The first family I lived with in the Netherlands (in my program you lived with three different families so that you got a diverse experience since no one family is representative of how everyone lives) lived 3 houses from the dyke on what was a huge orchard. I've been back to visit them several times while living in and visiting the Netherlands.
This last visit, I walked around the grounds and seriously have no memory of it being such a beautiful place. How did I miss that? It's on a canal (they used to have a boat there) and the mother still has a wonderful garden and works to bring back heirloom varieties of some of the original orchard trees.
It wasn't exactly easy living there all those years ago. The kids were a lot younger than me and no one in that village went to my school (my other two families were close to the school) so it was rather lonely. I had very few friends and they all lived much closer to the school. I had no confidence in my ability to learn the language and so I struggled with it (one day, after months and months and months of living in the Netherlands it was as if a switch flipped and I realized I could speak Dutch). Plus, you know, I was a moody teenager.
I have a much better relationship with that set of parents now that I'm an adult. They are really very lovely people and I enjoy visiting them.
|You can see the dyke here; keeping out the Ijsselmeer. It really isn't very high.|
|She really does wear these when working in the garden!|
What is your first home away from home? Have your feelings about it changed over time?