What is it about the changing seasons that captivates us so? There’s a dip in temperature and the leaves turn warm colors. We bundle head to toe in cozy knits and layers. There’s the knowledge that the holiday season is fast approaching. Parties will soon be planned and consist of family and friends gathering together and indulging in good memories.
While these thoughts make me more homesick than ever, I find my peace taking long walks in the park. I grew up in California, where we joke that summer is a year round season. Hoodies are the heaviest winter wear we don (although I have seen peacoats and double breasted jackets) so I came to The Netherlands unprepared. Now that I’ve been here a year, I’ve adjusted a bit more to the drastic weather changes. One day it will be sunny and warm, while the next day might bring nearly a foot of rain.
Sander and I head out for park walks while we still can and they are still so beautiful.
Berries are very common now and since it’s still early autumn, many leaves are still green. Once, as we were biking down a secluded pathway, Sander and I stumbled onto a couple who were picking berries off of the trees. Since it’s a public space, I’m sure it’s more than safe to freely pick the fruits and take them home but we couldn’t figure out what they were picking! There are so many types of berries here but I’d rather not pick something unless I know what it is.
There are paths for everyone here. Trails are made with seashells brought in from nearby beaches. The pleasant crunching under our boots reminds us that here, every resource is used. If the pathways here aren’t paved (for bike routes) they are filled with new seashells every season. It’s nice to take a walk and see some unique shells or rocks under foot. Beats going to the beach this time of the year! It’s cold enough for 2 or 3 layers of knits right now and I can imagine the beach would call for a lot more.
Of course Booker has to come with us. She runs her tail off for a solid 20 minutes and then goes home to sleep the rest of the day. Unfortunately for us, the rainy season brings muddy grass. She loves to pee in puddles, sit in those same puddles, and then run around like a wild animal.
This life is very different from the one I left behind. While I do have moments where I wonder if I’ve made the right choice, I think about how happy I am now. I’ve got a wonderful home, I’ve got Sander to spend my time with, and together we have a dog that makes us laugh all day. I think, compared to the frivolous lifestyle I had back in America, this one has more meaning to me. It’s taken a long time for me to adjust, and I’m still growing, but at least I’m feeling more at peace with my choices and where I’m going in life!