My memories of the day are surprisingly sketchy, considering its special significance. I remember nausea and exhaustion — though these are, of course, typical feelings on any day following trans-Atlantic travel. I remember the sensation of chills, which had causes both emotional (caused by adrenaline and anxiety) and physical (it was a cold January, blustery January day). I remember feeling overwhelmed and uncertain.
I remember an acquaintance and a stranger, who amounted to the dearest, most meaningful of friends for us in that moment, meeting our family at the airport that day. I remember struggling up the inclined automated walkway at Schiphol airport, with our luggage-laden sky-cab threatening to squash us. I remember walking away from the tram stop carrying a heavy suitcase and a heavy child through swirling snow eddies under a concrete sky.
I remember waking up with the feeling of impossibility when our ten-month-old started to stir just hours after we had tumbled — utterly exhausted — into bed (a mattress on the floor of our acquaintance/friend’s attic). I remember thinking, "How could this child not be sleepy, after everything that we’ve been through today?" I remember it being a very, very long day. But honestly, I don’t remember much more than that.
It was five years ago today that our family moved to the Netherlands.