In keeping with the themes from the poem “Welcome to Holland” I thought I would continue the story, based on my experience following the unexpected passing of my daughter, the one who took me to Holland and taught me how to live there.
I must admit I wasn’t very excited about being in Holland when we first arrived. I longed for the adventure I had planned in Italy, or at least the familiarity of home in the US, but we were in Holland.
In time I learned the language, adjusted and settled into my new career there. I became an expert and even opened my own not-for profit business to help other stranded travelers. I reached acceptance and built a home. It was gutted and remodeled, to perfectly meet our needs. I made incredible friends in Holland. We shared our struggles and triumphs of adjusting to the new land but they became family. It was an exhausting life, but it was beautiful and rewarding.
I had heard of people being deported. There would be times when I would notice a certain familiar face had gone missing. I wondered where they went, if it was terrible and what took them. I never thought it would happen to me. I was so careful to follow all of the rules. I paid close attention and did every single thing I could find to help us thrive in Holland.
Then early one morning, I received the most shocking news. My time in Holland was over. As much as I knew the day may come, it was unexpected, I shook, I wailed, I didn’t want to leave. Without any notice, I was being shipped off to Australia, alone.
I promised to stay in touch with all of my friends in Holland, but they were busy and the time change made staying in touch very hard. Everyone thought that after the shock wore off, i would enjoy Australia. After all, they speak English and have beautiful sunny beaches.
Sure they spoke English, but it was different enough to be confusing. If felt closer to my pre Holland life, but even that feels incredibly foreign. Cars drive on the other side of the road, the seasons are backwards and nothing makes sense. It isn’t bad, it is just different and not where I had wanted to go. There was no need for the skills I had mastered so I was without work. All I had was time to think about how much I had come to love Holland.
Sitting on the beach in Australia, it’s not a bad way to spend time healing. I can feel myself starting to settle. The folks at the coffee shop know me by name and don’t mind when I cry in the corner. I watch the news and try to stay in touch with my friends in Holland.
I’ve unpacked my bags, but I don’t have plans to stay forever. The lessons I learned in Holland have taught me how to adapt, let go of what I thought would be and enjoy things I that I never would have dreamed of. I want to keep exploring, keep adventuring. Now that I know that I don’t know where I am going, I can embrace a sense of adventure and prepare for whatever new lands I find myself in.