L., refugee from Kurdistan, 13 years in The Netherlands
‘Beforehand I was unsure about how I would be able to express myself. I clicked with Alize. She asked good questions, was understanding and accepting. Therefore I had no difficulty telling her very difficult things. Telling these things was a relief to me. I was given help and space to examine my story. The conversations helped me to organize my thoughts.
Living in a different country is difficult. In the Netherlands I often didn’t know how to act. It made me a passive person. Because Alize helped me to look at myself, I was able to deal with myself better. I made more and more progress and that’s why I always wanted to continue our work together. She helped me build a life in the Netherlands. This way I was able to get an education and work experience. The meetings with her I considered as something I did to look after myself: attention that I gave myself and that I wanted myself to have. I am proud to have done this!’
S., remigrant: 8 years in New Zealand, 25 years back in the Netherlands
‘I had emigrated to New Zealand and had lived there for 8 years. When I came back to the Netherlands due to circumstances, I noticed I didn’t fit in anymore: the inner life, the people, the way of dealing with one another. I had difficulty dealing with all the ‘have to’s’. It was the whole way of life. Over there, it had always been like a holiday to me: the weather was always good, never having to wear a coat. I was missing the laid back way of life, barbeques, potlucks. I didn’t feel at home anymore in the Netherlands, I felt completely disordered. After twenty-five years it was still like that: it felt painful, distressing and like a great loss.
The conversations with Alize have changed this. I have learned to deal with my feelings differently. It is not so painful anymore. I can live with my longing and deal with it. I can accept that things are okay over here too, I feel more relaxed with life here and with the way people are. I feel more relaxed, happier, more free and am more able to enjoy things. I was surprised to suddenly sense that the pain about New Zealand had disappeared. I can now carry on living.’
A., immigrant from Nicaragua, bicultural marriage, 23 years in the Netherlands
‘Alize has helped me to regard my in between position in a positive light. Never before (in counselling) have I had conversations with someone who is specialised in culture. Because of her positive contribution, many anxieties and negative thoughts have been turned around. The criticism towards both cultures disappeared. I am milder, causing both cultures to be able to integrate and merge. I am no longer part in a balancing act, and am able to live with both feet in one country.
I have been able to open up with Alize. I feel this is one of her strengths. From her own background she knows the in between situation (her father is from the Dutch Indies). This contributed even more to me being able to let myself be vulnerable. On top of that, she is a very structured person, which I appreciate and find useful. She radiates calm, which made me feel relaxed in turn. During the coaching we worked on several goals very thoroughly. This helped me to get a fixed contract in my profession, while before I always had temporary work contracts. She helped me to pick up on other people’s emotions. Small successes helped me build my confidence. I am more open now than I have ever been to embrace the Dutch culture. This helps me to settle even further in the Netherlands’.
W., Dutch, partially raised in Curaçao and the United Kingdom, 4 moves
‘I found our talks pleasant and clarifying. Patterns, and my role in them, became clear. It gave me peace, confidence and strength. By finding out what needs healing and why I act the way I do, a certain peace is formed. Through the tools that I have been given to use, I now know how to deal with these old patterns. This produces strength and confidence.
I noticed that you were able to ask the right questions by way of your own experience, which really gave me pause for thought. I now understand what all the moving and growing up in different cultures did to me, and how it shaped me into the woman I am today.
As a person, I appreciate your serene calmness. I appreciate your impartiality in the asking of questions. You are not judgemental. For me, that is a pleasant way of working.
I have experienced what you have done for me in the past months as a warm blanket full of love and kind reflection’.
W., parents migrated, mother Dutch Indies, father Dutch, born in Holland
‘I am grateful for the discoveries I’ve been allowed to make. More understanding of the Dutch Indian part of my upbringing and being. This understanding gives me peace. I’ve moved from pain to cherishing. I’ve received well-being and healing. I experience that as precious !! With other helpers, culture, the migration of my parents and their homesickness didn’t get the attention as it got with you. I hope and wish you can help many other people to discover their hidden or forgotten culture’.