Kathryn arrived on Wednesday and if you’ve been following our story from the beginning, you know that this is the realization of a long fought battle. We’re thrilled that she’s here! As we were planning for this expat adventure, we wanted more than anything to share it with her. Kathryn is half Dutch and though she’s been exposed to some Dutch culture, she has never experienced Holland. She got a tour of our little town on arrival and after acquiring a bike on Thursday, a bike tour of Brunssum, Sittard and environs.

We brought her to Haarlem for a long weekend to explore the area where her grandparents grew up. We drove in on Friday night and stayed at a B&B in the old part of the city. We spent all day Saturday exploring the city. The Grote Markt, Frans Hals Museum, St. Bavo Church and the Corrie ten Boom House were on our to-do list. Dick and I missed the Frans Hals Museum and Corrie ten Boom house during our last trip to NL because they were closed. Frans Hals was much bigger than I expected; it’s full of 17th century Dutch paintings by various artists besides Frans Hals. We enjoyed some Dutch treats at the market — kibbeling and warm stroopwafels. And we listened to a women’s choir sing as we did a quick tour of St. Bavo.

The Corrie ten Boomhuis was quite an experience. I was first introduced to Haarlem and the atrocities of WWII through The Hiding Place, Corrie’s story about her family, how they helped Jews and their fate at the hands of the Nazis. I read the book when I was about 14 yrs old and it had a lasting impact on me. I also read some of Corrie’s other books. The house tour began with 26 people crammed into the living room to listen to the guide’s summary of who the ten Boom family was and what they did. The rest of the tour was a rather rushed walk through of the upper floor where there was an exhibit and then a view of the room where the hiding place was. The guide gathered us all together again in the dining room (crammed in again). It was interesting to see the house, though it is not much like it was in Corrie’s time there (except for the hiding place). The best part of the tour was how the guide related the message that Corrie herself told over and over to audiences around the world throughout her life. There can be hope in suffering, miracles happen, Jesus saves, love and forgiveness are possible because we are loved and forgiven.

After a long walk to our car, we headed to Zandvoort and the North Sea. It was extremely windy on the coast, which was evidently good for kiteboarding. There were many, many kiteboarders out there and it was fun to watch! ​

​We walked along the beach and did a quick step into the sea — it was chilly. We drove through Zandvoort and then stopped at a pannekoeken house on the way back. We had to wait way too long for our food, but pannekoeken is worth the wait! 

At the end of the day, we drove by Opa’s childhood home and then to Oma’s childhood home. Kathryn has heard stories about their families and hopefully it will have a little more meaning now that she can picture the setting.

As I read this over, it seems like a rather dry summary of a very full day. I think I’ll have more to say after the trip is over. πŸ™‚

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