You know the story, "Welcome to Holland," by Emily Perl Kingsley, right? (Go here to read it if you don't.) I've shared it multiple times with parents of children with special needs (usually autism spectrum disorders) to help put it all in perspective. I've lived in Holland a really long time. I've never made a visit to Italy, but that's OK -- It can be really nice in Holland.
Someone recommended that I watch the British TV series, Doc Martin. From the Amazon Editorial Review:
He’s surly, tactless, self-centered, and uptight—but he’s the only doctor in town.
The doctor is in--but he’s not happy about it. After developing a crippling fear of blood, hotshot London surgeon Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes, Men Behaving Badly) is forced to retrain as a GP and relocate to the charming seaside village of Portwenn. Dour, discourteous, and dismissive, he immediately clashes with Portwenn’s quirky villagers.
They had me at "surly, tactless, self-centered, and uptight." Just who does that sound like? Maybe your favorite, beloved Aspie? Well, bless Amazon Prime Instant Videos for letting me watch the first four seasons free! I just love it (enough to buy Season 5). I watched the whole series over the course of a few weeks, and I've gone back and re-watched episodes several times since then.
But why? Other than the Aspie-like connection and the fun of British humor, what's the draw? The story lines revolve around village life -- slower paced than what I'm accustomed to, with an occasional sheep or pig involved, and people's idiosyncrasies are accepted without comment or incident. But really, I just love Portwenn (really Port Isaac) in Cornwall. It's gorgeous, from the cliffs overlooking the water to the cottages and buildings to the old seawall. It's picturesque, quiet, and soothing. I've even thought about moving there for a life of quiet retirement.
What I've come to realize just recently, though, is that I want to be there because I don't want to be here. Holland, at the moment, just stinks. Smelly, nasty, nerve-wracking stinks. I don't want to be here with the never-ending harangues, the ingratitude, the demands. I don't want to be here with needs of everybody pressing on me constantly, no time off, no time away, and no one caring for or about me. I don't want to be here with the diagnoses that fill this house. I don't want to be here.
I want what Cornwall represents. I want to be in a there that is quiet. A there that is calm. A there that lets me be. I've been hanging on tightly to the countdown 'til the start of school -- just 3 more weeks now -- but I know that though the house will be mine from 7:31 a.m. until 2:15 p.m., the new school year will bring its own set of demands and problems, potentially big ones.
The trick will be to find Cornwall in Holland.