This trip continues to delight and amaze. But as the days get shorter, trees start to change colour, flowers go from absolutely stunning to beautiful, the signs are that our summer adventure is coming to a close.
Our time in Holland was very special. I saw a sign saying “Welcome to Holland” and I was immediately reminded of the piece that Hannah received when she was expecting Claire. It attempts to describe part of the emotion experienced when you have a child with special and extra needs, comparing pregnancy with preparation for a journey to a new country, namely Italy, but being told that you have arrived in Holland. The story makes the point that Holland is not a terrible place, just a different one, and one for which you are not prepared. Holland is certainly not a terrible place. Its beauty constantly amazed us and the ingenuity and creativity of its people are very evident. But there is a vulnerability about Holland. The people all live well below sea level and they must be constantly vigilant to prevent the sea from breaching their dykes. I recognised the similarity here too with having a child with extra needs. It is a constant effort, but the results are well worth it. It also requires the cooperation of the community and an understanding of the conditions.
We are now in Switzerland and I am feeling very much at home with good friends. It is a privilege that I am able to share my birthday celebrations with them. I am also delighted that I have been able to share my day seeing and hearing from my wonderful family and friends. Only a few weeks now and quite a few countries and we will be home.