The day my adventure started was on a Valentine's day seventeen years ago.

When I was in my late 20s living in La Paz, Bolivia, one of my dreams was to move back to Europe and build a life there. I had been daydreaming about it for years, envisioning myself walking the streets of the Netherlands and the UK. My goal was to learn and speak the language of my birth country, Dutch, which I had only spoken briefly as a child.


"Animas" valley La Paz, Bolivia 2007.


Seventeen years ago today, I boarded a plane and moved back to the Netherlands, a place where part of my roots lie. Armed with just two suitcases and a round trip ticket for a one-month stay, I could have had a backup plan to return to Bolivia. But failure was not an option for me. Fortunately, just before the month was over, I secured an internship at an Urban Design bureau in Amsterdam, thanks to the contacts I had maintained in the Netherlands. It was an incredible feeling to have a place to live with family friends in The Hague, who had undergone similar experiences. Their support was invaluable, and I experienced a positive work culture shock with my employer being supportive, encouraging, and flexible.



How did I feel? Excited, hopeful, scared, and free. I had no step-by-step plan.

What did I leave behind? My mom, my sister, my little brother, a warm home, childhood friends, college friends, and two jobs. I was just promoted in one of my jobs and was valued at my second one.

What did I go to? Possibilities, the unknown, friends willing to help me get started, a culture I barely knew, and family I hadn't seen in years.

Whom and what am I grateful for? My family: my sister, my mom, my little brother, Erwin, Claudia, Dimitri, and many more. I am also grateful for my courage, risk-taking attitude, capacity to dream, optimism, positive mindset, and the kindness of others.

I wouldn't change a thing. It hasn't been easy, and I'm still learning and growing. Happy Valentine's day!


Hofvijver, The Hague, Netherlands 2007

GEMAAKT DOOR Future ICT & Design
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