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I need to cheer up a bit.

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in The Netherlands.

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I need to cheer up a bit.

Post Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 5:32 pm

Hello, my name is Stephanie, I am 29 years old and my nationality is Canadia. Here my story...

July 2004 I meet my dutch boyfriend for the first time, we have been chating for 3 years already. Everything clik together so we decide that I move here in November 2004. I found a job as live out aupair and try to get the permit... I was to old to be au pair, I found a normal job and try to get the permit with them but it didn t work out due there is other people who are able to do this job here. June 28 2005 We apply for a permit as partnership. My name is on the renting contract, my boyfriend works for ING, and we have registrered in Haarlem.

I try to find job as babysitter or cleaner or whatever I can work black for now its a bit hard... do you have tips for me. Is it true that we have now to wait until 9 months to get the permit? People who are use to this.... do you think I have good chance to succeed with it ?

I am studying dutch with LOI and for other people I do not recommand it. My first language is french and they did a lot of mistake in the translation and the corrector have difficulty with dutch !! Avoid LOI.

I feel a bit alone aloso because the friends I have here its the friends of my boyfriend. I would like to meet people.

I miss home sometimes, well only for the normal life. Going to work earn money and build up.

Thanks to have read my story and please give me tips!

Stephanie


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keena29
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Re: I need to cheer up a bit.

Post Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:20 pm

Stephanie,

Welcome to Expat Focus (and, if I may say so at this late stage, welcome to the Netherlands!)

I'm not sure about the 9 month wait, it isn't something I've heard of before, were you told that officially?

Sorry to hear that you're feeling a little lonely right now, that's always one of the problems expats face when moving abroad (I'm sure most of the people in these forums have been through the same thing). I'm thinking of organising a little get together for expats in the Netherlands who visit these forums later in the year. Perhaps you'd like to come along and meet us?

Take care and we look forward to hearing more from you in these forums,

Kind regards,

Jamie


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Re: I need to cheer up a bit.

Post Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:17 pm

Hi Stef, I'm afraid I won't be able to cheer you up. I lived in Haarlem several years and finally made it out. The place sucks and it seems to suck you in as well. The attitude of people in Haarlem is one the worst I've encountered, however I must admit I never felt a day at home anyway. Haarlem is both boring and overpriced, narrow, claustrophobic (ok, that describes all cities in Randstad) with horrid house rents.

Dutch people are generally cold, distanced, even among themselves and they have mastered the art of making you feel unwelcome. The further your accents strays, the harsher they will deal with you. God forbid you you have a skin tone darker than cheese. The worst part is that unfounded, snobbish rude arrogance they market as "direct and honest".

My experience in Holland was profoundly negative and I've met many people who share that sentiment. YMMV, however I have yet to meet a non-privileged person who really liked it, with the exception of Amsterdam, and then only if you're a drug addict. The expats in Holland to reach some sort of happiness seem to be either highly professional people with high income, or the loser fraction into the drug scene. The large middle field will eventually get out. I don't know your general experience so far and you may experience it differently since you're not European, but for Europeans coming to Holland and seeing the scale of how far the image is from the reality was a real shock.

I've been gone now for two years, but I'm surprised how fresh and strong my negative feelings still are.

So, if you're having a hard time right now, please note that this may be as good as it gets.

Coming to another country is always very traumatic, culture shock is called this way for a reason. However, The Netherlands may be particularly unfit for expat beginners because there more than other places you will be faced with walls.

I may get knocked for this post, but I don't care, not really. Some things need to be said. The idea of "Tolerance and Easy attitude" is a farce. If you want to take a glimpse into the Dutch soul without any masks, check out the history of South Africa. Then move on to Suriname, then to Indonesia.

Of course, this is exactly what you *don't* want to hear, since you've invested in a relationship, and things may not be as hard as they were for me, because I suffered. From the first moment it was like stepping into a room which has slightly not enough air to breath, but you don't start noticing it, it rather suffocates you slowly.

My advise would be to work hard at getting a legal status as quickly as possible, even if you have to marry the guy and be persistant with authorities. Do not be satisfied of being the shadow, men get especially comfortable with shadow women, as it allows them to exceed greater control than over their country mates. Even "kind" men eventually start to exploit this situation. A binational relationship whose legal status depends on one partner being from the country requires a rock solid foundation, no nonsense, no fooling around. This is stuff for grown ups.

After you've aquired legal status, learn the language as quickly as possible, not in school but by delving into that society. As an expat it is especially important to build your own social networks *independent* from your partner, so you have something to fall back onto if the relationship fails. I'd say give the place a year. If you do not feel "ok" after a year, you likely never will. There is nothing worse than being with the person you like in a place you hate. The Robinson Crusoe effect is profound and will eventually start effecting you and your relationship.

If the only way you can get legal with work permit and all, is to marry the person (I don't know the legal status of the thing you mentioned the registered partnership, I thought that is just for gay couples), then do it. It's just a piece of paper anyway which doesn't say anything about the quality of the relationship. You should also try and get your partner to shift his career in a way that both of you can eventually move to France, which is like a million times prettier than Holland and given your cultural background, it would definitely be easier for you. It would also be a good test whether he is willing to do the same thing for you that you do for him... If both you are married then you can move to any EU country.

So far, these are all randomized things off the top of my head and I hope you'll be able to sort it somehow.

I'll check back in a couple of days. Cheers, Saskia

 

goodbye_holland
Newbie
Newbie
 
 
  
Re: I need to cheer up a bit.

Post Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:03 am

Interesting post. Personally, my mileage did vary, but that just goes to highlight one of the aspects of the expat experience...sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not. That said, I do recognise some of the negative aspects of Dutch society you mention. Although I love life in Amsterdam, I'm certainly no apologist for Dutch culture (nor am I overly critical of it, warts and all).

Kind regards,

Jamie


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Re: I need to cheer up a bit.

Post Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:50 am

I've been here 6 years and really like it. I know people that are both (as
was said) 'privledged' and unprivledged who are also living well here.

I have met people like the above poster that have had terrible experiences and are very, very bitter about Holland. (... though I think it's a bit much to be gone 2 years are still feel the need to come to these forums .... and complain) Neutral My advice - seek help.

As God is my witness ... I cannot understand this bitterness and why I'm not infected by it ... but I'm very thankful I'm not.

I know people in Germany, France and Belgium that either like these countries or hate them - so this sentiment is not uncommon.

Like I always say - it's not 'where' you are .. it's 'WHO' you are.

 

Beebs
Newbie
Newbie
 
 
  
Re: I need to cheer up a bit.

Post Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:58 am

> I have met people like the above poster that have had terrible
> experiences and are very, very bitter about Holland. (... though
> I think it's a bit much to be gone 2 years are still feel the need to
> come to these forums .... >and
> complain) My advice - seek help.

> As God is my witness ... I cannot understand this bitterness and why > I'm not infected by it ... but I'm very thankful I'm not.

Well given the energy with which you seek to discredit me as an "infected" crazy and bitter person in need of therapy, your reply ironically constitutes a psychological reaction. As God is your witness? Isn't that a bit drastic for just saying that you're ok with Holland? (It's a rhetorical question;-)

The reason why your reaction was of psychological nature was because if I actually was damaged (and frankly I was, no doubt), shouldn't your approach be one of compassion and understanding rather than the derogatory slur of "go seek a shrink" painting me as a crazy person?

Such an uncalled for ad hominem attack is a very strange behavior against someone supposedly in need of help. How Dutch of you.

One could almost suspect that either you are Dutch, or you are actually the bitter one but are in deep denial about it. So you seek to kill the messenger of what is really bothering _you_.

> Like I always say - it's not 'where' you are .. it's 'WHO' you are.

Interesting. So every atrocity any society ever committed is really the fault of the victims. I see.

As for the question whether I'm bitter about my Dutch experience? (Does emptying a can of hairspray in the morning to boost global warming count?:-) Well it's hard to say if I'm bitter because I'm so happy it's over! But this _was_ a seven year chunk out of my life and six years of it felt like what I imagine being in jail would feel like. I guess I integrated too well, learned the language too well, understood too well what they're really about.

 

goodbye_holland
Newbie
Newbie
 
 
  
Re: I need to cheer up a bit.

Post Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:01 am

OK, I think we're clear on where everyone stands as far as Dutch culture is concerned. Let's try to keep any further posts on topic as far as the original poster is concerned. With that in mind, Stephanie, one of my good friends is French and lived in Canada for a number of years. If you can make it to our end of year get together I'm sure you'll have a lot to talk about.

Jamie


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