“A city full of tulips, bikes and canals; that’s how I pictured Amsterdam as a child. We came here through my husband’s work, and had lived in Chicago for eleven years before that. I had never considered living in Amsterdam, and had never been to visit.
The first time I came here was moving day. It was, of course, raining. That’s the worst part of Amsterdam, the weather. I’m from a warm, sunny part of the world and find it quite remarkable that whether it’s cold or raining, everyone’s riding around on their bikes. In my experience, getting cold and wet makes you ill, but here it’s just a part of daily life and no-one believes you get ill from a rainy day.
What I also can’t get used to are those typical Dutch foods like chocolate sprinkles or raw herring. I don’t like them at all. I do like ‘poffertjes’. And pastries. At work they always laugh at me because I’m always eating pastries - for breakfast, lunch and as a snack. My favourite day of the year is Koningsdag. I tell my family that this holiday feels like the carnivals we have back home.
I live in IJburg. It’s really family-oriented. I still remember my first ever tram ride into the centre of town really clearly. I got in with my daughter, but it was really crowded with no free seats. A woman saw us, and let my daughter sit on her lap. I thought that was really kind. My children are used to the Trinidad, Dutch and Croatian cultures. My husband is from Croatia. They speak English with my kids, Croatian with my husband, and at school they learn Dutch. I don’t speak Dutch myself. Up till now that has not been a problem. The only time I experienced any difficulty was at the tax office. They refused to speak English to me.”
22 people in Amsterdam have the Trinidadian and Tobagonian nationality