Tiptoe Through the Tulips with Thelma Mingacho

For someone who’s only been in the Netherlands for two months, Thelma really has a great outlook and an enthusiasm for embracing the country, the language and the locals. Thanks, Thelma for being a good sport and getting us off to a great start on the Tiptoe Through the Tulips Interview series!

How long have you been living in the Netherlands and what brought you here?
I came to Holland on the 2nd of April of this year. The main reason that brought me here was the fact of seeking for new experiences. I had interest in Dutch culture, persons here are very friendly and helpful, the country is really beautiful and the political system is very organized. Of course I also made the decision to leave Portugal because it is a country “buried” in a crisis and at the moment it is really difficult to find a job and to get a good level of life there. My principal objective is to find some stability here.

Do you plan to stay in the Netherlands, move back to your home country, or try somewhere else?
At the moment I am thinking about staying here as long as it is possible. I don’t know if I will return to Portugal or move on to another country, it depends how my situation here will develop, if I get a good job here and if it gives me the stability I am looking for, probably I’ll live here for long time.

What do you do during the day (job, stay at home mom, entrepreneur, student, etc)?
Currently I stay at home looking for a job. Unfortunately I haven’t found one yet. I already inscribed myself in recruitment agencies specializing in non-dutch speakers, as Undutchables, Unique, Bluelinx, etc, and I am waiting for an opportunity. I studied insurance and banking in Portugal, a course equivalent to the Dutch MBO and I’d love to have the possibility to work in my area or in customer service area as a Portuguese native and an English user.

During the day I also study Dutch through the internet by the taalklas.nl website, I am trying to be familiar to the Dutch language before the language course starts in September at Fontys Language Centre here in Eindhoven.

What’s the most notable difference between your home country and the Netherlands?
The most notable difference is definitely the political system. In Netherlands nothing is left to chance, everything is organized until the detail and it seems to be a rich country. In Portugal we only see manifestations and people are very unhappy because the political promises are broken. Portugal is a country becoming increasingly poor. Netherlands have also some issues especially about the anti-Islamism politic but in general is a comfortable country.

Where is your favorite place to visit in the Netherlands?
Well, I think I like every place in Netherlands, especially the green ones, I love being in contact with nature. However I can say that, until now, I really liked the cities of Breda and Bergen-op-Zoom. I found them very typical.

Give us one thing you love about the Netherlands and one thing you loathe…
I loved Dutch people because they are so friendly and so original! I don’t like so much the fact of a part of Netherlands had been built below the sea level, I confess that it scares me a little bit!

What’s one thing you’ve had to adjust to since coming to the Netherlands and how did you adjust (or are you still working on it)?
The Dutch language, no doubt! It is an interesting language but I find it a little difficult because of the long words they use and also because of the accent, sometimes I take long time to spell a word! Maybe it seems to be more difficult because I am studying alone and through the internet. Over the time I am confident that I’ll learn it!

Do you have an embarrassing moment since you’ve moved that you would like to share with us (an unfortunate language blunder, or a funny getting-back-on-the-bike story)?
Well, there are a few words and sentences in Dutch that I understand. Last month I went to the bus and I decided to speak Dutch just to ask for a simple ticket, the bus conductor started laughing and replied in English, I don’t know what made him laugh, was it the accent or did I say something stupid? I don’t know!

What’s the best piece of advice you received that you would like to pass along to anyone coming to the Netherlands?
When we change our life especially to go to another country it’s never easy. So I’d like to pass what my family and friends used say to me: “Do not lose hope in achieving your life goals. Always fight and have patience when things don’t go so well!”Do you have any blogs or websites that you would like to recommend?
I have 2 blogs about Netherlands:
For the other hand I made last year a blog about Portugal, not across the bad things but related to the good things, like tourism and Portuguese music:
All these blogs are written in Portuguese but I put the Google translator in the sidebar of the blogs. I also have a Facebook profile.

Images courtesy of Thelma Mingacho

Interested in doing an interview of your own? Send me an email at clogsandtulipsblog@gmail.com with ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

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