Day 66: Family History

Jeff’s grandfather wrote a “blog” back in 1993.  He wrote it on a word processing machine as a memorandum to his children and their spouses and grandchildren and anyone else who would like to read it someday.  It is 52 pages long and we are reading it as a family, a bit each night, to better understand our family history and our connection to World War 2, especially while we’re living in Europe.

Jeff used Google Maps the other night to map out all the locations his Grandfather traveled from England to Northern France and into Germany and Austria. We are hoping to trace some of his steps as we plan our travels, and learn more about history in a more tangible way.

Route of Jeff’s grandfather in World War II as an artillery battery commander in XX (20th) Corps Artillery, in General Patton’s U.S. Third Army

Tonight we learned about how his Grandfather proposed to his Grandmother after only 3 days knowing her. She was 16 and accepted his proposal. They’ve been married for almost 70 years and are such wonderful people and role models for us. I love how they love each other and have supported one another and survived the struggle of miles apart, a major war, and raising 4 children.  I remember his Grandmother telling me how she traveled across the United States in a station wagon with the 4 kids all by herself, without air conditioning. Can you imagine her journey? And can you imagine having your first child and raising it on your own with your spouse away at war? And being the spouse away from your wife and newborn child and not able to meet your offspring for 2 years? We have nothing to complain about!!

Our lives are so much easier today than theirs were years ago. Even though we may complain about the inefficiencies we experience while living abroad and hearing that things aren’t possible, we know how fortunate we are. We accept the challenges and just flow through the frustrations.

Here’s a silly example: today we were trying to get our cell phone plans reactivated and we ran into a software glitch that didn’t make any sense. The sales guy apologized and offered to help but there was nothing he could do until Monday. We looked at each other and just smiled and accepted that things aren’t always as easy as they should be. Whatever… it’s not the end of the world, and we’re learning a little patience!  We don’t expect things to be as efficient as we’re used to in the States and we realize we are outliers in the Netherlands. It makes me appreciate and empathize with all the immigrants that settle in the United States. I’m sure their journey is filled with struggles that are much more challenging  than what we’ve faced and I admire their tenacity and willingness to work past the hurdles. You know who you are!!

Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend, and spending it with those you love.

xo Adriana

2 thoughts on “Day 66: Family History

  1. Adriana – your writings are so beautiful – you’ve got such a gift and I’m glad that you are sharing it. I’m excited about your journey and the connection that you are making with family across time and space. At the end of your stay you will find that living abroad does weird things – you’ll go back home and notice that some things back home aren’t as efficient as they were in Holland; but those other things – you’ll be glad that you’ve got the efficiency back. This is absolutely the case for us. Some things the UK does way more efficiently and we wish we had those in our lives; but for other things that we’ve got used to the in US, we’d hate to give them up. It’s a weird dichotomy and because of the exposure to both, you end up wishing you could have it all! But you’re right – with whatever we have, we’re ever so, ever so, much luckier than most.

Connect and share...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s