The tree of life

3 min read

landleWe used to live in southern Germany for three years. The children did not speak any German so it was a big transition for them from going to a Dutch school or kindergarten to a German one. We had a great time in Germany. We made new friends and enjoyed the German way of life very much. Every weekend we would go walk in the hills with their wine grapes and go swimming in one of the many swimming pools or “Freibäder”.

In April 2014 we came back to The Netherlands. Another transition for everyone. Especially moving from a small town to the big city of Rotterdam. In Germany, we were the Dutch. Now being back, we were the Germans.

One of our children had difficulties adjusting to life here in The Netherlands. He was scared of going to school, never had friends over for a play date and missed his buddies in Germany very much. Although his grades at school were sufficient, we decided to seek professional help. In one of the sessions our son had to draw a tree. He called this tree “The German tree” and we realized that he still had roots in Germany and that he had not yet fully made closure with this chapter in his life.

Last weekend we went back to our beloved town. We met with friends at a grill party in the middle of the forest. It was as if we hadn’t left. The people at the local bakery wondered if we had been ill and asked in which secondary school one of our children would go this year. There was this feeling of still being connected, for which I am most grateful.

The last day of our visit we went for a hike. We had brought a young cherry tree from the Netherlands to plant somewhere outside of town. Some friends had joined us and as the family of 5 stood hand in hand around the tree. We said goodbye to this special place and period in our life, while knowing that we always have roots there and that we always can come back to this beautiful place literally, but also in our memories. Underneath the freshly planted tree we had stowed a glass jar with pictures and messages of thanks to Germany.

This ceremony was one of acknowledging our next step and of letting go. This in order to enjoy our new home and live life to the fullest.

The boys have been in school for a week and not one day has gone by with grief about our move back to The Netherlands or fear of going to school.

I feel that this visit has been a healing for us and I wonder what you do to let go and move on as you are wandering around the world from one place to another.

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