Isn’t it ironic that I’ve traveled all over the world, but until now, hadn’t set foot on Continental Europe? And now, on my way to this next step in expanding and diversifying my family, I land here, in Amsterdam. Those of you who know me well may know of my aversion to the Dutch. Having grown up in West Michigan, the status quo is blond-haired, blue-eyed small town folk of Dutch heritage who are conservative and devout Christians who rarely venture far from the safe bubble of homogeniety. And woe to any who may have the misfortune of not fitting the mold.
Wandering around the airport in Amsterdam, I felt small and out of place, like high school all over again. And out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing glimpses of Bryan in the travelers milling around the terminal.
But maybe this is part of the journey of self-becoming. I’ve unfolded my own family origins. I am in the process of combining my families with Amul’s. And this trip to Mumbai is a critical step in the process of defining my identity, my future. So why wouldn’t this journey go by way of Amsterdam? It has always symbolized the ancestral origin of exclusion for me. Of being inherently different and inadequate. So I must face this land that has held such metaphorical power over me before I can move on.
And you know, throughout my entire three hour layover in Amsterdam, no one pointed accusing fingers in my direction, no one foretold my impending doom rotting in hell. And I’m made of tougher stuff than I give myself credit for sometimes. I’m light years away from the girl I was in high school.
So. Metaphorical Aryan foe vanquished. On to Mumbai!
Oh, and I really must add that the Dutch do make some mighty fine cheese.