Monday, October 24, 2011

31 for 21: Uniting Together To Celebrate Holland

The Buddy Walk is not just about increasing awareness about Down syndrome.  It is also about celebrating Down syndrome and uniting together to show support, love, and acceptance.  The unification of family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

This year, Ellie Bear's Entourage had 11 team walkers and raised $550.  (Thanks to those who participating and donated!)  Our team was made up of adults and children, friends and neighbors.  It was a blast. . . except for the moment when the bouncy house collapsed, but that is another story.

Many of you have likely read the poem Welcome To Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley.  There is a follow-up to the poem called Celebrating Holland and I would like to share it with you along with some photos from Sunday's Buddy Walk.

Ack!  The walk hadn't even started yet and Bear pulled out her ribbons. 

Celebrating Holland
by Cathy Anthony

I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. 
I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I'd planned.

There is nothing like the love between father and daughter.

I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland.
I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger - the pain and uncertainty.
In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. 
I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time.

I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. 
I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. 
I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends.

Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land.

Bounce Bounce Bouncy House

I have discovered a community of caring. Holland wasn't so bad. 
I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land. Over the years, I've wondered what life would have been like if I'd landed in Italy as planned.

Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?

Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest.

Ellie Mobile

And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. 
I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.

Sometimes you just have to "taste" your tutu.

I have come to love Holland and call it Home.

I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn't matter where you land. 
What's more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.

Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn't planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!

Why yes, those are indeed skulls on her socks.  That's my Bear, rocking in her tutu and skulls.



  1. LOVE IT!!! My fav new quote? "sometimes you just have to "taste" your tutu" LOL LOVE IT!!!

  2. Gotta luv a girl in a tutu! I love that picture of you and Ellie on the porch:-)

  3. Looks like a great buddy walk!!! Just stopping by late from blog hop....i didnt get around to checking out everyones blog so Im doing it now!!! :))


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