Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Holland in the Spring is Spectacular

I recently found myself with a couple of free days and decided it was time for another little adventure. I was torn between exploring somewhere new or returning to Holland to visit a dear friend and see the famous tulips - I chose Holland, and am very glad that I did. It was a sunny weekend full of delicious food, good conversations, and beautiful things.

We went to this quaint fishing village on the harbor where they still have beautiful, old wooden fishing boats. There was an open-air market, and it was here that I got to have my first hot and fresh stroopwafle, which was delicious! I picked up some fresh red currants as we strolled through the market, and that afternoon made a pear-currant pie.


The next day we arrived at the Kuekenhof Gardens bright and early. The flowers were far above and beyond anything I had imagined. Having lived in the Skagit Valley for many years, I have seen my fair share of tulip fields, but these display gardens were truly amazing. They were filled with every color and shape imaginable and the theme of the gardens this year is Van Gogh. We saw so much beauty in the three hours we walked through the gardens, and yet there was still much more to see. However, the crowds were growing thicker by the minute, so we headed off to the seashore for the afternoon.

They say that we are either a mountain person or an ocean person - I'm not sure why we have to choose one or the other, but I have long contended that I am a mountain person, and yet, there is something about being in the presence of the ocean that is empowering and freeing. I think that the mountains will always be "home" for me, but the ocean lures me into a state of relaxation that offers true rest, and my soul opens up to new possibilities. And thus, my first visit to the North Sea was a very pleasant surprise. A bonus to an already delightful day.

This trip helped me reconcile with a part of who I am... for as long as I can remember I have preferred my world to be neat and orderly (you can ask my family about this). In general, I think this is a good character trait; however, over the years this has been ridiculed by some and exploited by others. As a reaction to this, I have tried to hide and deny this character trait, only to have it become distorted into some unhealthy control issues when I am struggling to find order in the midst of chaos. However, little-by-little I have been rediscovering the beauty and strength of this character trait. This was affirmed for me when I was wondering why I like Holland so much, and I realized that the country is neat and orderly, clean and tidy. This place was reflecting back to me part of who I am. This year abroad I am learning that I can survive amidst chaos and live in the midst of messiness, but I thrive in the presence of orderliness and natural beauty.


  1. Alright so, I don't think my last comment posted. If it did, well, now you'll have it twice.

    Way to rock the pics. Well done. Looks like a great trip.


  2. You've summed up my mental dilemma so poetically: Denver or Seattle (though really Seattle has both, right?!) .... mountains or ocean? I love that you're on the path to rediscovering what's most important to you and enjoying the journey.