“I came to The Netherlands to be an au pair. I was placed in a family with two children. Because the parents were often absent I was responsible for all kinds of extra domestic chores like cleaning, laundry and cooking. I worked much more hours than we agreed on. Because I wanted to make a good impression I didn’t say anything. When eventually I did say something about it, they replied: ‘But we are like family!’ After a while the kids became very attached to me. I noticed their mother could not appreciate this. She kept comparing me with the previous au pair. She would say things like: ‘Laura, didn’t mind to work extra hours’ and ‘Laura never complained.’ Whenever she said that, all I could think was: ‘Why is she not around anymore?’

“In my family everyone practices a different religion.”
“What do you mean?”
“My aunt married a Jewish man and now she is orthodox. My other aunt is married to a man from Suriname and their daughter became Muslim. My grandmother was Christian so when she died we all gathered in church.”
“And what are you exactly?”
“Just a human being..”

“My boyfriend doesn’t speak Dutch but every Thursday he brings home the Metro Newspaper. Then he makes me translate your column, word by word..”