Monday, April 27, 2009

At Home in Holland

When we stepped off the Ryan Air plane (that’s a story in itself) in Holland it felt like we were coming home. Uncle Rick, John’s brother, and his family live in Eindhoven. We stayed with them for more than two weeks a couple years ago, so stepping back into their home felt very familiar. It was a familiarity and an “at home” feeling that came at a good time on our journey. We can see the finish line, so to speak. Yet, there are still lots of adventures, and the need for the same energy and stamina we’ve needed for the past 9 months, to tackle what still lies ahead of us. Somehow sleeping in a familiar room, sitting on a familiar couch, and still knowing where the candies are hid in the kitchen cupboard, gave us an unexpected boost.

Danielle, Simon and their cousin Joram were inseparable the last time we were here – except they didn’t sleep in Joram’s room. This time all three slept in the same room, and except for the times that Joram was at school, the three cousins were playing together. That was an extraordinary gift for Danielle and Simon. They’ve been missing their friends at home so someone to play with full-time came at a good time for them. They also had the opportunity to go to school for a morning with Joram. There was a special Easter breakfast and gym class. Fortunately the kids didn’t need much Dutch and the nervous teacher didn’t need much English to get through a morning of eating and playing. It is worthy of note that Joram did very well as a simultaneous translator during a short story time that morning!

Danielle and Opa out for a bike ride.

We spent Easter weekend further north, close to Steenwijk, with John’s parents, Rick’s family, and more relatives! As you can imagine, there was lots of coffee, biking, swimming at an indoor pool, Easter Egg hunts, and chocolate. The holiday park was next to the national Weerribben park that consists mainly of peat bogs. We spent one very pleasant late afternoon and evening boating about the canals.

Captain on the high "peats" of the Weerribben

We weren’t able to fill our bags with all the treats we usually bring home after a trip to Holland; however, tucked into our hearts is a little piece of “home” that we’ll savour during the coming few months.