You should be so proud! I don’t really like Amsterdam if I’m honest. Its probably my least favourite place in holland really its just not Holland lol! (I suppose its a bit like when people think London is England, London is an awful place!). You’ve explored a lot nice places haha, you where perhaps a little spoiled for choice. It sounds to me like you had an epic holiday and have come home to a pretty cool new opportunity.

    From your post its scary how similar we are, i share a lot of your views on your quest for personal happiness. I have made a lot of changes in my life this year readjusting things to put *me* back into the middle of my life and I think its the most important way to reevaluate things!

    You are going to be happy and successful in whatever you choose to do I am sure of it mijn Nederlandse vriendin!


    • I read your comment first thing this morning Maria and it made me smile so much – it set me up for the day 🙂 We definitely need to meet at some stage – and knowing us, it will probably be in the Netherlands!!!

      • I feel like we owe it too ourselves to meet in the Netherlands haha!! But I’m pretty sure we could bring the party to wherever our paths cross😎 xx

  2. It was really brave to move and to have such a positive attitude about trying new things. It was also very brave to be so pragmatic about your situation.

    That view from your house though! Oh my, it’s gorgeous! Reminds me of my old view back in Limerick.

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