Hunger for stories: Barbara, from Veneto to Haarlem

Hunger for stories: Barbara, from Veneto to Haarlem

Stories are among my  main driving forces, since I can recall. Even now that I’m a grumpy almost-old man, I cannot cure my craving for stories. Here’s the story of Barbara.

I blame and thank my grandma for that, the one with the name of a flower. In English it would be Daisy.  In my mother language Margherita. But she was nonna Rita for everybody.

As the Piep Piper of Hamelin, she was able to gently drag me away from my occupations and adventures, using her stories instead of a flute. While half munch and half bear creatures were claiming their pancakes, greedy kids were trying to fool the devil, creatures of the rivers were attracting travelers lost in the woods, I forgot everything else, even eating. I would have been almost able to have my daily nutrition just from her tales .

My grandma has died, but I still remember all her stories. My hunger for new ones is still there.

That’s why I always try to find a way to fill my need, to find a new story.

Stories of “Genti d’ Olanda”

Recently I decided to ask to people to tell me their stories. This is how “Genti d’Olanda” started. Two Portraits, one story told directly by my victim. I use this term because I consider myself a kind of vampire. I can have a bit of you just if you invite me to come in. My thirst will be quenched from your words.

I know that it’s not a new concept, but this is not the point: knowing the stories of who I can call “my people”, I will know myself better too.

Barbara, from Veneto to Haarlem

Barbara is one “my people” that invited me to come in after my request. I met her during one of the ExpatsHaarlem meetings. She told me she came in the Netherlands for Love. I don’t understand love very well. My hunger that feels like a thirst started to rise again and I asked her to tell me her story. My fangs were ready:

“The first time that I’ve been in Amsterdam it was Easter of 2012. I came with my boyfriend, Carlo. In the end he decided to stay to look for a job but I had to go back to Italy to finish my studies in Verona.

We said goodbye with the promise that I would have reached him once graduated, with no clue of what the future would have had in mind for us.

I had so many questions during the months we spent apart: do I really want to move to Amsterdam? Will I be able to manage the challenge of a new language and to find a job? Above all, how will it be to live together with Carlo?

We discussed for two whole years about all these matters, while we were apart. Gradually I managed to overcome my fears, replaced by the excitement of starting a new life together.

At the end of July 2014, just a week after my graduation, I took a plane and I flew to the Netherlands.

In the beginning, it wasn’t easy: I missed my friends and family. I was looking for a job and I had to start to practice my English, which in real life is different from the English language that you learn in school.

Thanks to Carlo and my friends I’ve been able to overcome the hard times and I started to adjust myself to my new reality.

Now it’s 10 months that I live in the Netherlands and I’m happy about how our adventure together is evolving.

You need strong motivations to leave your Country and with the situation we have right now in Italy, it wasn’t honestly so difficult to say Goodbye Italy.

For sure Carlo has been an even bigger push.

Maybe with him not in the picture, the destination would have been different”.

Hunger for stories: Barbara, from Veneto to Haarlem

Hunger for stories: Barbara, from Veneto to Haarlem

More about “Genti d’ Olanda”

“Genti d’Olanda” ( is a project for  +31mag (, the webmagazine for the Italians or Italian speakers in the Netherlands.

The original article about Barbara has been published the 06.06.2015, you can find it here (