Year Two in Holland

It’s been two years since I arrived in Holland. I still swear I booked a flight to Paris, or Rome, or another one of those over romanticized cities. But somehow I arrived in Holland instead, and the ticket was non refundable. Believe me, I tried to change my destination. I argued, I pleaded, I begged the lady at the ticket counter, but she made it very clear that this was the place I would be going to, and there was nothing I could do about it. So I waited, and let me tell you, waiting to board the plane was excruciating.

“I don’t even know where Holland is! What language do they speak?! What is the food like?! I know NOTHING about this place and now I just have to go there? No questions? That’s just it? No other option? It’s Holland or nowhere?”

The flight felt like years. I paid for the overly expensive WiFi and researched as much as I could before I landed. Most of what I read made my destination sound even less appealing, but by the time I landed I felt slightly more prepared to enter this strange unknown country.

The landing was bumpier than expected and by the time the plane touched the ground I was eager to see what this country I have researched at length was all about. Stepping off the plane and finally seeing Holland changed everything. It was like I was seeing color for the first time. Mountainous fields of vibrant poppies met my gaze, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It took my breath away, and suddenly I wasn’t so afraid anymore. I was here, and it was perfect, and looking at the new adventure in front of me, I knew that Paris or Rome would never compare to Holland.

So here I am, year two in Holland. The streets are easier to navigate now, I’m almost fluent in the language, and I’ve become a regular at all the local spots, and as much as I love this place, I can still get lost navigating the twist and turns of its inner cities. Sometimes I catch myself fantasizing about what Paris or Rome is like this time of year. I wonder how much easier it is to find a decent place to eat, or if I would have more time to just sit back and enjoy the view. Because in Holland I find myself worrying a lot. What will the weather be like tomorrow? Next month? A year from now? Will I be able to handle the bitter colds of winter as much as I enjoy the warm sun of summer? And the language in Holland is ever changing. Sometimes I feel like I am finally getting a grasp on it but then a new dictionary comes out and I’m trying to play catch up again. It can be difficult living here, with it’s confusing maps and every changing language, but right when I feel like I’m going to be lost forever, I round the corner and discover the cutest, perfect little coffee shop where I can sit and relax and enjoy myself once more.