On the 1st of October, I arrive again in the Netherlands, in Amersfoort. This is the town where I was born and where I spent the first 19 years of my life. I said goodbye to Ontario, Canada. It is a closed door. The next time I will be back in Canada, it is to visit my son in the Rocky Mountains again and I do hope I get the opportunity to visit him many times more in my life. In a few days time, I will see my daughter in Amersfoort and after one and half year it is time; it has been way too long! My daughter and her Irish boyfriend, who live in Australia, are both going back to their roots, getting to know each others family and friends and I am looking forward to meet her “better half.”
Amersfoort is a historic city and well worth a visit. As a child I never realized that my town consisted of around 500 monuments. This time, we walked on various occasions through the town and every time I discovered more areas, where I had never been before.
We even took a boat tour, which might not be as impressive as in Amsterdam, but still enjoyable with all the funny water outlets and here and there artifacts of the famous painter Mondriaan, who was born in Amersfoort. Climbing the 98 mtr. high tower “Lange Jan” or”Long John” is something I left for another occasion, but is probably very rewarding.
As I realize I might stay in the Netherlands for a while, I have to get used to the Dutch way of life again, all the rules (there are many!), the use of “inappropriate” language on television, the fact that quite an amount of Dutch people don’t look Dutch anymore, and the fact that Dutch people complain about nearly everything.
I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of cars, bicycles, pedestrians and dogs, all coming from various directions at the same time. Roundabouts after every 10 meters. Parents, who juggle with their infants, in carts at the front and/or back of their bikes. Learning how to use the OV card for the train system, not only checking it in, but also OUT and swiping it against the appointed post and NOT the post which says “connecting”…….(thank you for not giving me a fee!)
Realizing that trains not always arrive on time anymore and sometimes they don’t go at all!
I also don’t feel as safe anymore, as while living in Canada. So many devastating things are happening, within such a short distance and you realize again, how vulnerable we are all here in Europe and beyond and how much the world has changed.
Still, I appreciate the beauty of the Netherlands again and the richness of its history and culture, while spending time in some of the most fascinating Dutch cities, during the next coming weeks. This month I have two house sits, one in Leiden and one in Oostvoorne. For me, both areas are very familiar, as I lived there many years ago and I do hope to see some old friends during my stay.