An Easter To Remember

Lovely Gnomys from Annekebouke

Lovely gifts: Gnomys by Annekebouke

Today I remember an unusual Easter, 21 years ago, in a Dutch village far away.

We were young and living the grad student family life in Lawrence, Kansas, with a 2-year-old daughter and another baby on the way.  My husband’s studies were nearing an end and he accepted a job offer – in the Netherlands.  I had traveled out of the country only once, and the thought of an international move was daunting.

We were heading to the unknown and this was pre-internet, so my resources consisted of a few books about Holland at the local library.  A Dutch acquaintance offered to introduce me to a “relative of a relative” who happened to live near the town where my husband’s office was located.  I wrote a letter introducing myself and asked questions about midwives, housing and a few other concerns and sent it air mail to Holland.

A few weeks later, the phone rang.

It was Els.

She had located a midwife and made an appointment, found all of the information I needed regarding housing and answered my other questions.  “I noticed that you arrive the day before Easter.  I always have a brunch and will come by to pick you up at 9:00.  Ok?”

At 9:00 on Easter morning, Els arrived in her van and transported us to her home.  The entire day was a bit of a blur, with an Easter egg hunt in the garden, a wonderful breakfast with extended family (and very welcome strong Dutch coffee) followed in the afternoon by a boat tour around the canals of Leiden.  We didn’t leave until bed time and by the end of the day, we were exhausted.  But Els understood jet lag and although I could barely keep my eyes open I thanked her later!

She also understood moving to another country, and we discovered that we lived not so far away from each other in the U.S. for a few years.  She understood raising a family with lots of creativity and limited means and donated furniture when she realized we had left almost everything behind.  Els adopted us like her own family from the moment we met.

This morning we had a quiet brunch with just the three of us at home.  Els had a houseful of visitors, decorating with her usual creative flair and hiding the eggs carefully in the garden for the little ones to discover.  We’re far apart but I was there in spirit, remembering a wonderful Easter so long ago.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane Fritz
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 19:24:14

    Lovely story, Kim. Thanks for sharing. And isn’t it a real privilege to be able to live in another country for a few years? It is so enriching – and it leaves you with a lifetime of memories. Happy Easter.

    Reply

    • puravida
      Apr 01, 2013 @ 12:53:40

      Jane, living in Holland and then London was both wonderful and life-changing. Now my daughters have the same overwhelming desire to see the world, live in other countries, meet people, learn languages, experience other cultures. It’s a privilege and a gift.

      Reply

  2. Els
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 13:49:58

    Hi Kim
    How nice to read back this part of history.
    Your writing is so vivid.( If that is the right way to say it)
    I am Duch after all ( not blond )
    Your years in Holland were very importand to me, because I met someone
    I can call my friend now!
    With same ideas, same spirit, same whishes.
    Whish you were not so far away.
    Love Els

    Reply

    • puravida
      Apr 01, 2013 @ 13:57:29

      As you know, Els, the feeling is very mutual! We’ve been through a lot in 21 years and whether it’s through a blog, e-mail, phone or psychic messages, we communicate somehow and it’s great to know we’re lifelong friends

      Reply

  3. Sophie33
    Apr 05, 2013 @ 02:55:38

    Oooh,..;what a ebautifuls tory of a part of your lives! I live in Belgium, by the way! 🙂 xxx

    Reply

  4. Sophie33
    Apr 05, 2013 @ 02:56:18

    I meant a beautiful story,…

    Reply

    • puravida
      Apr 05, 2013 @ 08:35:22

      Thanks, Sophie! It’s a friendship full of wonderful stories. It’s been a long time since I was able to visit Belgium – I’m now living in the US. But I have good memories. Especially enjoyed the Spanish restaurants in Brussels!

      Reply

  5. Layle
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 14:52:31

    Kim, I love all this connecting!! And Els is correct. You write so vividly. I always feel as though I am wherever it is that you are describing. I love reading these, too. Keep writing, girl!

    Reply

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