May 22- 30, 2015 / Vianen, & Hoogeven, The Netherlands & Sneek, Friesland.
Our kids are ¾ Dutch,* so one goal of this trip was for them to see where their people come from in the Netherlands.
We started by meeting up with Dwayne’s family, who all came over from Canada. What a joy to see family after months away from home. We biked around the little villages in Gelderland where my mother-in-law grew up, and we even had coffee with the people who are living in the house where she was born. Lovely.
After a brief stop in Amsterdam, we visited my father's side of the family. We first stayed with my cousins, Frank & Elly, Henk, Lisanne, and Gerwin, and then my Aunt Jannie & Uncle Henk. Our kids fell in easily with their second cousins – skipping, playing with a remote control mini-drone, and doing some more cycling. And then we met up with my dad in Sneek, ("Snake") Friesland and he showed us around where he grew up.
My dad, Frederick Wind, was born to a family with 13 children, but he was the only one to move to Canada. So I grew up knowing that I had a dozen uncles and aunts in the NL, umpteen cousins and various other relations. I used to think I must be related to at least a quarter of the population of Friesland. So it was not surprising that the neighbours living next door to our Air BnB in Friesland turned out to be "Wind's". Sounds like our grandfathers were cousins. Ha!
We also saw all my aunts and uncles at the 100th birthday party for my dad’s oldest sister, Nellie. I loved watching my 97-year-old shuffle forward with her walker, and bend over every so slowly to give her big sister a kiss. Zoe did a great job at the mouthful that is “happy birthday” in Dutch – “hartelijk gefeliciteerd met uw verjaardag”. And Isaac declared that "Dutch 100th birthday soup" was as good as Tim Horton’s Italian wedding soup. High praise for him.
During our recent travels in Turkey and Africa, we’ve often stuck out. For example, when our WWOOFing host in Turkey met us at the train station, he immediately picked us out in the crowd. We didn't look Turkish, apparently! Nor did we look particularly Moroccan or Spanish. But in the Netherlands, we could blend right in. And that was kind of fun.
Here are a few photos of our last two weeks there. Please click on an image to enlarge it.
* And 1/18th Irish (Editor)