“When I was little, I had a dream. I wanted to go abroad and meet people from other cultures and discover the world. No-one actually left Bhutan. It is the happiest country in the world. My parents didn’t really take my dream seriously. My mother would tease me and say, “a shy girl like you into the big wide world?” But since they have kept up contact with friends, as well as my brother who lives in the Netherlands, if I ever should wish to leave.
Five years ago I left; it was the second time I’s left Bhutan. I had studied in India for two years. In Bhutan you cannot study further than tenth grade, but if your parents have the financial means you can study in India for a further two years. In Amsterdam I at first felt pretty miserable. I was homesick and called my mother in tears. She told me, “this was your idea, your dream, so make something of it”. I didn’t want to worry her unnecessarily, but it is so different here. A real shock. In Bhutan, for example, they don’t have any stop lights. We have policemen with long, white gloves for directing traffic. In Bhutan we are technologically backward. Only in the past ten years have we installed computers in the workplace; before then everything was simply written down.
After a tough start in the city I met my current employer. He owns a family business and I was lucky to get a job there. They feel like my second family and I am now very happy in Amsterdam. I’m less shy and have much more self confidence. I’ve met a lot of really nice people and dare to do what I want to do. What I still can’t do is ride a bike. It’s an absolute disaster when I get on a bike, but I will learn. I will. Amsterdam is my second home and my dream has come true.”
2 people in Amsterdam have the Bhutanese nationality