Interviewing Fleur van de Put

7 October 2014 0 Comments Category: Expats Interviews, Fleur Van de Put

Fleur is a Dutch girl who makes a living out of her passion for running. While running or riding a bike, she shows people around in the beautiful city of Valencia.

 

THE BEGINNING

When did you move to Spain? Why do you live in Valencia?

I moved to Valencia Spain in 2008. After a half year of sabbatical, where I tried to learn Spanish and enjoyed another scenery and culture, I didn’t want to leave that soon and added another half year. After one year in Spain, living in this beautiful city of Valencia, where I made new friends, got a job, I didn’t want to leave anymore.

INTEGRATION

Can you remember what made most impact on you when you arrived?

When I packed my bags to move to Valencia, I only packed T-shirts, shorts, flip-flops and bikinis. This was after summer in September and I thought it would be summer all year long in Spain. I still remember this first winter in Spain as the coldest winter I ever experienced.

I still remember this first winter in Spain as the coldest winter I ever experienced.

Did you have any problem with the language?

The language was and still is one of the most difficult challenges, I ever experienced. From the beginning I lived with a Dutch friend. This was and still is lots of fun, but terrible for learning Spanish. By working along Spaniards I learned to speak the language.

Any other misunderstanding because of the customs and habits?

I love the celebrations and traditions in Spain. This is something very different from back home. Every day there is a different celebration for a saint and as on many celebration dates, the shops are closed and public transportation is cut down to a minimum. This means, I have to plan in advance.

To what is it being most hard for you to adapt in your daily life in Spain, comparing to your country?

The thing that I’m still struggling with is the time of the meals and what to eat at each meal. I am used to have a small sandwich for lunch and a large dinner at 6pm. Most restaurants are not even open at 6pm and a lunchroom where they serve sandwiches, is hard to find.

And if you got back to your country forever, what would be the hardest thing to leave beyond?

The best thing about Spain is the tolerant and relaxed people. If I would ever go back to The Netherlands, I would definitely miss them the most. Living up North was stressful as every single minute of the day was planned. Here in Spain we try to do it today and if not, we’ll reschedule it till tomorrow.

Have you developed any typical Spanish habits? (for example, you have an Andalusian accent, you sleep the siesta, you love listening to Spanish groups that were famous in the 80’s, you’re an expert making tortilla etc.)

I think I have adapted a typically Spanish habit, which is to complain about the weather. If it is not too cold, it’s too warm, too dry or too humid.

The thing that I’m still struggling with is the time of the meals

TIPYCAL NON SPANISH

In what way do you feel more Spanish than from your country?

I am Typical Non Spanish, because I will stay Dutch all my life. And I am proud of that. This in combination with the great love I have for Spain, makes me feel very related to the Typical non Spanish project.

I love the Spanish climate. I love the Siestas and the Fiestas!!!

Do you think that there is any Spanish character that you’ll never be able to adopt, like it was genetic?

I met several Valencian’s, and they all told me, they could make the best Paella in the whole wide world. I love to eat the Paella and I tried to make one myself, but I don’t think, that I can compete my cooking skills with the Valencian’s.

Do you normally support the Spanish participants in any sports event?

I do support Spanish athletes or teams, expect when they play against the Dutch. This will never change!!!

Is a Spaniard born or made????

A Spaniard is born a Spaniard! I love the difference between people. I try to adjust, but I don’t want to become different then I am. I will always stay Dutch and a Spaniard will always be a Spaniard.

YOUR WORK

Which is your occupation?

I just started a “sightrunning” company in Valencia (Go! Running Tours Valencia). This because I combined my passion for running and the passion for the city of Valencia, that I love to share with others.

YOUR VISION OF SPAIN

Do you agree with the stereotypes that define Spain: Sun, Siesta and Party?

I do and I don’t agree with the stereotypes. Spain is the land of Sun, Siesta and Fiesta, but there is much more. Most tourists only know the beaches and the summertime. I love the rough backlands and the diversity in climate, landscape and agriculture.

Spain is the land of Sun, Siesta and Fiesta, but there is much more.

Could you define Spain and the Spaniards with 3 or 4 words?

rough – pure – nature

What do you like most of Spain and your city?

Spain has a great maintained culture in history and in the present. Valencia is the perfect city for me, because it is not too big and not too small. Everything happens in the city: concerts, festivals, tastings, sports events, expositions etc… I love to experience every one of them!

And less?

The busy traffic in the city, I hate the most. Valencia is perfect for riding a bike or just walking (running). Leave your car and take an alternative way of transportation, would be my motto.

In what ways have your first impression of Spain and the Spaniards changed?

I learned to love and appreciate the Spaniards and their way of living. Sometimes I get really mad, when tourists tell me Spaniards are so lazy, partying and having siesta all the time. I know better now after working and living among them!!!

Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your e-mail address will not be published and required fields are marked.

*