Could you still speak Dutch and Dutch Sign Language when you returned from England?
Sure! I even noticed that when I was tired, I started to think in English. That felt a bit strange.
You were without a home, where did you live?
During the first 6 weeks I lived in a luxury apartment in Utrecht. A former football friend read in my newsletter that my plans had changed. She suddenly had to go abroad for six weeks and offered her apartment to me. After these weeks I could stay in Utrecht with a friend and her husband. Really nice to live in different places in Utrecht.
You didn’t have a job, right? What have you been doing?
I landed Saturday November 9th and on November 11th I saw a vacancy for a temporary job till Christmas for a Dutch Sign Language teacher. And on Tuesday November 19th I was teaching a class. Never expected this to happen but really fun to do so. After that I was asked to organize a church service in my own church (Hope Church Utrecht), I had time for family, I worked hard with my support team to complete the finances and I have was busy with networking. In the meantime of course also enjoyed having coffee and spending time with friends.
“I arrived on Saturday, and a week later I was teaching a class!”
Are you happy that you had some extra months in The Netherlands?
Certainly! I made nice new contacts in the Sign Language Church (Kadosh) in Zoetermeer. I have gained experience at a school for the deaf and I was able to strengthen the relationship with everyone involved. Very grateful for that!
What are you looking forward to in the training year in Romania?
To learn a new sign language; the Romanian Sign Language. So curious about the differences between this sign language and the Dutch Sign Language.
Wat are you going to miss from The Netherlands?
Biking! This is something I do daily in The Netherlands. Such a great way to get yourself from one place to the other without facing a mountain.
Which Dutch products do you take with you?
Douwe Egberts coffee of course. Chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag in Dutch) and a bike. I bought a nice purple Gazelle bike, about 30 years old, which goes with me to Romania.
What do you think will be most difficult?
Two things actually. First of all the process to really integrate and settle in a new country with a new language and culture. I have lived for some time abroad before and I know that I need time to oversee everything and feel at home (again). Fortunately I know this will be alright, but the first month may be a bit odd too. Secondly I will miss my nephews and nieces. They grow so fast and will literally show me that time goes on when I am away.
What helps you to endure difficult moments?
Talking with people, play sports and my faith. I have noticed that I gain strength from my faith. During hard times I often write letters to God. When I write down my thoughts and feelings, things become clear and I’m able to let it go because I believe that God will do something with it. Occasionally I read again what I wrote down and see how things have changed. Sometimes quite surprising! Also to sport helps me to clear my mind. And of course talking with people. As far as this is concerned, I will also have to find my way in Romania.
“Talking with people, play sports and my faith help me to endure difficult moments.”
When will you come back to The Netherlands?
I expect to be back (for a short moment) in The Netherlands in nine months. By that time it’s expected that I have received a clear assignment somewhere in the world. This can be far away, or close by! I will of course keep you updated.