Hi Christoff, when did you arrive in the Netherlands?
We arrived in January 2021, two or three weeks before our originally planned date in the very weird time of Covid. But luckily everything worked out fine 😅
How did you experience the first few months in the Netherlands?
It was an interesting time in the beginning with a lot of emotional ups and downs while experiencing so many new things. In certain instances, we were just on auto pilot while doing a lot of admin that goes with immigration and trying to grasp a little of the language so that we could do the basics and, in other instances, it was like a holiday getting to explore the Netherlands and experiencing new things. In hind sight, as with most things, everything went as well as you could expect and we are happy that we experienced it and got to learn so much, about ourselves as well as about the Netherlands and its culture.
Does it feel like home?
In most cases it really feels like home and in other cases you still feel like you have a lot left to learn or adapt to. For the most part, we really do feel that this is our home and we are really fortunate to have met great people here that has made this transition very easy.
Do you still live in the same house as in the beginning?
No, we rented a two bedroom apartment in the beginning, but for a family of four this was never a long term solution, so we were fortunate enough to have bought a house in Barneveld.
How was it to learn the language? Was it easier or harder than expected?
Learning the language is a challenge, but we also expected it to be a big learning curve. In the beginning, it can feel overwhelming, but you do get used to it relatively quickly as an Afrikaans speaker and if you have an interest in learning it. We are still a ways away from being fluent, but people at least comprehend us, although you might have to repeat yourself or state it in another way sometimes 😊, and we completely comprehend Dutch people.
What do you miss most about South Africa?
Without a doubt, the thing most people miss most, is family and friends. This is the same for us and, unfortunately, one of the things that goes with emigration. A distant second to that is our kind of food, but luckily, if you really start to miss that, there are shops here that sell biltong and other South African foods or you could make a lot of it yourself by doing some research on where to get ingredients!
What appeals to you most in the Netherlands?
The fact that everything works well and is well organized, excellent work life balance, an amazing culture around raising children and the possibilities of travelling are to name a few of the big appeals.