I will never forget my first borrel, what a gezellig time – I don’t think there can be a direct translation of gezellig, because it is more of a feeling than anything else… The memory is so vivid – I did not understand why everyone was staring so intently at the waitress carrying a tray of the deep fried, crumbed balls accompanied by two bowls of mustard – the look everyone was giving the waitress was that of a predator seeking its next meal… Little did I know at this time that these deep fried balls of goodness would become an integral part of my new life in The Netherlands…
As everyone was reaching for these peculiar looking things I followed suit – doing as anyone would do taking the biggest bite followed by a piping hot burning sensation, waving my hand furiously in front of my face trying to hide the fact that I had been burnt by my first bitterbal.. YES, it was at this point I realised I was an expat and had probably fallen sucker to the same thing most expats fall for at their first borrel at this stage of the game after being here for 8 months I can say that I now understand how everyone has such self-control when indulging on some of the finest Dutch borel snacks.
Moving to Amsterdam has been an interesting experience filled with many challenges, changes in lifestyle, increased consumption of cheese and all round fun. When moving to Amsterdam all most people know about is the Red Light District and coffee shops, however as I point out to anyone that speaks of this, Amsterdam only begins after Prinsengracht and that central Amsterdam is only filled of tourists.
The thought of cycling to work never even crossed my mind prior to moving to Amsterdam, and neither did the thought of traffic on bikes. In fact the last bike I owned was when I was around 10 years old. Unbeknown to me this would become part of my daily activities – some of my most memorable times thus far in Amsterdam have been riding over the many picturesque canals (and recently walking on the frozen canals too – a rare event that happens every 5-10 years) and through Vondelpark realizing how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful city with so much to offer. I experienced my first ever snow fall in early December and I am sure my team thought I was like a child forcing everyone to come outside and have a picture and snowball fight. However, all this glory has some hysterical moments and times of complete disbelief: riding on the right side of the road can prove tricky at times having had many bells rung at myself and friends around me or stories of friends riding into vehicles…. stationary vehicles…. and well, other bikers.
Since moving to Amsterdam I can safely say I have made some good friends and had many awesome times at, arguably, one of the most international Deloitte offices I have worked at and have enjoyed making Amsterdam my new home! Thanks to all those I have met on my journey so far and look forward to getting to know everyone along the way!!!
Hi everyone, I am a South African, from Johannesburg. I completed a secondment in London prior to moving to the Netherlands.
I have live in the Netherlands for close on 8 months and have had the pleasure of meeting and working with so many other internationals. Living in arguably the best suburb, De Pijp, I have loved every minute of living in the Netherlands.