FROM SPAIN TO THE NETHERLANDS
SIESTAS AND WINE TO BIKES AND RAIN
Pilar Anguita Banegas is a mother of three, a teacher, a life coach and a Spanish native who has called the Netherlands her home for over 30 years now. In a conversation with Garment Magazine, she reminisces on her heritage in Spain and the difference in culture between the Netherlands. Exploring how they merge with one another for the best of both worlds.
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PILAR ANGUITA BANEGAS
What brought you to the Netherlands?
Love. I think that is the reason for migrating for almost everyone from my generation.
Can you tell us about your journey of moving from Spain to Amsterdam as a young woman? What were some of the challenges you faced during the transition?
I missed the warmth, weather wise and emotionally. The warmth of my family and friends. You always have a visitor, always a party and just something to do. I got very lucky with my in-laws that they are not typical Dutch people. They are extremely embracing and comforting and have lots of physical
affection! But as for others, it is not the norm to display emotion and physical displays of affection and I missed that part of life. Feeling connected to everyone.
How did the way you dress change between when you dress in Spain? As the weather is really different, right?
Maybe more layers but I haven’t changed the nature of how I dress. However, I like to look nice for myself, not for others. I just love that ― the feeling of expressing my love for myself through my clothing. That is indeed one thing that also is very different from Spain and the Netherlands. Almost every woman in Spain is very dressed up as well. I had breast cancer and that for me was the most difficult time to look into a mirror, so even in that moment, if I put on my makeup and an outfit I love. That gives me power. That for me is strength and I will never change that.
Cultural integration can sometimes lead to a sense of loss or a disconnection from one’s original cultural heritage. Have you ever experienced any inner conflict over this?
Well you know, even I have moments where my own mother told me I was too Dutch. “You are too Dutch and you are not like my daughter after a few years.” But I told her, you know, even if I were 20 kilometres away from them, I would change too. Of course marrying a Dutch man, living here and raising half Dutch children I have picked up on customs and traits. You change as your life goes on. Of course, there is beauty in taking bits and pieces of your home culture and your new home’s culture, its beauty and its growth.
So when raising your children in a multicultural environment, how do you navigate between your Spanish heritage and Dutch culture?
Going back to the structure, the good thing about it is, it gives more space to organise your life and your kids. It has definitely helped me with raising these children as it was a more controlled environment. However, sometimes it’s too much. I do miss the spontaneity and the small moments that come with connecting with others. Randomly, let’s do this and let’s go here! Now anything you do in the Netherlands you have to plan two or four business days in advance!