I went to university in Pella, Iowa. This small, rural town has a very distinct flavor, and it touts itself as “A touch of Holland”. Yet after all this time, I have never actually been to the “real” Holland.
In August I touched down, or rather a train sped along the tracks, from London toward Amsterdam, my initial destination in the Netherlands. I spent a lively week in Amsterdam, followed by a week meandering in and around the lovely town of Utrecht. Along the way, I met Dutch friends I hadn’t seen in over two years. The time I spent in the Netherlands was too short, and I vow I will return and slow down my pace, giving myself time to soak in and enjoy much more of the friendly Dutch culture.
There is a Dutch word, “gezellig”, which has no English translation. It can mean many things: comfort, the good feeling spent with friends, coziness, a nice atmosphere, a fun night out, the warm fuzzies. It would be appropriate to say my time in the Netherlands, meeting new friends and reacquainting with old friends, was “gezellig”.
And yes, Pella really is “A touch of Holland”.