This is
Cristhian Ballestros (1977) 

Country of Origin

In the Netherlands since

Housekeper in a hotel 

To play football with friends

Still would like to  
Go to the Anne Frank House

Wants to have his funeral in 

“I worked as a sailor on a tourist ship on the Galapagos islands, when I met Rebecca, who was Dutch. We exchanged email addresses and started mailing each other. Rebecca would ask me all kinds of questions; she seemed genuinely interested in me, and kept on asking. When I was 17 I became a father. My ex and I have since been divorced. When she left me she started a relationship with a Swiss man and took my daughter Cristhina with her to Switzerland. Cristhina was now 6 years old and I hadn’t seen her for the last 3 years. It was horrible. A really unhappy period in my life. Rebecca understood and accepted me.

After a long distance relationship lasting 2 years I had had it. We decided I would travel to the Netherlands. Rebecca arranged everything for me. I had never been outside of Ecuador. Didn’t even have a passport. Once I arrived in Amsterdam my first thought was, “Shit, this place is old”. I had pictured Amsterdam as being something like Chicago with huge, modern buildings. I thought, “OMG, everything’s grey. No leaves, no colour”. The following day was Koninginnedag. Halfway through this national holiday Rebecca asked me, “So what do you think of Holland?” On this particular day all I could answer was, “I’d love to stay!” The party, the stage with live music, even the garbage on the streets. It all looked good to me. The first three years in the Netherlands were tough. I cried a lot, was depressed and all that kind of stuff. It didn’t go smoothly. The language is so frustrating. What was positive was that I was closer to my daughter.

Since then I’ve managed to learn the language to a pretty good standard, and once you’ve learnt Dutch things improve by leaps and bounds. You start to feel the rhythm here. I now play football every week with Dutch lads. Life is alright. Not perfect. I’d like to work elsewhere. I work in housekeeping in a hotel, and also work in other people’s homes. My ambition is to follow a photography course. And get a driving licence. These might be lesser details for other people, but they are important to me.

375 people in Amsterdam have the Ecuadorian nationality


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