18th of August. After being 2 days in the Netherlands I went for another boost of energy in the mountains in Switzerland. Close to the sun so the internal solar collectors are fully open to recharge. Fresh air, green, cows, rocks, snow, 50 + men and silence. Noise canceling is not needed here unless you want to silence the talking 🙂

Hum, Cedric, Jacco and I were the tough men surviving out in the mountains. Muscle pain, joints pain and fatigue, we have deleted those words from the dictionary. Those words no longer exist. After day 3 we reinstate the words and wrote them down again in the dictionary. I am fully recharged to be home for 2 months in the Netherlands.

Feeling home to me means being in a place where I feel secure. A place where I feel loved. Feeling I’m used to this place, comfortable, safe. A place where I can come to rest, can retreat and being with just me. A place where I can watch the tv show “first date” without apologizing that I am watching it. My truly own place but a little bigger than a bathroom.

Ben, my former neighbor in Almere Haven, asked before I left what I would leave behind and I only came up with a counter question, “Who am I going to meet”. If he were to reintroduce this question now, I would give him a more specific answer. “I leave my home behind.”

When I feel that the end of my stay anywhere is near I get restless. I would therefore like to leave then instant and be home as soon as possible. My family will probably recognize that. During camping holidays I started to clean up a few days before and pull pegs out of the ground. Just wanted to go home and mostly it happens that we got home 2 days earlier. This feeling I also had in recent weeks in Greece.

Strange however that once back in the Netherlands I didn’t feel at home. There is no home. Despite the fact that the Netherlands is so recognizable, so wet and so green I feel somewhat displaced. Of course I met my children, my family and friends and every one of them wanted me to feel at home. But the realisation is that I don’t have a own place, my home.

I stray from daughter to son, brother to brother and from friend to friend. Feeling sometimes as a bother. A few times I booked a caravan or hotel so I feel more or less home.

For 2 months (it should have been only 1) I have sorted out all sorts of things, whether or not to buy or build a house in the Netherlands, figuring out what it’s going to cost me. Certainly also put time to find a new stay abroad. The intended location Vietnam was not going to happen and to my stay here comes irrevocably to an end so I need to find a new place. I had quite a few calls to make, contact many people, search the internet and so on.

I got my hands also dirty, by helping friends and family with moving out, flooring, sanding, glue removal and just some heavy lifting. I “earned” my stay with that.

My stay however is not all about displacement. I did have a wonderful time. Traveling in my own country gave me beautiful moments. I have had very nice outings, weekend breaks, family visits, dinners, wines, hikes. Almere, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Bussum, Barneveld, Lauwersoog, Schiermonnikoog, Roswinkel, Doornspijk, Doesburg, Wittem, Breda, Rotterdam, Made, Zeewolde, Lelystad, Haaren and every place had joy for me.

From my bedroom in Port Elizabeth South Africa, I look back on my stay in the Netherlands and experienced love, warmth, friendship, joy, giving, recognizability and security. All criteria I use to define a home feeling. Only not having my own spot seems to be a big thing! But now with about 13000 km seperating me from the Netherlands, PE may well become my own spot. After all, it’s not written how big that feeling home should be!