First, we stayed with my mom (and got spoiled) and traveled back and forth between Enschede (where I grew up) and Losser (where Robert grew up). Just like old times... (very old times). The weather was lovely for a change. Visiting with family was oer-gezellig (non-translatable, means we had a great time). Tea with one of my 'besties' in high school was also gezellig and wonderful.
Isn't it beautiful in Twenthe? (area in the province of Overijsel). I could not get enough of driving/walking through the country side and taking it all in, trying to memorize this landscape that is so familiar to my soul.
Another one of the (many) highlights was meeting my niece Bente. We took the train to Gronau (in Germany) to see the Stadsgarten / City park, where there were playgrounds and also some animals. For Bente, the best part of the train was walking up and down a small ramp while singing : "wheeeee". We had lunch in Gronau, and later on we had dinner at a Dutch Pancake house. A fabulous day, and I was glad and sad at the same time, because it is hard that I am not really a part of either of my niece's lives.
|Bente and my love on the playground|
|see how much fun we could have - with Hanneke and Olivia|
And back home now, I realize that it is beautiful here as well- I knew that of course. But my heart is torn into little pieces all over the globe. And if home is where the heart is...
|dinner at Paradise, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant where my mom took us|
Then home is also Utrecht, because the sight of the Dom toren (tower) can still make my heart jump a teeny bit.
We had tea at the foot of the tower with an 'old' friend from high school (how is it that we had not seen each other in over 20 yrs and the conversation was relaxed and easy and felt familiar and normal?), walked around in 'my' city (I went to university here, my love later joined me to obtain his PhD, and Thijs was born here) and then met up with other friends and my youngest cousin (excellently representing the whole family on my mom's side!) for dinner.
So many old and now new memories intermingling. There are many family members and friends we did not see/meet this time (or previous times). But we'll be back some day. And to those we did meet, thank you for making this part of our vacation so fun and fabulous!