There’s a first time for everything… First time you entered an airport, first time going to the dentist or first time eating certain foods. There is a time and place for each event that takes place in our lives.
One event that is very close to my heart is the first time I had to learn another language. This happened around 1999 and 2000. The first time I step foot in The Netherlands and couldn’t speak Dutch at all, my father was the only one that could understand and speak it a bit more fluently that my mother and I.
He didn’t had any patience at all to explain or teach us in a proper manner but thank goodness for meeting this little girl that spoke the same language I did she was born in Aruba and we could communicate perfectly in Papiamento which is the native language of Aruba. She helped me by translating what I said to Dutch and vice versa, made it a bit easier to communicate with the lovely older teacher I had back then.
Learning a whole new language and adapting myself to a new life was a transformation that took time to understand. Don’t get me wrong I was so happy to be there but it took effort, time and patience for myself to have this new lifestyle and the language. I remember it was not easy at first but I watched Dutch television, books and songs and those three factors really helped me. I pushed myself to become better at the language.
Aruba is part of the Dutch Kingdom and they teach Dutch at schools but back then it wasn’t a priority I would say. Teachers would teach us words in Dutch but not whole conversations and it’s actually completely different from living a day to day in The Netherlands itself.
I passed the class in that year of 2000 struggling but content with the progress I have made. In second grade I remember speaking Dutch fluently, writing and learning bunch of new words I have never knew about. Made me curious and I wanted to learn more and more…the motivation was definitely there!
My mother talked fluently Spanish and Papiamento but Dutch was still very challenging for her to adapt to, she knew some words but couldn’t say much really. Every time she would asked me “Catarina que dice aqui ?” I had to translate for her and many times she would ask me to read official government letters that she didn’t knew anything about.
After a few months my older brother went to Netherlands to live he didn’t know anything about Dutch he would ask me if I could please tell him how to say certain words in Dutch.
With this experience at a young age helped me see life in another perspective and be grateful for the experience. I had to opportunity to learn a new language within a year or two I could speak Dutch and make friends at school. I love being different from everyone I’m proud of myself for being persistent, not giving up and always being a happy kid.
Life is beautiful
Notes on the Author and Illustrator
Catarina is another fabulous member of our blogging community. She is a beauty blogger with a plethora of knowledge on skin care and beauty regimes. Drop by Catarina’s website Beauty of Cafe 205 to get the latest updates on all your beauty needs and products. Follow Catarina on Twitter and Instagram for your daily dose of light and positivity. For more inspiration on beauty ideas and lifestyle tips visit Catarina’s Pinterest.
All illustrations provided throughout #MyFirstTime are original, bespoke works of Monty Vern. Monty has also
created “My First Time…Behind the Scenes” – a companion series to My First Time. In this exclusive series Monty allows us to take a walk through his mind when creating images for ‘My First Time’. A collaboration in every sense, when you get a glimpse into the inner workings of a creatives mind! Keep up with the whole series by following T.B.C and Monty Vern.