When you think about Holland, the first thing that comes to people’s minds are tulips! To be completely honest, when I decided to come to Hope a year ago I didn’t know about Tulip Time. It wasn’t until I came in August that I saw all the beautiful flowers around campus, and I was told that in May there is a festival called Tulip Time!

I have always been a person who loves to appreciate simple things in life, like the feeling of the wind when you roll down the windows of your car, or the feeling of the grass on your bare feet. When I was told there was a whole festival of flowers, I was blown away. All year round I would go on walks with my friends, and I would point out how much I like to see the trees without leaves, because back in Honduras that was a bit unusual, and they would say something like: “Just wait until May!” or “Tulip Time is amazing!” Then, March came along and we all know the rest – quarantine.

Tulip Time is a celebration of Dutch heritage, and it is very important for the people of Holland. People from all the 50 states and approximately 30 countries around the world come along to see the parade. This amounts to about 1 million people waiting for this celebration to come along. It’s crazy to think that, because this is my first year in Holland, and all I see are empty streets. Downtown should be filled with people, the smell of food should be filling the entire place, and the sound of the music should wake up the entire town, but as you can imagine, that is not happening. I should be sad about Tulip Time being canceled, but the thing is I still want to live believing everything is extraordinary rather than thinking life is just ordinary and that we are all stuck in places where we don’t want to be stuck. So, for the sake of the people who are not able to appreciate the tulips in Holland this year, I have walked around Holland the last few days to take pictures and videos of how beautiful everything looks.

Right now I am a bit tired of walking around, so I sat on a picnic table in front of the De Pree Art Center and I have a beautiful view of the flagpole area. It’s crazy to think about how fast time can go by. A few months ago I was sitting somewhere around here during Orientation Week. I remember how frightened I was about starting college, and I thought about how this place could never be a home for me. Now, Holland has a very special place in my heart, and I truly can’t think of a better place to go to college. Thinking about this makes me reflect on the times we are living right now, and it all comes down to this – it will get better. As I said before, I would rather live in a world believing everything is extraordinary, including these unusual and scary times. If we think about it, families are now spending more time together, our environment is taking a break from all the pollution we all create, and so many other good things are happening too. As for someone like me, who’s spending this quarantine basically on their own, it is not that bad. I get time to reflect, to do some of my favorite hobbies or to just go outside and appreciate the beauty of blooming flowers. I think that right now, after walking around Holland in search of tulips for you all to see, I can conclude that my favorite colors of tulips are yellow. Curious thing is, after doing a little research on tulips, yellow tulips are the representation of cheerful thoughts and hope. Think about it, all these tulips are still standing tall, strong and beautiful. We could all be tulips, standing through it all with a hopeful mind. We have Hope.

Editor’s Note: Isabel and several other students still remain on campus. The staff at the Center for Global Engagement organized a #KeepingHope food pantry that they may access at anytime. If you are interested in ways that you can support students at Hope please visit hope.edu/give2hope.

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