Monday, October 22, 2007


Last weekend I was invited to a barbecue by friend. There I met a lot of people, some of them I could recognize and others I met for the first time. One of the visitors was a man from Sweden, on a week visit to the Netherlands, so the talk was about life here and compares it to Sweden. His impression was very high of the Netherlands. That answer did not make one of the guests happy, that was Z, and he didn’t say anything but I can see that on his face. For that reason I asked him how long has he been living in the Netherlands, and he answered “10 years”. I felt what next to come, but I wanted to hear it, so I asked him if he “can give us based on his experience living in the Netherlands, using one word”. My voice was a little louder than usual so the rest turned their attention to us. The young man squeezed hard on his teeth and said “Garbage! My experience of living in this country is like garbage”. I was shocked because of the intensity when he was saying the word “garbage”. Honestly I wasn’t expect it to be that hard, especially from someone who already live here for more than 10 years, working in an international company and from the outside look no one can expect but to get the impression that he has a happy and comfortable life. However, immediately I snapped him with the “why?” I wanted to know!! He started telling me (us) his story in a certain way that made me feel like he was either; relieved, as if he was letting it out his deepest secret, or he was not happy with my question but decided to give the answer, like “I am going to tell you why… I am not afraid of you!” sort of thing.

Without going into all details, he was newly graduate who came to this country and lived with his relatives who promised him to arrange all papers related to his residency. Later on he had a big fight with his relatives because of money and was kicked out to the street. From there he tried to find ways to get a job, money, and papers to stay in the country. He had no work experience – I mentioned he has just finished studying in his own country before coming here. He worked in restaurants, shops, farms…etc and he suffered immensely from the treatments of his work owners in these different places, until finally managed to find his current job and settle down. He has plans to buy a new house for himself!!

While driving late night heading back home I was wondering what forces made a person like that guy decided to stay in the Netherlands, even plan further for his future and life, such as buying a house in a country he doesn’t like? He has no wife, girlfriend, and he doesn’t talk to his relative anymore. He has no friends – he acknowledged that, and he doesn’t want to have any more friends because making friends mean inviting problems and he had enough problems already in the past years. Is his job the main factor feeling secure? I realize that his country cannot provide him with the same life style, he acknowledged that too and talked badly about many aspects in life exists in his own country. In addition, he told me with sad tone that he couldn’t go back to his own country at any moment in the past 10 years, because he consider that some sort of disgrace and embarrassment to his own self, especially when seeing his old colleagues at the university already made a career and moved on with their lives while he was still wobbling!

Does this make him a bad person? Or to be sympathized with?

One thing I can say; that young man is lonely to highest level, something that might make him envious of others in some cases, but that doesn’t make him in particular harmful to others because some keep their feelings towards others inside.


Mountaingirl said...

Bitterness and anger effect so many aspects of our lives - if we let them. Sometimes it doesn't even matter if our anger is justified. You either have to do something about the situation or get over it. This man surely can't call himself happy and it is sad that so much of his life is drifting by in that state.

MixMax said...

After I wrote this post I kept on thinking and I came to the conclusion that that man is not lonely, he feel emptyness

Gale said...

i think emptiness is true. it's hard to comment not knowing his personality.

some people cant 'see the woods for the trees' & some people get caught up in seeing what is wrong in this world and blaming others, their environment etc for their own failings or inability to be happy.

Its an old saying but happiness is truely from the inside.

Abraham lincoln once said that 'most people are as happy as they choose to be'