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”I spent most of my twenties traveling the world by myself. I would always avoid winter and chase the sun. Just as I avoided my depression, I avoided the discomfort of winter and the cold. While traveling, I certainly had beautiful moments, but deep down, I was miserable. At the beginning of this year, I moved back to Amsterdam. This time I decided to stay. I’m no longer running away from my pain. For the first time in my life, I’m in therapy. There are tough days, but I’m no longer ashamed of it. Like yesterday, I wasn’t feeling too well, but I still went to visit my friends. A few years ago, I would have locked myself up in my room, but now, I allow myself to be there, even if I’m having a bad day. I wear my pain with me on my chest, and I allow it to exist. This year, I learned that in life, you should not avoid the dark winter days. They have a purpose; to make you grow.” The post appeared first on Humans of Amsterdam.

”I spent most of my twenties traveling the world by myself. I would always avoid winter and chase the sun. Just as I avoided my depression, I avoided the discomfort of winter and the cold. While traveling, I certainly had beautiful moments, but deep down, I was miserable. At the beginning of this year, I moved back to Amsterdam. This time I decided...

“Although my grades were much higher than my older brothers, he was the one who got to go to university. Back in the sixties, girls often got married at a young age, so it was seen as a waste of money to send girls to university. I wanted to study psychology, but my father wouldn’t let me. I ended becoming a social worker. I thought that was a beautiful profession, but my ambition to study did not disappear. For five years, I worked at the child protection services. My supervisor at work was a female psychologist. I learned a lot from her. She inspired me to quit my job and study psychology. My mother completely disagreed with my choice. To calm her down, I promised that I would only study for one year. In the back of my mind, I knew that was a lie. I was too old to qualify for a scholarship, so I sold my car. I loved studying. I was doing so well that the university decided to offer me a scholarship after all. I had a good career as a professor at a university. I never wanted to get married or have children. That was just not for me. I have experienced so much freedom in my life. Besides, life has blessed me with twelve nieces and nephews. I am the happiest aunt on this planet. “ The post appeared first on Humans of Amsterdam.

“Although my grades were much higher than my older brothers, he was the one who got to go to university. Back in the sixties, girls often got married at a young age, so it was seen as a waste of money to send girls to university. I wanted to study psychology, but my father wouldn’t let me. I ended becoming a social worker. I thought that was a beautiful...

“I was at my aunt’s house when we received a phone call that my dad had passed away. I was living in Suriname with my mother at the time. My dad lived here. Despite the distance, he tried to visit me as much as possible. He would always bring expensive clothing from The Netherlands, which made me the coolest kid in my street. The last time I saw my father, I was nine years old. During his last visit, he took me to all these different places and told me a lot about his life. It was as if he knew that it would be the last time we would see each other. My father got buried in The Netherlands. I was supposed to stay only a few months until after the funeral, but my mother thought I would have a better future here in The Netherlands. My mother went back to Suriname, and I stayed with some relatives. Growing up without your parents is difficult. As a kid, I didn’t know how to express my emotions. Anger became a way of expressing my pain. My outlook on life changed when I turned eighteen. I would hang out a lot with my friends on the street. One day, a man from my neighborhood came up to me and said: If we are lucky, we have a few people who take care of us in this life. I have been watching you. You are not taking good care of yourself. After he said that, I realized that I needed to take better care of myself and deal with my emotions. His words hit home because he actually noticed me.” The post appeared first on Humans of Amsterdam.

“I was at my aunt’s house when we received a phone call that my dad had passed away. I was living in Suriname with my mother at the time. My dad lived here. Despite the distance, he tried to visit me as much as possible. He would always bring expensive clothing from The Netherlands, which made me the coolest kid in my street. The last time I saw my...

“Right before departure, I was separated from my family and taken off the train at Amsterdam Central Station. They took me to a children’s home. I was only two years old, so I don’t have a lot of memories. I do remember that every time someone rang the door, I had to hide in the basement. When the war ended, I went from one foster family to another. I have lived in over 27 different foster homes. It was not a secure upbringing. When I nine, I discovered ballet. A few years later, I got accepted into a dance company. I’ve been told that dancing is for prostitutes, but I never cared. I always said, ‘if dancing is for prostitutes, then I’m a prostitute.’ Dancing became a way for me to express my emotions. I met my ex-husband when I was eighteen, and we had two children. I became a dance teacher. Even though life continued, I never stopped having questions about my past, what exactly happened to my parents, and what my life was like in the children’s home. Since my family was Jewish, I have always assumed they got deported to the death camps, but it was never confirmed. When there is nobody to verify your story, you sometimes doubt if it really happened. I have never been able to find anything about my past until twelve years ago. I was at my foster mother’s house when my then-boyfriend called and said there’s an article in the paper about the children’s home. I picked up the paper and saw multiple photos of emaciated children. Amongst those children, I saw a little girl. It was me. Someone had found a box of files and pictures at the garbage and brought it to a journalist. Amongst those files, statements were detailing the abuse, neglect, and mistreatment that took place in the children’s home. I remember I was shaking reading the article. It was painful and confronting, but at the same time, it felt like recognition. For the first time, I could say this is not a story that I made up. This really happened. “ The post appeared first on Humans of Amsterdam.

“Right before departure, I was separated from my family and taken off the train at Amsterdam Central Station. They took me to a children’s home. I was only two years old, so I don’t have a lot of memories. I do remember that every time someone rang the door, I had to hide in the basement. When the war ended, I went from one foster family to another....

Stel, Erasmuspark

“She was one of the baristas at the café I was managing. At work, we got along really well but at the time, I was still in a relationship with a man, and I had no idea that I could be attracted to women. After a year, I got transferred to a different branch of the company. A few months later, at a company party, we ran into each other again. My relationship...

Meisje op de dam

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“This is my first day in Amsterdam ever. Mom has already been here and today she took me with her. The buildings here are so big and there are so many people on the street. We just met a man who is an artist. He makes hats and T-shirts and look he made this hat with my name on it and mom bought it for me. Tomorrow I’m going to show everyone in my class. Amsterdam is so nice. I hope we can come back here.” The post appeared first on Humans of Amsterdam.

“This is my first day in Amsterdam ever. Mom has already been here and today she took me with her. The buildings here are so big and there are so many people on the street. We just met a man who is an artist. He makes hats and T-shirts and look he made this hat with my name on it and mom bought it for me. Tomorrow I’m going to show everyone in my class....

“I never had a strong desire to become a parent. Neither did my wife. We took over my parents cafe instead. We worked for more than 40 years to keep the business going. You could say that the cafe was our child. When we retired we had to sell the cafe. It was hard giving up our business. However, we still live above the cafe and the new owners are doing a great job. Now that I am retired, I spend most of my days reading the paper and taking walks around Amsterdam. When I am tired I stay nearby. When I feel adventurous, I explore different parts of town. My wife and I, we do our own thing. We have no rules. Well except for one: Every day at 5PM we meet at the house and we drink a glass of dry white wine in the living room. No matter how far I walk, she knows I’ll be home 5PM sharp.” The post appeared first on Humans of Amsterdam.

“I never had a strong desire to become a parent. Neither did my wife. We took over my parents cafe instead. We worked for more than 40 years to keep the business going. You could say that the cafe was our child. When we retired we had to sell the cafe. It was hard giving up our business. However, we still live above the cafe and the new owners are doing...

3/3 “I always wanted to learn how to play basketball so I googled: How to play basketball? in Arabic. I only got English search results so that is when I realized I needed to learn English. Since I only had an education until the age of 9, a lot of basic things like reading and writing or knowing how to use a computer is really difficult for me. I found out about free classes at the Migrant CommunityCentre in Beirut. I took English and Computer classes and I met a lot of people from different backgrounds. One day I met a volunteer. She was a therapist and I told her my story. She offered me free therapy sessions. For three months straight I would see her every week and I would talk to her about my past. She helped me a lot. All my life I was raised to believe that I was a ‘’nobody’’. It will take a long time before I can feel that I am ’‘somebody”. I don’t need to be better or smarter than other people, I just want to feel that I am equal to others. Learning English has given me a lot of confidence. I have found a nice place to live and I made a lot of friends her at the Migrant Centre. I know that my life will improve, all I got to do is keep on educating myself’’ (Beirut, Lebanon)

3/3 “I always wanted to learn how to play basketball so I googled: How to play basketball? in Arabic. I only got English search results so that is when I realized I needed to learn English. Since I only had an education until the age of 9, a lot of basic things like reading and writing or knowing how to use a computer is really difficult for me. I found...

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