Kamisha grew up in Australia and set off for a “gap year” to London in 2004. Seventeen years later she’s yet to return to live in Australia. One year turned into 2, then 5, then 10; before packing her bags and moving to Bangkok, Thailand, where she lived for 18 months before returning to London.
Kamisha says “In 2017, I decided it was time for a change. I’d lived in London for a long time and felt like a change. I was thinking maybe Canada or New Zealand next because my brother lives in Canada and Australian’s can easily move to New Zealand, but my friend had just moved to the Netherlands and kind of twisted my arm to try it here. I quit my job, packed my bags and that’s it. I decided I’d give it a month. Over 3 years later I’m still here and I even bought a house”, Kamisha recalls with a smile. During her time in the Netherlands, she’s lived in Almere, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and now she’s settled in Dordrecht, 15 minutes from Rotterdam.
We asked Kamisha if she has a favourite city, she said “It’s hard to say, because each of the cities I’ve lived in were all so different and for different durations. I like hustle and bustle and excitement in a bigger city and appreciate the charm of the small towns. I like it all!”
Enjoying her time with a friend while living in Thailand
When we asked to share facts about her home country, this is what Kamisha got to say: “Christmas is very different in Australia, because it’s summer and hot. Even Santa wears shorts”
From her words, Christmas in Australia is more informal and relaxed than in Europe. Christmas is often spent outdoors and people visit others and move around during the day. Christmas day could be: Champagne breakfast, then barbeque lunch with friends and then maybe visit other friends or family in the evening.
On Christmas day Australians often stay outside and play sports, children run around and people eat and drink pretty much from sunrise till sunset. It’s also common to serve cold meals, (except for the barbeques), such as salads, seafood etc as it might be 40 degrees and nobody wants to stay in a hot kitchen and cook. In Kamisha’s hometown, everyone returns to the town to visit family and on Christmas Eve and basically everyone tries to squeeze into their local pub. People haven’t sometimes seen each other for a year (Australia’s a big country and people can live so far away) so it’s like a big reunion.
“The second day of Christmas is known as ‘Boxing Day’. Many Australians go to the beach or to the mall. We have great sales in stores on Boxing Day, kinda like a Black Friday ”, says Kamisha.
The other thing that Kamisha mentioned was that people are quite shocked by the size of Australia compared to Europe. Just look at the map below.
Most of all Kamisha misses her family and the sunshine from time to time, “I don’t like the hot weather, but I miss sunshine here. Where I’m from in Australia, it doesn’t rain often. If you look outside and there’s no clouds, it’s not going to rain. If there are some clouds, it’s still probably not going to rain. In the Netherlands it’s probably going to rain either way”, says Kamisha jokingly.
Kamisha moved to the Netherlands in 2017, just before Christmas and has built her life here. “I wish I was more organised and prepared, but it just happened. It was a quick decision. It was a fresh start for me here in the Netherlands and it worked out”.
Kamisha had been to the Netherlands quite a few times before but also had the help of her friends when she arrived and is very grateful for their support. “My friend’s partner is Dutch and he was super helpful. He helped me with the appointments, drove me around. Together; they were my ‘Settly’”, says Kamisha.
What was the first thing you did in the Netherlands?
“Hmm, my friend met me at the airport and we were so busy talking on the train we missed our stop and ended up in Lelystad and had to go all the way back to Almere. We had a bit of a laugh about that. I definitely bought a wind/rainproof jacket very shortly after my arrival too. I had like ten jackets, but I wasn’t prepared for the wind! I thought the weather was pretty similar to London, but no; wind and rain together can be a challenge and none of my jackets were equipped to deal with that.”, says Kamisha with a grin.
Also there was time to relax shortly after arriving as a few days later Kamisha experienced her first Dutch Christmas!