Getting to know – Connie Koorevaar

Where were you born?
Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA

 

Where have you lived?
USA and the Netherlands (Hazerwoude-Dorp, Leiden and Almere)

 

Where can we find you online?
I’m very active on facebook and pinterest

 

 

Almere is an inter­est­ing and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of liv­ing here.
I’m the poster-child for Almere…I love this city.  Here I’ve lived in a small village, a university city and now Almere….it’s the perfect city.  Nature everywhere, village feel to the neighborhoods but in a short time by bus you’re in a center of your city be that Buiten, Haven or Stad.   The transportation system is amazing.  Most everything is just a bus or car trip away.  It’s not big yet, but it’s got plans.  It takes time for cities to grow up and I’m older than this city….I have faith it’ll eventually have something for everyone.   And if I feel I’m missing the “older” bits, in about 20 minutes I’m downtown Amsterdam.  I love that this city is always thinking about what it can do, it’s not so old that it thinks it’s done.  I’d be even happier if some of those plans actually got built, but I’ve still got hope.

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?
Nothing beats dinner and a movie or to the theater.  We’ve got good choices for dinner and I’m happy with many different ones, such as Yamas, Buddha, Cubanita, Bobby Bear.

Would you define your­self as an expat, an inter­na­tional, or some­thing entirely different?
I’m not a classic expat since I didn’t come here for work and I’d not call me international either since I’ve only lived in two countries.  In 2010 I became a dual Dutch citizen and even before that if people asked me where I was from I’d not hesitate to say Almere…..luckily I’m usually around others that remind me my answer should be America.  I’m a globalist at heart so where I live is my home and where I’ve lived are the experiences that have shaped me into me.

How long do you plan on liv­ing here for?
Until we retire and then I’d love to seek out a warm less rainy patch of land to live on.

Tell us how you found Inter­na­tional Almere?
Petra, the wee Scottish woman.  We decided we would meet up with IA, before it became a formal organization it was just a group of women that would meet up the first Friday of the month in the 70’s/80’s bar in Buiten a long time ago.

Have you been to any Inter­na­tional Almere events? Which was your favourite?
Yes, I’ve been to numerous events.  Helped plan many.  I loved our first years picnic and the second year I loved the Halloween Party and Christmas party.  I love the family events.  Getting to see everyone again and having a great time as a group going out and having fun.

What advice would you offer to oth­ers who are think­ing of tak­ing the plunge and mov­ing to Almere?
Do it!!!  Almere is wonderful!!!  Join a group, preferably International Almere!!

What has been your biggest chal­lenge since arriv­ing in Almere?
I was hit very hard by culture shock.  I had a very hard time learning the language and I couldn’t understand why the Dutch did many of the things they did.  I missed my customer service.  I don’t think I’m lying when I say it took about 4 years for me to settle into the country.  It took 4 years to be happy with my Dutch and not feel guilty that it isn’t perfect.  It took 4 years to understand that the Dutch do what the Dutch do cause that’s how the Dutch do it and they’re not likely to ever get customer service….hahaha.  But that’s culture shock and it’s by far I think the one thing we underestimate how it’s going to affect us and becomes our biggest enemy while trying to adapt to living in a foreign country.

If you had to leave tomor­row and could take only one thing – any­thing – from Almere, what would it be?
What couldn’t I do without….my friends!

What is your favourite Dutch tra­di­tion, and how do you cel­e­brate? Do you still cel­e­brate hol­i­days and tra­di­tions from your home country?
I most definitely celebrate my American traditions, no matter what happens, I’ll always be American and though I’m a bit more Dutch, I don’t think I’d feel good if I gave up celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.    My favorite Dutch tradition is probably St. Maartin because it’s so much like Halloween and I just get a giddy childish glee when the doorbell rings on the 11th of November.