After graduating from Hope, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving Holland. Lucky for me, even before I had secured a teaching position in our little town Kevin agreed to make our home here. The decision would leave him driving about an hour to and from work each day. What a guy. Thankfully, my ideal teaching position, in my ideal district, found me.
Ten years later we find ourselves more than happy with our choice to live here. In fact, after several years of my status as a SAHM we discussed, and quite frankly feared, a move closer to Kevin's job was logical in order to save on gas money and family time. In our conversations we'd try to convince ourselves that it was time to move on. Why not?
Nothing was tying us to Holland
...the friendly neighbors
...play grounds within walking distance of every direction of our home
...community recreation opportunities
...bike trails from just about anywhere all leading to the beach
...innovative long term development plans
...adorable downtown shopping with heated sidewalks
...our cozy home
...our dangerous proximity to the Hudsonville ice cream plant
...familiar faces, small town connections
...the history, culture, and diversity
...streets lined with well maintained tulip beds
...a holiday light parade
...traditional college events in the fall
...a fabulous summer market
...a spring festival that brings us out like nothing else
...a connection to the alumnus groups and activities
So, in actuality we found ourselves weighing all these things against our desire to cut down on commuting.
This week when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index named our beloved town the #2 happiest place to live in America — right between #1 Boulder, Colorado and #3 Honolulu, Hawaii we weren't surprised. It appears the rest of the world is about to take note of what we've got going here in Holland. Ironically, we're living tucked between our ideal vacation locations (Kev is a mountain man, I prefer the ocean).
The media came to see what Holland is all about and reported their findings in a segment called, Welcome to Happytown. As nature would have it the cameras were greeted by a typical lakeshore snow event. Our gray sky kind of day. While the report focuses more than we do on the weather conditions, and only scratches at the surface of what makes Holland a happy place, it does talk of the heart of the city. The Mayor, Kurt Dykstra speaks to the "can't take away our joy" attitude when he states,
"If a small community located in the state with the worst economy can feel good about itself, seems to me we've got hope in the country."
Holland is our happy place.
The place we plan to stay.
And, as if in celebration our blue skies and bright sunshine have decided to move back to town - just in time.
Now, what do you say?
Wanna get happy?
Oh please come visit!