“I met my Dutch boyfriend thanks to the online game ‘World of Warcraft’. We quickly ended up playing the game and chatting for hours at a time. I had time to do this, as I had injured my knee and had to stay in bed. I fractured my knee doing something really stupid. I worked as a social worker with a group of kids and one of them wouldn’t dare jump off of some playground equipment...so I showed her that it wasn’t anything to be scared of, and nothing bad would happen. Anyway, at least something good came out of it: my boyfriend and I fell in love. I think fell in love with the way I giggle.
After a year he asked me to come and live with him, so I did. I had always said I would never live in a city. I grew up in a small village in Wales; very green and surrounded by water. I thought cities were grey and dark. But when I first arrived in Amsterdam, I realised that it’s also green and full of water here. We live in Nieuw-West and I only have to look out of the window to see trees and every shade of green. Ten minutes away lie the Sloterplas and Sloterpark where we often come on picnics.
What I love about Amsterdam is that people have free time here. In Wales I had to be on call 24/7. People expect you to be available at all hours of the day and night. There are big differences in the care system which ironically I got to experience for myself, as I broke my other knee here in Holland! I had learnt to ride a bike and it was going really well. I had braked carefully, and really slowly, but I still fell. While it took me eighteen months to heal in Wales, I was fine within three months over here. I was immediately offered quality physiotherapy, and always by the same therapist who knew exactly what my problem was and was therefore aware of any improvement. In Wales a different therapist came to visit every time, and each time we had to begin from square one.
My future lies in Amsterdam. I was proposed to this week and I finally said ‘yes’! So I’ll be here for a while. And we still play World of Warcraft, but next to each other on the sofa.”