Monday, March 19, 2012

I've Been Here Over a Decade

                                                                 By Cathy Anthony
a follow-up to the original
Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I'd planned. I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland. I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger, the pain and uncertainty. In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time. I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends. Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. I have discovered a community of caring. Holland wasn't so bad.

I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land. Over the years, I've wondered what life would have been like if I'd landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?

Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.

I have come to love Holland and call it Home.

I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn't matter where you land. What's more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.

Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn't planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!


Mindy (Utz) Mess said...


It's an honor to live in Holland with such wonderful people as you & Noah. Yes, there are times Italy still sounds nice...but Holland is so beautiful, I can't imagine not being here now. I am quite content with my life here in Holland.
I see so many things in Italy that I don't see in Holland...and that's actually quite alright by me. I've learned many valuable lessons here. I met my best friend and my worst enemy all wrapped up into one little boy here in Holland. That little boy grew up to be a wonderful young man whom I am ALWAYS proud of. If it weren't for Holland...I don't know where I would have ended up. Perhaps not even Italy. All I know is no matter how hard things seem at times...Holland is still the most beautiful place I have ever been. I have met the most amazing families here. I am truly blessed.

Phil Dzialo said...

And, Sue, no matter how similar or dissimilar our experiences, perceptions or beliefs, none of us would trade this experience for any other which many people have... this is a special, sacred journey ... one allowed only to the privileged few!