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(Vijay Sookha and Nienke Ernstsen, 19 second-year EUC students)

“Nienke and I shared a kitchen at the Student Hotel last year. We didn’t fall for each other at once. We were in different stages of our lives at the time. I was born in Rotterdam, had just moved out of my parents’ house, was attending one party after the other and had a constant stream of visitors, whereas Nienke had just arrived at EUC from Spain, was still trying to find her way in Rotterdam and just wanted a quiet home life. She’d often get annoyed at the way I spoke. I swear a lot, whereas she doesn’t at all.

As we got to know each other better, I realised just how special Nienke is. She’s clever and deliberate, and her perspective on things and approach to the world provoked me in all the right ways. She was so different from the girls I’d met until then! But I also knew she had just suffered a relationship break-up and I wanted to give her the time to get over that. She later told me she was already flirting with me at the time, but I – stupid man – never noticed. And before I knew what was happening, she’d found another guy. Yeah, that sucked. “You should have pushed a little harder,” I kept telling myself. Thankfully, Nienke’s relationship with the other guy didn’t last long, and we always kept in touch. “It’s just friendship,” Nienke would say over and over again, but I knew we wouldn’t be able to remain friends. We liked each other too much for that!

Last summer she invited me on a picnic. After a fun-filled afternoon I told her, “I really want to take this to the next level, but if you’re not interested in that, we can’t go on being friends any longer.” I was madly in love with her! So we kissed, and now look at us…
Of course, we’re different. Nienke is a glass-half-full kind of person, whereas I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy. Oh, I’m fairly cheerful and optimistic, but I’m always on the look-out for things that could go wrong. Nienke is teaching me to look at things differently.

Am I a romantic? Ha! I’ll sometimes put a rose in her locker. I mainly do so to make her laugh, which is my dearest wish. When you’re that much in love with a person, isn’t it just wonderful to hear her laugh?”

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