Meet Alice, originally from Italy but she has been travelling all around the world. She moved to Haarlem from Bali, because she found love with a Dutchman. She is a yoga teacher and loves Haarlem for its beauty, calmness and the breweries!
1. Where are you from?
I’m originally from the north of Italy, but I’ve been travelling and living in many different countries, such as Marocco, UK, Indonesia.
2. Why did you leave your home country?
I’m a wanderer by nature, I love exploring new countries and cultures, I feel at home everywhere I go but I always have some sort of melancholy that pushes me to travel and experience more.
3. How did you end up in the Netherlands?
I was living in Bali when I met a Dutchman. I didn’t think twice when he asked me to move to his home country. My relationship is way more important to me than a sunny island and surfing waves.
4. Why did you choose to live in Haarlem?
He is originally from Haarlem and I fell in love with this city, so pretty and calm. The idea of living in Amsterdam or any other big city gives me anxiety, I guess I still have the Balinese lifestyle running in my veins.
5. How do you cope with being away from home?
I’m pretty fine with that, family and friends don’t need to be with me physically all the time, their love and support don’t change with distance. Of course, I have some moments where I miss them terribly, that’s why I’m a huge fan of vocal messages and video chat!
6. What do you do for a living?
I’m a yoga teacher. The best job in the world for me. I can work anywhere, meet amazing people, grow and learn every single day and at the same time help others to feel better and to empower themselves. I work here in Haarlem every Sunday morning at 8:00 at Pilates Studio Haarlem, I teach an intense vinyasa flow class in English. From the 10th of June (also my birthday), I will start a special class in Italian, every Sunday at 10. There is a big Italian community here in Haarlem and I think it could be an amazing way to feel at home, practising yoga in your own language. Of course, I offer private classes too, both in English and Italian.
7. Do you have a hobby or any other activity you enjoy doing?
I love books and movies. I’m a nerd in yoga pants.
8. In your opinion what is the hardest thing being an expat?
Well definitely being able to integrate yourself and don’t be a long-term tourist. Learn the language and the culture of your new home. I have a typical Italian thing, I gesticulate a lot when I speak, my hands are all over the place; in the UK is considered very rude and I had to learn how to control myself. Here in the Netherlands, I’m definitely struggling with the language! I’ve been able to learn Arabic, but Dutch it’s so hard!
9. In your opinion what is the best thing about being an expat?
When you move abroad you learn something new every day. Not just about the country or the people around you, but about yourself. Being an expat can really help to stay humble, and being humble is the best thing we could do to ourselves.
10. What are the things you love most about living in the Netherlands, Dutch people and the culture in general?
I love the fact that Dutch people are so straightforward, they tell you what they want, how they want it. This really makes life so much easier!
11. What are the things you like most about Haarlem?
It’s really easy to get around, with a bike or by walk, the city centre it’s lovely, walking there gives you the impression to have been sent back in time.
12. What are the favourite places you like to go out to eat and/or drink in Haarlem?
I love Jetties veggie burger and SLA has an amazing menu and coffee.
13. What do you think are the must-see locations in Haarlem?
I think breweries. Haarlem has a terrific history of beer brewing! Sint Bravo Church with his organ is definitely a must see too! When the weather it’s nice the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park it’s a lovely place to spend a day out or go on a date.
14. If you could give only one piece of advice to fellow expats who are new to Haarlem what would it be?
Join Facebook groups, meet up events and as soon as the sun is out, go out to have a beer: you will make a lot of new friends. And of course, join my Sunday classes!