Wednesday, 18 July 2012
A day in which to ponder.
As I am typing the sun is on my arms and face warming me up in a most gentle way. No, not a clear blue sky, but a typical dutch one, with awesomely shaped and coloured clouds puffing in the wind.
Like these ones in the photo. Typically dutch. What is that I wonder?
I returned home 12 years ago
(1-7-2000) and felt 'at home' straight away. Yet I had been away for 30 odd years. Going to the market, taking the train, late to bed, shopping almost daily instead of fortnightly - the fridges here are smaller and freezers are generally non existent due to the space needed to house these items, so no way can one 'stock up' for longer periods. Fresh produce and bread daily isn't such a bad thing. You can decide what you want to eat on the day. Anyway, I digress, which by the way, is quite permissible when one is pondering!
I hadn't ever driven a car in the Netherlands. Did have a scooter years ago, but that's different. I was encouraged by my cousin René to get behind the wheel not long after I arrived.. and hey presto! Just was funny getting in on the wrong/right side of the car.
I did have to re-do my practical for my license. Unfair when you think about it. Drove almost 30 years - not a scratch, and if I had had an Australian driver's license it would have been accepted without an exam. Anyway, got al that sorted and drive with much pleasure like I did in New Zealand. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Zeeland, Fryslân ( Friesland) Paris, France, Belgium.......
Shortly after my return I had the privilege of 'hosting' friends here for a couple of days. We made the traditional tourist trip to Amsterdam ( YAWN!) by train. Don't get me wrong. Amsterdam is lovely- just there is so much MORE to Amsterdam than the red light district and the canal boats. Still we did have a great day there!
The next day we went to Fryslân/Friesland by car. The landscape is so contradictory to the New Zealand landscape. Once we passed the halfway mark I sighed and said " oh isn't this lovely. What do you think of that?" and the one answer I hadn't counted on was the one I got. " It is so FLAT! Nothing to see." Oh me oh my. Glad of the differences in people and their experiences. I don't see ' nothing' at all. It is the drive that gives me my most wonderful ' at home' feeling I can imagine.
There is a snag, not to be taken too lightly either however, that will always remain a stab in my heart - the distance to travel before I can be with my children and grandchildren. Not to mention the loving friends I made and still have in Aotearoa. Whilst I enjoy their smiley bubbly faces on SKYPE, and love catching up with my children via any means available today - it causes an ache every day!
Anyway, all I wanted to say really is, this is home. I am home and LOVE it. Yes, the weather isn't exactly anything to write home about. Especially this dismal summer so far. But then, the summer in New Zealand wasn't all it cracked up tobe either. And Down Under is all Down Under. Here we spread out to south of France, Spain, Greece, Portugal. Our friendly European neighbours DO have sunny warm weather, different food, different cultures, different scenery. It is where you feel ' at home' that counts.
The place where I can be me. I loved my years in New Zealand. Truly I did. It gave me my 3 wonderful children, the cultural experiences not found elsewhere, the richness of friendships I still hold dear. My life, adventuresome though it has been to date, I wouldn't swap with anyone.
So now, I am still feeling the warm sun on my arms, I am still seeing the blueish grey clouds speed past and I am thankful.