YEAR 1 : The Honeymoon Period
Europe has always amused me as a child so I was really excited when my boyfriend (now spouse) asked me to join him in Netherlands. I was young, in my 20’s (head over heels in love), and quickly agreed to move to Netherlands.
My first year in Netherlands is what I call -” The Honeymoon Period”. I was in awe of the picturesque landscape of this country. On my way from airport to home, I saw windmills, cows and pastures. The cows were so white that it seemed they were painted and I remember clicking photos while the bypassers stared.
We were headed to live in the most popular city of the Netherlands – Amsterdam.
In my first month, I stumbled over countless bicycles that always came with lightning speed. It occurred to me later, that I wasn’t supposed to walk on some roads – the cycle paths. The centre of the city was densely populated and we strolled neck to neck on shopping streets. We spent weekends discovering cafes, bars and clubs.To my surprise, I saw weed and Marijuana sold on street outlets – named “Coffee shops!” . Beer was sold in supermarkets and people relaxed on boats in canals, while sipping Heineken and soaking the sun.
It was unlike any other country I’ve been to and I imagined if this was what they meant by paradise!
YEAR 2 : Take me back, please!
The honeymoon period was over soon and I started taking notice of my surroundings more. In the months that followed, I became grumpy old woman who constantly cribbed and announced to go back home. I hated the weather which was so unpredictable and kept questioning which season it was? I walked to work, drenched in rain and fought the wind to get back home. Most weekends, there was no sun and I laid on my sofa watching television.
Months went by and the boredom peaked. So, I decided to undertake a mission to socialize. Beginning with the closest proximity, I approached our neighbour. – Ms. Linde. I stopped by her door while she muttered in Dutch. I waved my head while I tried to listen. She smiled at me and I just felt dumb. It seemed, I needed a hearing aid coz all I could hear was “Ghhs” and Hello.
I tried my luck with the next the two floors, ringing their bells with quite some hope. Neither responded so I came back home and switched on the T.V ,once more. Tired and resentful, I announced again – “I will go back. Would you also come?”.
YEAR 3 : A Ray of hope
Soon, new year arrived and I made new resolutions. I remember, this year was “A Ray of Hope”. I decided to master Dutch, so I joined a language course. Learning from basics – the alphabets, numbers and months, I felt being back to the primary school. The good thing though, was I met more expats who shared my plight and reckoned my struggle. We formed a cult and I booked our agendas so my weekends were no longer dull.
At home, I displayed my brand new skills and babbled dutch words every day. I became hopeful and my happy self, relieving my spouse from new complaints.
YEAR 4 : Orientation Completed
My training, last year, infused Dutch culture and I found myself in between crossroads. I celebrated King’s day and also Diwali. I couldn’t miss Easter or Sinterklaas either.
At home, things changed too and we changed food menu. We bought a book to cook dutch food . My spouse split bills and I split chores. We bought new cycles and rolled through the city. I crashed some tourists , who walked wrong roads.
Orientation ends. Year 5 begins..!