Maybe it’s because this is the longest I have lived outside the United States (124 days) or maybe it’s because I am sitting among the chaos of moving boxes, but I can’t help but wonder — how the hell did I end up here? I never expected to become an expat. I never expected to move to Antwerp. It’s stunning to me how quickly your life can change with one decision.
And for some unknown reason, I keep coming back to two lines from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost:
“Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.”
Life gave me the chance to come back. I could have entered into a romantic relationship with Mr. Isinvar at 16, but (and I think rightly) choose not to. However, some how each of my ways from the time I was 16 to the time I was 20-something led me right back to those first two roads in a yellow wood that I saw in Milan.
Eight days before coming to Antwerp for the first time, I came home from a ten-day trip to San Francisco, and was determined to move to that lovely city after my college graduation.
Three weeks later, I took the road previously not taken and returned home from Antwerp with a ton of chocolate and a Trans-Atlantic relationship with Mr. Isinvar.
And when I stop to think about it, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to turn both roads into roads that have been taken. Moving to Antwerp has been a lot harder than I ever expected it to be, and sometimes I do wonder how San Francisco would have turned out , but I have no regrets about the choices I made. I got to enjoy my time as a young single woman. I got to experience a shy boy asking me to go to prom, good and terrible first dates, college parties, and adventures in China. Now I get to enjoy my life with the man I fell in love with at 16; a life filled with some quiet nights playing “Lego: Lord of the Rings” on the couch with my husband and some nights filled with dancing in Groenplaats. Somewhere ages and ages hence, my sigh will be happy for I will know the difference.