Art moved to America: ‘I feel Dutch and American’

Migration is a big step. Leave everything you know and make a new life in another country. Building a new network, getting to know a new job and a new culture. A great challenge for anyone who dares.

Art Pick (53) is one of those intrepid immigrants. He did that years ago and immediately moved to live 8000 kilometers away in America. His original plan was to stay in the US for a year, but it’s been over 25 years now and he’s still living in California.

Blekersingel to Bloomington

Art was born 53 years ago in Gouda, and his parents called him Arjan. Since this is a difficult name for English speakers, he is now called Art. He grows up in Bleckersingh, where his father runs a general practice at home. “His patients were often in the hall when I went to school in the morning,” says Art. After secondary school, Art studies computer science in Utrecht. Little did he know yet that this study would eventually lead him to America.

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Art with his wife Renu and daughter Karina. Photo: Art

To America for a while

After his PhD research at Leiden University, Art will move to Bloomington for a year to conduct his own research at Indiana University. “I told my parents not to worry because I was only going out for one year,” says Art. If Aart gets a good job in California then this year will be extended as soon as possible. At the start of his new life in America, Art sometimes feels lonely. “I didn’t have any friends yet, and I was often alone after work,” she says. “In America you work long hours, so you don’t have time to go to chess club or something like that after work,” Art explains. “You do that kind of thing when you work with your colleagues.”

I avoid cycling to work

Permanent settlement

Gradually, Art also manages to create a social network outside of his work. He meets his wife Renu and they have a daughter named Kareena. His life in America looks more and more certain. “I always said that I would return to the Netherlands one day, but now nobody believes me,” Art jokes. Now that his daughter Karina has built her life in America, Art sees his future in America. “He’s studying now and is a real American and doesn’t speak Dutch,” she says.

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“An off-road trip in a jeep through the beautiful nature of California” Photo: Art

Dangers of cycling

It should be clear that there are many differences between the Netherlands and the United States. Yet there are some differences that stand out for Art. He enjoys the beautiful nature of California. “The nature here is so beautiful,” says Art. So he often goes out on bike or on foot. Cycling is no longer what it used to be before Art. “I used to cycle to work here, but it’s too dangerous here,” he says. “My front wheel went into a pothole and I broke my arm from the fall. All the cars were honking and it wasn’t very pleasant”. Fortunately, Art could indulge himself during his bicycle trips through nature.

Two native countries

Although his entire career is now settled in America, Art has not forgotten the Netherlands. His mother and friends from his student days live in the Netherlands and he regularly visits the Netherlands for them. Both countries are important to him. “If jokes are made somewhere about Americans or the Dutch, I like to defend myself in both cases,” Art says with a laugh. “I feel Dutch and American”.

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Who’s next?

Do you have a special story too? Or do you know someone who lives in Gouwen that we should really interview? We are looking for intrepid world travelers who have found their happiness outside of Gouda. Did you travel, go to the mountains or go to the beach after love? Or did you migrate for that ultimate dream job? We want to hear them all. Let us know at [email protected].

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