My days in Holland are numbered. Today it’s Friday - the 6th. I’ve been here since last Tuesday the 27th and have had a brilliant time. I feel I’ve been here for way longer though. The first few days, passed me by in a daze. Up until Saturday morning I was struggling to stay here in this world, with my mind. I was constantly wandering elsewhere, unfocused and disconnected. It could have been exhaustion.
My weeks of constantly going and moving were suddenly catching up on me. I realized within a few days of “stopping” here in Hulst, that for 4 weeks non-stop, I’ve had a big change in surroundings, environment, climate, food and people -I went from the school to the ashram, then to the city-life of Chennai, then the European city-life of Rome and now to the family home life in Holland. Not only these changes had worn me out, but I also skipped at least one full night of sleep, every week and got sick along the way - with all overnight journey’s and strange travel hours. So Friday night, I felt I had reached my max. I can’t remember the last time I’d ever been so tired. I thought I was never going to recover. But of course I did. And the following morning I was back on track again. I felt apart of this world and I was happy to be here.
I’ve been spending most of my time with Emma and Orla, Aiden and Enya. Before coming, I knew my time in Holland was going to be brief, so I wasn’t planning on visiting friends “all over the country” which is what I would usually do. I’d usually plan my weeks as much as possible; I’d fill them with as many meetings with as many friends as possible. I would feel obliged almost to constantly gallivant around this part of Holland to catch-up with everyone and party hard, before leaving again. That’s how I used to approach my visits. But this time it’s different. I spent time only with those I cherish: my sister, 4 special friends and seeing my cousins Sandra and Naomi was a big and unexpected bonus!
Another bonus, this week: I got to see Emma singing in her band, on Saturday night, at a gig by the beach in Scheveningen. I never expected this to happen. The chances of her performing, on the only weekend I was in Holland, were so slim. But it happened! It was the first time for me to see her on stage. I’d only heard her voice recording, up until Saturday. Many times over the past year, when I was low, I would listen to Emma’s music on my laptop and cry - not sad tears, but proud and happy tears - for hearing her voice and for feeling closer to her and the whole family. I always wished I’d see her singing those songs live. It was of course the highlight of my week. And my first proper big night out, in months. This made it all the more memorable.
Monday I was still wondering when to leave. I hadn’t made a decision. I knew I had to go, but kept putting it off. I was enjoying myself and it was easy being here. But I still had to keep moving and make my way to Ireland. Ma was so eager to see me, as was I to see her! She would never actually say: Niamh, when are you coming home”, or “I think it’s time you got back to Ireland”. Never has she said this, even now that I’m so close. And for that, I have so much respect. It gives me so much freedom, because I’m certain that every decision I make is based on what I want, and not what others may want. On Monday I booked a flight to Ireland, and I’m leaving tomorrow morning (Saturday the 7th). I fly to Dublin at around 06.30am. I’ll be ringing Ma tonight, to tell her I’ll be there tomorrow. That way it’s still a little bit of a surprise.