My open letter to the Netherlands and its people
Hallo! Mijn naam is Miguel, en ik ben portugees. Unfortunately, this is as far as my Dutch goes, but bear with me, as you read this letter which I respectfully wrote with your country in mind.
My country’s economy is in a state of disarray since… I’ve been born, I believe. Though in the last few years Portugal’s presence in the news has been much amplified, the truth is that, for my generation, this seems to have been the only reality we have known. And this is not a unique time in our History; much like the Dutch, this has been a country made of travelers, of people who dared to push beyond the known barriers of the world to seek their luck and fortune. We did get started before the Dutch; I dare say, before the whole world, but we were soon left lagging behind. It is a recurring thing for us, to stay behind and below those who seem so much more efficient in what they do. But enough about that.
I’m young, barely into my twenties, and with a finished graduation in History, from Lisbon’s University, with a higher-than-average classification. Does that mean anything, in a country with a shattered economy? No. My skills in languages, writing and research are seen as a waste of a body and brain that could otherwise be used for the only thing useful in today’s society: some sort of engineering. I always knew that, but as a person who sternly believes the importance to live your life to the fullest, I followed my dreams, knowing that nightmares would also lie in store for me. Besides, I only seem to be comfortable around letters, not numbers, and that would have resulted in a deeply unqualified, and frustrated, engineer.
I’m a single drop, in an ocean of people facing exactly the same frustration as me, being forced to give up on their dreams, instead having to work part-time in some call center, their creativity crushed under the weight of four claustrophobic walls, and their only reward is some bad payment at the end of the month, which barely lets you survive. Like many of these drops, I intend to leave a country not able to absorb or benefit from my individual skills and ideas. It is a new wave of Portuguese explorers; this time, we do not seek the Indies or the Americas, just a check at the end of the month that allows living with dignity, independently, with a family of our own, all things currently impossible in Portugal. And what country, in this old Europa of ours, would I rather live, and work in? The answer is easy: The Netherlands, of course!
Your country is forward. Your weather is cold, but your people warm. You value culture, arts, literature; knowledge, as a substantial and integral part of a nation’s development. There is no other country I would rather be in. But this is where we come to the difficult part: how?
Learning Dutch on my own, I’m still not sufficiently fluent to be comfortable around Dutch Job Searching sites. The English ones I find, seem to list only engineering jobs. I know times are tough for all of Europe, but are you going to tell me the Netherlands doesn’t have space for a willing young mind, who doesn’t shy away of hard and stressful work (they are, in fact, a strange addiction of mine)?
I wrote this hoping the right people would see it, appreciate its honesty and hopefully give me a chance. My intention isn’t to beg for things to fall down from the sky, I’m merely carving out my future in the best possible way, so that I won’t have to look back with a regretful soul. That is my only fear. So, if any of you awesome Dutch people is willing to believe in me, I’m waiting for your response (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, I can send you my C.V. from there). And don’t mind telling me my intent is hopeless; my dreams are mine alone, and I’ll wake up only on the day I die.
Just keep the following in mind, Netherlands: be it 3 months, one year, or a decade, I intend to one day live amongst you. So why not shorten the trip? The sooner, the better, I say.
Hopen op een spoedige van u horen!