The Netherlands

First favorite picture in The Netherlands.
Second favorite picture in The Netherlands.
Although not my favorite picture, I think it has its own beauty.

My two preferred countries in the world to live in are Canada and Switzerland, with the latter being my first choice. Although not my preferred country to live in, I really love love love The Netherlands!

An Egyptian friend once told me that the different landscapes affect people differently. Someone who lives near a mountain would be influenced by the landscape differently than someone who lives by the sea. Through the course of my travels, I do sense that both celestial and terrestrial influences, although subtle, do ultimately shape the people, and by extension, their culture and tradition. In The Netherlands, it is common to see canals. When I looked at the position of the canals relative to the land, I sensed a serene balance between land and water. Harmony. It’s beautiful.

A canal is different from a lake. A canal represents flow and fluidity. A land represents fixation and rigidity. The landscape of The Netherlands has a blend of masculine and feminine energy. That’s why I said it is balanced.

A canal is different from a river. When I looked at the canals, the water was relatively calm. That’s why I said it’s serene.

I spent my first day of 2016 in Zaanse Schans, one of the loveliest neighborhoods in The Netherlands. The weather was cooperating. The sun made the scenery beautiful, and my stroll enjoyable.

Life is full of surprises. We never know what lie ahead of us. My stay in The Netherlands was unintended, yet it was the best stay of all my stays in Europe. My food and accommodation there were free. Not a bad way to end my 2015 and begin my 2016.

In Chinese there is a saying that goes, 人算不如天算, which roughly translates to mean: man proposes, heaven disposes. I have had many strange, but pleasant, experiences. By letting go of the need to control and surrender myself to the natural ebb and flow of life, the lesser known beauty of life starts to reveal itself to me. By giving me free room and board to spend the last day of 2015 and first day of 2016 in The Netherlands, perhaps this is heaven’s way of saying, you have no idea what is best for you, so I will have to show you. This message is my biggest takeaway from this trip.