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Elzaan van Tonder

Hi Elzaan, when did you arrive in the Netherlands?
My husband and I arrived in the Netherlands on 12 March 2018. I cannot believe how time has flown, 3 years already.

How did you experience the first few months in the Netherlands?
The first few months were a whirlwind of experiences and emotions. Finding our way in a new country, leaning a new language, travelling to new cities.

Does it feel like home?
I do feel like we have made the Netherlands our home. We have a great group of friends here, to help during tough times and enjoy a good braai together.

Do you still live in the same house as in the beginning?
No, when we arrived, we lived in a fully furnished apartment in the Barneveld Centrum. We lived there for a year and bought our own home in the suburb De Vaarst.

How was it to learn the language? Was it easier or harder than expected?
Both. At first it seemed easy as it was easy to pick up words. But on the other side it was difficult as the two languages are so close to each other that you easily mix them up. In the beginning it was also difficult to catch everything said in a conversation with multiple people, but as we have learned more and become more confident it has become much easier.

What do you miss most about South Africa?
I miss my family the most. The corona virus has also not made it easy as my parents have not been able to travel and visit us here in the Netherlands. Luckily, there are a few South African shops here to soothe a craving.

What appeals to you most in the Netherlands?
The people and their culture/traditions are wonderful. It is a stable country with a good economy where everything works. There is also a great work-life balance.

Elzaan van Tonder