In two short years, Kenyan national Serah Karani Andriessen has developed a morning coffee habit and discovered that spekreepjes can add a touch of flavour to most foods.
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
I met and married Peter (who is Dutch) in Kenya where we lived with our son, Narsh, for a few years before making the decision to relocate to the Netherlands. Peter then returned to the Netherlands and I stayed with Narsh in Kenya for another two and a half years before we followed Peter.
How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc – and why?
I believe my previous answer explains what I am!
How long do you plan to stay and why?
Let me answer this in a different manner. In my culture when a girl gets married and leaves her family home, the place she and her husband call their ‘home’ is usually the home where the husband´s parents live. It does not matter if this means ‘home’ is across the country. In my case, ‘home’ was thousands of miles away. So, here is now my home and I plan to stay for a long time to come.
Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn?
I like this question! Yes I do speak Dutch, but I know it is not as good as should be, especially as I have studied the language in various Dutch language schools up to level B2.
What’s your favourite Dutch food and why?
Spekreepjes! Lovely bacon flavour that can be used in almost all dishes; easy to use; no chopping involved; and always adds the missing flavour when my food is bland. I could almost use them in my cereal.
What do you miss about back home and why?
I miss my family and friends a lot. I also miss the general social nature of Kenyan people who are very warm and friendly towards other people including strangers.
How Dutch have you become and why?
Can’t seem to pick up my day without ‘een kopje koffie’ first!
What’s your top tourist tip?
My top tourist tip is to just keep your eyes open. From the time you arrive in the Netherlands you notice that tourist attractions are everywhere and that the Netherlands is a very beautiful country.
Tell us something surprising you’ve found out about the Netherlands.
Something surprising for me is that in every town or village I have gone to, what always stands out in the centre is an exceptionally beautiful and lovingly built church. Yet I have the feeling that religion is a very quiet and/or private matter in the Netherlands.
If you had just 24 hours left in the Netherlands, what would you do?
I would go for my morning swim with the special women who have really made me feel at home here, followed by our usual cup of coffee. Assuming there would still be a few hours leftover, I would take a drive along the back roads of Gelderland and Overijssel taking in the beauty and freshness of the well/kept farmlands – this is a hobby that I acquired from Peter. It always looks so surreal.
Serah and her husband Peter run Brasserie Halverwege in the DroomPark near Spaarnwoude.