Teuta Metra from Albania in WonderNetherlands
Interview with Teuta Metra who is a writer, journalist and lecturer.
Hello! My name is Teuta Metra. I am a published writer and author of three novels.
I originally come from Albania and moved to The Netherlands where I have lived for almost seven years now. In Albania I used to be a well-known reporter and newsreader for Albanian radio and TV channels, until I left few years ago. After leaving my country, emigrating to Rotterdam, I turned my hand to fiction. In my books, I touch upon social and cultural issues and
my characters, which are mostly women, deal with the struggle of clashing mentalities. It occurred to me just now that I’m writing this lines, that I haven’t done this consciously. I believe that my life in another country has not only taught me a lot but also has a great influence on my writing style too.
Life in the Netherlands
Life in the Netherlands hasn’t been always smooth.
I like the open way of thinking of the Dutch people though. Which is something very unusual in Albania. When I settled in Rotterdam with my boyfriend (now my husband), I had to get used to another lifestyle, another culture and mentality. I had no family, no friends. I also had to quit my job as a journalist and that hurt. I couldn’t speak a word Dutch, and that frustrated me. Of course I couldn’t, I was living in another country, which has nothing to do with the Netherlands. But, I’m cursed with the perfectionism, and I wanted to speak Dutch good, since day two. 😉 Then, bit by bit, I got to know more people; I learned the language and adjusted to the Dutch culture and mentality. I am a mother of two beautiful children, and I build my family that began her first steps in the Netherlands. For the past few years I have worked as a teacher for Albanian language at OSCE, in The Hague and that has definitely improved my life but also changed a lot for me as a professional.
As much as I love Rotterdam, the weather was a bit of a challenge for me. I’m used to sun and nice weather. When I first came to Holland, I left Tirana, almost burning with temperatures up to 40 degrees and I found Rotterdam in a normal rainy day with a high temperature 17 degree. It was mid of August. I couldn’t believe it. It got me a while to get used to such weather, but still I do miss the sun of Albania, and the beautiful Albanian beaches. When I go to Albania, I try my best to find time and go to the beach in Vlora, or Saranda. The sunset there is absolutely breathtaking. On the other hand, I love Korca too, a beautiful city in the south- east of Albania, known also as “The City of Serenades”. A city full of history and wonderful places to visit. But now Rotterdam is my city and often I love to go out and drink something at ‘Oude Haven’, as the locals call it. The city center is also modern and looks so inviting that you couldn’t say no to an invitation for a glass of wine at the bars in Weena.
At the beginning I found it very hard to make friends, but what I realized is that in a new country that is a challenge also for other people that are in the same situations as mine. They also want to make friends, they also left home. So, when I arrived here, I started attending some meetings for expats, which are amazing. I am part of a group here in Rotterdam, ‘shut up and write’. Such events help me connect and network but also learn more about the areas I am interested and involved in. After we finish writing, we stay a bit longer and have a drink together. We talk about life here and in our countries. With some of them I shared also my social media contacts. As you may know Albania was a communist country for almost 50 years and people were forced to be endured behind closed borders. I didn’t experience that time, but something inside me hates the borders, and that’s why I love meeting new people, learning new languages and new cultures. So, I believe that the best thing to do is to go out and search for contacts. I have so many friends now from all over the world and I’m enjoying life to the fullest.
More about Teuta:
Photos and text: Communications-Unlimited.nl
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