Wednesday, 21 May 2014

It's time...

Yep, the time has come to write the last post of  my Return Journey.

Well, I arrived home on Wednesday 14th May, after a 24 hour journey, which went very well. Incidentally for those who feel Australia is too far away, or conversely, Europe is too far away, it really is only ONE day of your life to get there. Just 24 hours. OK, it might be a little annoying to hang in the sky for 21 hours (with a 3 hour break in Singapore) but hey, in 1957 it took our family 6 weeks to travel from Holland to Sydney in a refurbished troop carrier without stabilizers. It included 14 days on the Indian Ocean between Capetown and Fremantle, a very frightening storm in the Great Australian Bight and lots of seasickness before we finally and safely docked in Sydney to begin our Australian life. But that's another story, maybe a story for another blog...

So there really is very little left to tell. The last few days were spent attending Mieke's church and visiting her garden house once more in the pouring rain. Because of the wonderful spring temperatures this year, the shrubs, annuals and salad greens have just grown to maturity in no time at all. Most of the ground was still very wet and bare when I first arrived, but now the ground is covered in greenery with many plants growing very tall and wide.
The garden is growing like crazy!
The little garden cottage is coming together inside too, with just the need for some kind of heating to be able to stay there overnight during summer nights and window coverings.
A typical Dutch evening meal of veggies and oh! meat. :-)

On Sunday afternoon we visited our friend Sita at Bruekelen once again. She cooked us a delicious typical Dutch meal of vegetables and meat. If you ask a Dutch person what they had for dinner, they will name a vegetable eg: we had (green) beans,whereas an Aussie will always name the cut of meat they had.
With Sita at her home

So much stuff to pack!
On Monday 12th May, the day before I left, I needed to pack! I had not taken my own advice to travel as light as I said I would. Well, in one way I had, because I only took a smallish case with me, plus a soft carry on bag, but both of those were fairly full (see my case here) and I wore almost every piece of clothing I brought during my stay in Holland, but I could have done with a bigger case really. I bought a fair amount of souvenirs/gifts and also some boots and clothes to take home with me.  Anyway, long story short, Mieke, who is a master packer because she has traveled so much and has packed so many cases, came to my rescue. She managed to pack EVERYTHING in the 2 bags and some extra bits and pieces went into a shopping bag. All packed and we did some more shopping, home for a coffee, then over to Nelleke's place for a beautiful home cooked dinner. (Thanks Nelleke for your hospitality! Truly appreciated.) On our way home we took a detour into the countryside to watch the sun set over the many waterways, the farms and a church steeple in the distance. Then home and off to bed for my last night in Holland.

Last coffees at Schiphol Airport
Flying home day dawned pretty early for me. I think I was up at 5.15 am and was showered, dressed, breakfasted and ready to go by about 7.15! Off in the car by 7.50 and guess what, we got stuck in the 'file' or the queue, or in Aussie, peak hour traffic, but we had plenty of time. After arrival at Schiphol, luggage check in and a long 'gezellige' coffee with Mieke, we said our goodbyes with many hugs and even a little has been so special getting to know each other again after all these years and I was so well looked after by her. (Thanks and hugs Mieke!)

 A final wave after going through customs and I was on my own to find my flight departure gate. The flight was slow to get off the ground and left about 45 minutes after scheduled because of the heavy airport traffic. The flight to Singapore went well.. I watched 3! movies! and they certainly keep you occupied by feeding you well! Singapore air staff are just wonderful and look after everyone with such patience and lovely smiles. After a three hour stopover in Singapore I was off to Brisbane at last.

How wonderful it was to come out of immigration to be greeted by not only Ross, but ALL my 4 girls! Their smiling faces and love for me blew me away and I couldn't help but cry and embrace them all at once, even with the barricade between us!
We headed to Tonia's house for tea/coffee and lots of happy laughter, chatting and giving out my souvenirs. Happy and tired we headed off to finally be home and in my own bed!

My beautiful family

It's a week on now and I'm still trying to get over my jet lag. Hope it goes away soon, because I'm really tired of falling asleep at inappropriate times of the day.
I'm back at work and driving my lovely special needs boys to and from school again. So all is just about back to normal routine.

And with that, I will put this blog to bed. For good.
 It's been an amazingly wonderful journey.
 It was a journey of many emotions, and some of these were:
  • The first time I saw the Dutch flag flying high in the sky above Keukenhof gardens.
  • The first strains of the St Matthew's Passion in a beautiful old Amsterdam church
  • Walking through my home town
  • When I heard the pipe organ played by my second cousin Klaas, especially for me, in my childhood church
  • Meeting up with family members and old friends after many decades
  • Travelling through the flat Dutch landscape with its many waterways, green meadows, church steeples, dairy cows, sheep, windmills and quaint houses
  • Walking among the throng of celebrating thousands in Amsterdam on the first ever King's Birthday 
  • Coming back a second time to my hometown to attend morning church service. So special
  • Standing in the building which was once my home. The place where I was born
  • The kindness of everyone I met. It was overwhelming. Simpy wonderful
 As I wrote in a card to thank my sister Mieke:
"I feel rather teary as I write this (I even had a little cry during the night) - after all, this quaint country was also once my home and I reckon my roots are actually pretty deep, deeper than I thought."

Will I return once more?
Only time will tell...

Hugs and love to all my readers.
Sunset over Waterland, near Amsterdam - last evening in Holland around 10.30pm


  1. Thanks...I'm sorry that this blog is now finished! :-( I enjoyed writing it and reading your comments.


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