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Blogging Against Disablism Day 2013- I Took My Parents To Holland

May 1, 2013

It’s Blogging Against Disablism Day 2013. 

This year, my contribution is called I Took My Parents To Holland. Enjoy!

I Took My Parents To Holland

It’s been over twenty years now since I took my parents to Holland. They had been planning a trip to Italy for some time. There weren’t many guide books for visitors to Italy where they came from at the time, but they asked their friends to teach them some useful words of the language. They made wonderful plans. The Mona Lisa. The rivers of Venice. The leaning tower of Pisa. It was all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrived. My parents packed their bags, and off they went. Several hours later, the plane landed. A stranger greeted my parents and said “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?” My parents asked in confusion. “Why are we in Holland? We signed up for Italy! We’re supposed to be in Italy. All our lives we’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there was a change in the flight plan. They had landed in Holland and there they had to stay.

They soon realised that Holland was not horrible, filthy, or disgusting. They were not left alone to starve. No, Holland was just a different place.

My parents went out and bought new guide books. They learnt a new language. They met a whole new group of people who they would never otherwise have met, and those people became their special friends.

And the best part about my parents and their unexpected trip to Holland was that, with their great patience, and with great love, they read the guide books to me. They taught me the language of Holland. They introduced me to their special friends, and very soon, those same people became my special friends, who I would not have met if I had lived in Italy.

Holland is just different to Italy. It’s slower-paced than Italy. It’s less flashy than Italy. But when we had all been there for a while, we caught our breath. And when we looked around Holland, we found lovely windmills, colourful tulips, and paintings that looked, to us, better than the Mona Lisa.

But everyone my parents knew had started coming and going from Italy. So sometimes, my parents would say “That’s where we were supposed to go. That’s what we had planned.” And sometimes, I, too, wished we had all gone to Italy.

And the pain of that will never, ever, completely go away, because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss for all of us. Sometimes, I still wish we hadn’t lost that dream.

But it’s not as if we have spent all our time mourning the fact that we didn’t get to Italy. We are all free to enjoy the very lovely, special things about Holland.

The slow pace of Holland has been an unexpected gift. We have all learnt to slow down in ways too, and look closer at things, with appreciation for Holland and its windmills, tulips, and paintings better than the Mona Lisa. We have all come to love Holland and call it Home.

Some of our very special community of friends have moved away from Holland. We think they may have gone to Italy. But they come back to Holland from time to time for visits. They remember their time living in Holland with great affection. They even want to come back to stay. They tell us that Italy is not all it used to be.

Holland is slower paced and less flashy than Italy. But Holland is a place that, once you land, catch your breath and look around, few people ever really want to leave.

I took my parents to Holland. Today, all of us call Holland home, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Shan permalink
    May 1, 2013 2:33 am

    Truly lovely. (Will you consider tweeting with #BADD2013 so more people will find it?)

  2. samedifference1 permalink*
    May 1, 2013 2:41 am

    Done! Thanks for the suggestion. And of course the compliment!

  3. weebles1703 permalink
    May 1, 2013 10:57 am

    Love it x brilliant piece of writing 🙂

  4. samedifference1 permalink*
    May 1, 2013 11:44 am

    Thank you!

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