“On 25th February 1998 I was sixteen years old and on my way to Holland. My mother had already been living in Amsterdam for a year. She came to pick me up from Schiphol and we went home with the snorder (illegal taxi). I had arrived with my sister and we both thought, ‘we’ve ended up in a freezer and everything’s grey.’’
Amsterdam was great, because we were once again reunited as a family. It wasn’t really a choice for me. I went to Amsterdam because all my family members were here. I come from a family with seven kids and we all live in Amsterdam now. My father still lives on Curacao, but yeah, he liked more than his fair share of women, so that’s his own fault.
My initial time in Amsterdam was spent concentrating on surviving the cold weather. On Curacao it’s so much better. There’s no stress there, people aren’t in a rush all the time and they are more sociable. I miss the fresh, clear tap water, the sun, the beaches and even the rainy season.
I miss it all so much and I’ve come to the point where I would really love to go back. But my boyfriend has to want to go, too. He tells me, ‘’If we win the lottery, we’ll go.’’
I love Amsterdam. When I’m in Almere or Haastrecht I want to get back home as soon as possible. Amsterdam means family to me, and I’m at my happiest when we go to the market. The Ganzenhoefmarkt, Albert Cuypmarkt, or the Amsterdamse Poort market; it reminds me of a mini- Curacao. You’re so far from home, but at least you can get a taste of it. You meet so many people at the market, and for a second you can imagine you’re back on Curacao. You don’t even have to speak Dutch, you can speak Papiamentu.
At the end of 2011 I became very ill and was in hospital for a long period of time. I was chronically ill and thought ‘This is a sign. I have to leave Amsterdam.” It turned out that I had lupus and that I had to take medicine for the rest of my life. My mother rightly said, ‘’It’s better if you stay with us.’’
I’d like to tell Amsterdammers to do what is best for them. Believe in yourself, put yourself on a pedestal. People often forget to put themselves first, but life is too short for that.”