It’s Christmas break and the amazing Cami is here! We met last summer at Camp Rising Sun in the United States. Now she is traveling around in Europe and spending crisis with my family. She arrived late last night and today was our first day together. I showed her around by bike. It doesn’t get much more Dutch than that. Cycling in the cold, ice cold december wind.

We visited two small towns. We took a detour through the country side. I showed her the places that meant a lot to me. Where they serve the best food and where the local heros have lived. It made me realise that growing up in a small town is really awesome for a kid. The fresh wind, spacious nature and calm streets is something that I really wish every child would have. Showing guests around shows me old places with new eyes. I learn to appreciate again where I come from and where my roots are.

Over the past few months I have been frustrated about this place. It’s far away from the big cities in the west of the country. I had to deal with stereotypes that exist about this area. I have been rejected for jobs because of the address on my resume. Some moments I really didn’t want to live here anymore. It felt like the downsides of living here outweighed the benefits. And yes, I am going to move again soon, because it is impossible to find work in this area.

However, cycling around today, taught me to be appreciative of trees, nature and sunshine. It’s not like they don’t have all of that in Utrecht or Amsterdam, but there really is no place like home. As I cycle around, memories of my childhood and teenage years fly by. Mostly, fun and wonderful memories, like when I bought my own copy of all of the Jane Austen novels in an old bookstore in Bredevoort. Today I got to pass on a little bit to Cami. She got her own copy of Pride and Prejudice in Bredevoort. Afterwards we went home. Cycling home for Christmas.