Day 276: Two Lives

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Everyone assumes I’m excited to move back home and I am. But I’m also nervous and have anxiety over it. I want to move back and I want to live here a bit longer. And I get to do both, but I have stress about moving and leaving my home here. My life is good here in Holland. And my life was good in California. It’s that yin and yang thing that is constant. And I’ll flow with whatever comes my way, but it does cause stress and I just wanted to mention that as I feel it and move through it.

I have great friends, who I enjoy every single day here. And I have great friends with shared history back home who are waiting for us and want us back (thank goodness) who we want to see and hug and hang out with again too.

But today I hung out with my friends here – I picked up Charlie from Joseine’s house and shared a cup of coffee with her, while the kids played outside and ran around together and talked us into another sleepover. How could I say no? We walked over to see her new home being built and she shared with me the details that she’s been planning for a year and a half, if not longer. She is passionate and I loved hearing and seeing her vision, and that she was sharing it with me. She is quietly proud and chose to let m be a part of her journey and dream, which I think is really cool. It made me not want to move just yet, because I won’t be here when it’s completed and I want to see it and be a part of her joy. I know I can come back someday, but I want to be here for the housewarming when it’s all done. You get it, right?

At the same time as I was enjoying my friends here, Jeff is back in California and enjoying our friends there. He went to Jessie’s soccer game and saw her score a goal.

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He went to Costco and bought ribs to grill/smoke on the Traeger with Steve and is enjoying his last day there before heading back to us in Holland, probably drinking a tasty margarita in a green glass from Megan, with salt!! He went to deliver gifts to Becca from Juliana and helped to keep us connected with our loved ones back home. I love that he is there enjoying the yin and I’m here enjoying the yang. 😉

As he was getting ready to grill, we were just leaving a BBQ with Patti Beth & Amy & Mindy and their families. The weather was sunny and cool, and the kids – both young and old, played together, laughing and chasing and enjoying one another. The parents all brought food and wine to share and we had a potluck – just like we do in California.

It’s weird, in a good way.

Knowing that we’re leaving makes me savor the moment more than ever. I’m hyper aware that there won’t be many more and so I want to be 100% present and I am, and it’s weird to feel that. It’s kinda like a gift to really enjoy and appreciate your friends. I know, I’m sappy. It’s just who I am. I’ve always been like this and will probably drive my kids nuts. Hopefully I’ll know when to be quiet. 😉 I’m sure they’ll let me know.

During the car ride to J’s house, the sun was shining, flowers were blooming everywhere and Jack Johnson sang to me:

“And there will always be stop and go and fast and slow
Action, reaction, sticks and stones and broken bones
Those for peace and those for war
And god bless these ones, not those ones
But these ones made times like these
And times like those
What will be will be
And so it goes
And it always goes on and on…
On and on it goes

But somehow I know it won’t be the same
Somehow I know it will never be the same.”

And so it goes…

Namaste, friends. Thanks for reading and sharing this crazy journey. xo

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Day 172: Nieuwjaarsduik or New Year’s Dip / Dive

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Vinkeveen Lake – A sunny day for a freezing dip.

People say to me that it seems like I’ve settled quickly in Holland and that it feels like I’ve been here forever.

I’ll tell you my secret.

It’s family and friends that helped me to feel like I belong here and that Holland is also my home.

Home is where the heart is and having friends and family that love you and support you and want to drink coffee and wine (or margaritas) together, and to share meals and to play and explore together makes all the difference.

I AM home.

I’ve been so very lucky and fortunate to have family that helped us to adapt and helped us get our house furnished. They helped to make us feel welcome and came to visit us multiple times, and have invited us to their homes for dinners and birthday celebrations and this made us feel a part of this country, right away and at home.

My friends from the States connected me with their friends living close by, and their friends reached out and brought us gifts and invited us to their homes for coffee and dinner conversations. Thank you Simone, Ruth, Birgitta, and Pauline.

I’ve also been able to make friends through our school, our neighborhood and through tennis, and I swear, that makes all the difference in the world. My new friends are not only expats either, for which I’m also thankful.  I love that we’ve been accepted and welcomed and have been able to experience Dutch culture and language and friendship.

Today I’m thankful for Joseine and Barbara. They are both Netherland Natives and are friends, whose kids are friends and who have made friends with Charlie. See how that works?  Joseine introduced me to Barbara and Barbara invited me to her home today to enjoy a Dutch tradition of welcoming the New Year by jumping in the lake for a New Year’s Refreshing Dip – for all who are brave enough to endure!  Thank you Barbara for inviting me to be a part of this fun and exciting day. I only wish Jeff could have been in town to be a part of it too.

I think you’ll enjoy the pictures of the adventurous spirits who celebrated this tradition and those who chose the saner path, bundled up on the side with warm glasses of gluhwein and warme chocolademelk, with cameras in hand.  Be well, my friends, and Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

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This is Charlie – thinking about going in, although he touched the water with his foot and chose to warm up in the hot tub first. Smart boy!

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These are the cute, beautiful and smart girls who took pictures from the side!

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I love this picture!!! Look at the lighting. This is a father and son duo – and I think there is just something pretty cool about this bonding experience!

Charlie’s Jump!

OMG – It’s so cold!

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Yippeee! Look at the lighting! It was 30 degrees outside and who knows how cold the water was. Juliana took this picture.

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This guy was “warm” inside the kitchen. What a great place for a fish tank.

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Barbara is so creative and made these for all the brave participants! I love it!

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Check out my big, brave, Dutch boys!