giovedì 19 aprile 2012

Tips for Expats in Eindhoven

Moving is never easy, especially when your country of origin is far away and you find yourself in a different environment, with different timetable and habits. The very first thing I noticed since I moved in Eindhoven was: Where do they do the shopping? I surfed the net for clues, but only in English, so I couldn't find much. Then I bought a Dutch-English Dictionary, and try to figure out (with the precious help of Google Translator) where markets where. I am lucky, though, because my brother-in-law lived nearly 10 years in The Netherlands, so he is a constant source of valuable information. 

But I was much more luckier than that because I have joined the International Women Club of Eindhoven. Found it before leaving Italy, it made me feel like I had a distant friend there waiting for me. Well, the truth is that I fund friends there, loaded with kindness, life history, suggestions, but most of all friendship. Which is something you have to be lucky to find. And I did.

The very first week I was there there was a meeting, the Centrum Morning Coffee. After sending a couple of emails, I was invited to join and I went. There were so many ladies talking, chatting and laughing together. That surprised me a lot. Then I spoke to one of the coordinator, Megan, and she said: "We understand you 'cause we have been that before. And we know how it is hard to be alone, raise your children with no one around you, and in a foreign country". And when my little one started running around the place (a caffe loaded with pottery...), she and another very nice person I met from California, Linda, told me not to worry. Every child in the world would be fed up of staying in a confined place with nothing to do.

Then someone heard me speaking in Italian to Leonardo, and so I met a Sicilian girl. Then others told me about a Baby Toddler Group for moms and children, and other activities. And, suddenly, I was busy with something to do, and occasions to meet international women.

Someone said about the ladies of the IWCE: "Oh, yes, you're a group of wives of someone who's here to work", as if being a mom does not imply any work. As if not being paid means something to a person who, for love, changes his life and environment only to follow her husband in a foreign country. As if leaving friends and relatives, job opportunities and studies is easy. No, it is not. It is not, and it'll never be.

So, my tips are: Just check if there is a group of ladies, a club, to meet people with the same need as you have, and much more experience, before you leave your country. So that life (and moving) could be a little smoother...

2 commenti:

  1. Great post, this will definitely help other women in your situation. We're all lucky there are groups like IWCE and Mums & Toddlers! :) Danica

  2. Yes, we are. I was wondering how life was hard before the internet... I'll write about the M&T as well! It's amazing how helpful they can be when you move abroad.