10 days new












Ten days into the new year, and I have flown across a world, eaten my weight in salamis and cheese, run three times, met three deadlines, written three picture book stories, celebrated my daughter’s birthday {again}, learnt to ice-skate {again}, listened to endless conversations in Dutch, moved into two different homes, and have still not unpacked.

My body clock is doing funny things, though that could also be the town clock doing funny things every half hour across the road. My children are blissfully surrounded by 6, 7 8…maybe 9 adults most of the day, who talk to them about funny things, and make them laugh. We have made little friends too, and already my kids’ Dutch is emerging.

We ran away from 2015 at a million knots per hour, packing down a house to make it ready for tenants, and packing up a life that fits into suitcases. It was hard to do much else, between the work and the house, and Christmas, and my daughter’s birthday party. Life had a habit of putting me in front of the telly around 9 or 10 at night, too tired to write. Too empty to create anything of value.

The last few days, I have been cursing my lack of creativity. Write. Come on, write. But I knew I was being harsh on myself. Between everything, I was expecting more. And I’m sorry, Zanni, but it just doesn’t work like that.

I am up at 4.30 on the other side of the world, and it won’t be dark until 9am. I feel like I’ve opened the chrysalis.

We spent the day in the fine city of Utrecht yesterday, just us, eating chips. Drinking Belgium beer. Hanging out. The streets were charged with Saturday gaiety. While my children shared a glorious slice of pink cake in a low-lit bar yesterday evening, my daughters and I wove a story about two rabbits living in a busy city.

And in the rush of a new and spectacular place, my energy started to reform. That is what I like about travelling, and living in another place. It’s the newness. The excitement. The inspiration.

Northern Europe is so wonderfully different to my suburban corner of the world, where I virtually grew up. It is so old. It is so beautiful. Yes, it’s a little dark – and although you wait for it, the sound of birds never comes. But it is new, yet comfortable and familiar.

How has your year begun? Do you get all the good feelings? Hope wherever you find yourself, something inspires you too. x

Photos from Veere, in Zeeland, taken before my camera stopped working – sob.

  • I can so relate to this feeling of shock but also a sense of rightness. I’ve shared with you before our Canada experience. We were only home in Australia 11 weeks having adopted our son in China when we left to live a year in the cold of Canada. The paperwork still makes my head spin. But that newness, the aliveness even in a cold, winter climate has to be experienced. Savour it.

    • I will Kathy! Travelling with kids certainly has its drawbacks {living out of a suitcase, for one!} but is worth it! x