Celebrating Holland-I'm Home
By Cathy Anthony, Vancouver, BC
(my 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 travellers 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 travellers 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