I never imagined in a million years that I’d feel at home here as much as I do now. Home is the Netherlands now, but I grew up in the USA. I moved to the Netherlands to be with my Dutch boyfriend. Moving somewhere new can be really hard, especially moving to a new country. It’s been a little over a year and a half since I left the states, but I still miss it a lot sometimes.
Missing the Comforts
I miss the 24-hour grocery stores. The coffee shops that are open late. Driving a car, everyone speaking English, Twizzlers, and freshly baked bagels. The comfort of knowing everything around me, especially my friends. And most of all, I miss my family.
I have 14 biological siblings. I also have two foster siblings. I spent so much time with my family when I lived in the states. This is the time of the year that has always been the most treasured by me. The time when the summer was coming to a close. The leaves are ready to start changing colors. The temperature starts dropping. I love it when it starts getting chilly enough to wear thick cozy clothing and sit down to a steaming hot cup of cocoa, Hershey’s, of course.
Today, I was reminded that even though I’m very far from my family, there are still ways I can feel at home. My boyfriend and I took a bike ride today. We often take bike rides as many people do here. We normally take a similar route every time among the farms closest to our home. Today we decided to go another route. We first biked through some of our city, Roosendaal, and then eventually ended up in farmland.
We biked through fields of sheep grazing in the grass, eating apples. Huge windmills all around. It was so windy. I felt like I was being blown away. But I didn’t mind it that much. It was a beautiful sight. Biking a little further down, we found cornfields, apple orchards. I was instantly at home. You see, corn and apples are something of my youth, something that reminds me of the fun I had in my childhood.
Every year, my family and I would go to Apple Holler. It’s an apple orchard in Wisconsin. Not only can you pick apples there, but there are so things to do. They had a petting zoo, a restaurant, and a corn maze. I had so much fun picking apples with my siblings. Biting straight into a fresh juicy apple straight off the tree. I loved running after my siblings through the corn maze. We took so many bags of the apples that we picked together home and baked my grandmother’s delicious apple cake with them.
We went every single year. I can’t remember a year not going to Apple Holler. It was one of my most anticipated activities every year. Maybe that’s why I love the fall so much. I even went again a few years ago as an adult because of how much I love it. Going as an adult was a bit more fun because I could try all the deliciousness the restaurant had to offer, being that I’m no longer observing the laws of Kosher.
I was reminded of all that today. The air reeked of rotting apples that didn’t make it into the picking basket and fresh apples still growing on the trees. The stench didn’t bother me. The chilly air smelled of my childhood. The start of the Jewish year, and all the holidays coming up. It was always my favorite time of the year. The cornfield reminded me of playing in the corn maze growing up, spending time with my family. Stepping into the cornfield filled with growing corn on their large stalks transported me home.
My family and I ate a lot of corn growing up. We would barbecue it still in its husk, bake it in the oven or boil it in water on the stove. Either way, we always slathered tons of margarine and salt. It was a delicious snack. When we didn’t eat it on the cob, we’d put the corn kernels into a salad. We’d also get dried corn kernels, so we could pop them into popcorn. We ate so much popcorn.
My Favorite Season
Fall signals the end of the warm weather, but it’s still my favorite season. I love the way the air smells and feels, the leaves turning all sorts of beautiful colors, apple picking time, pumpkins, and starting to cozy up in sweaters and with blankets.
The Feeling of Home Will Come
You see, just because you move somewhere new, it doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to feel at home. With the right people and the right environment, you can be transported back to your childhood, and your hometown. I spent plenty of time being sad, feeling homesick, and wanting to go home, but today, I felt right at home here, thousands of miles away from my hometown.
If you’re living away from your hometown, don’t give up. You will meet those people that make you feel loved. You will find your own traditions and gain experiences that will remind you of your home growing up. Just have faith and be patient.
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If you ever lived away from your hometown, when did you finally feel at home in the place you moved to?