Monday, 1 July 2013

1 July 2000 - 1 July 2013

Ben, Cisca en me on my return home

Last weekend I enjoyed a few days away with a group of dear friends. Each year we ( 8 or 10 of us) spend a weekend in another part of the Netherlands, playing tourist in our own country and almost always in the last weekend in June. Just like last weekend when we went to Valkenburg.

And like most years, my thoughts turn to 1 July 2000- that's when I......!

On the 1st of July 2000 I arrived at Schiphol Airport and I just 'knew' I was home. After having spent 30 years ' Down Under' I was convinced that this wasn't to be a short stay, but a home coming. I had planned to stay a year- to regroup, to come to grips with my situation, to re-connect with my roots, family and friends and customs I held so dear. Even before the plane took off a peaceful feeling overwhelmed me.

I know, one can feel at home anywhere, it is all relevant. But for me, this is IT! A warm feeling took hold of me as I re- entered the country and looked around, hearing the voices speaking my language. I felt a sense of kinship, people biking, the markets, gables of the buildings in the narrow streets, catching the train, streets with rows of the same houses. It felt like a home coming after a long stay holiday.

To greet me and offer me a place to gather myself while I acclamitised were my dear friends Ben and Cisca. A blast from my youthful past. They were at the airport in those early hours of that morning and welcomed me home. The first week of my return I was offered hospitality and care while I took the time to let the gravity of my decision sink in.
After a short stop at a local garden centre where we bought some plants we arrived at their home- and before you could say ' Jack Robinson' I stood barefoot in the garden planting those plants. Wonderful!

The care and hospitality shown me was second to none and to this day I am grateful to my friends for welcoming me home.

The next few weeks I spent in Fryslân where the celebrations for the new millennium were in full swing. I enjoyed immensely all the activities and ambiance that was present there. It even eventuated that I was reunited with an old colleague from Philips. Due to familie ties and a surprise encounter I ended up in the middle of the Netherlands, where I still reside. I try to visit Fryslân as regularly as I can- my roots are deeply entrenched there.

I realise my decision had impact on those I love and left behind. That realisation and responsibility I carry with me every day. Looking back on my return 13 years ago, I can look back on many experiences and events that have had a lasting effect on who I am today. The contacts with my family and friends in my ' previous' or 'former life', as I sometimes call it, is strong. We SKYPE, email, phone etc and on my visits there I still am able to catch up on my friends when I visit my family.

And now, 13 years later, I am once again surrounded by a wonderful group of people whom I may call my friends. I look back on all the experiences both happy and sad, on the emotions that were experienced due to the decisions I made which affected many, and I realise I am stronger than I thought I could be, that I am capable of more than I ever imagined and that I am richer than the richest sjiek, with all his possessions, in this world.

I am a grateful and thankful person, truly blessed.

1 comment:

  1. That happens when you haven't deleted all formatting... small letters indeed :)