This is a picture of me and my brother, I was 7 at the time and my brother was 5. My little brother is my best friend. We have always stayed together. He’s the person I love the most in my entire life, I would do anything for him without even hesitated. In the 3 languages that I speak, I cannot find the proper word to describe how much he means to me.
I think me loving him has a lot to do with us moving to the Netherlands. It was 2013’s summer, so July or August, around that period. Before that, we used to fight a lot. Obviously, when you’re young you always fight a lot with your siblings, but we fought to the extreme - we were biting pieces of each other out and making each other’s noses bleed, we used to run around with wooden sticks and beat each other up, etc.
But our relationship has stabilized after we came here. I guess that had to do with the fact that our parents had to work a lot to make a living because they didn’t speak Dutch very well, so it was really difficult to find anything that pays a lot. Back in the day, they would take any job they could get; my father was working at a supermarket that usually only hired teenagers, but he took it anyway because that was the only job being offered to him since he didn’t speak the language. He needed to make a living and he did it.
But this resulted in me and my brother staying together a lot after school. When I was home, he became one of the most important aspects of my life. We used to live in this trailer park, we had no internet, no wifi, we had a computer but we couldn't even download any game to play in it, so we had to make use of what we had. Even if we fought a lot back then, it was through these fights that we understood each other more, and what we meant to the other. We need the other one in our life.
And because my parents weren’t home as much due to work, I kinda had this vision of me being the one who raised him - I mean it gives a false impression of the whole thing because really I wasn’t anywhere near mature and capable enough in any aspect to raise him really, but I think that drew us closer to each other. Maybe not that I raised him, but definitely to guide him through things.
And now when things are better, we’re still best friends, we do everything together, we talk every day, we have fun, we play games, and he’s the single most important person in my life. I genuinely didn’t know what I would do back when we first move, and also now if he wasn’t here.
My brother is also my mental support, because out of everyone he’s the one that can relate to me the most, we're the most similar situations, so that helps a lot with relating to things, finding the best course of action when the other has problem - so it helps us navigate through social situation, especially when we didn’t have a friend group yet and are in a completely new country.
I think we’re so much closer because we moved to the Netherlands compared to if we stayed back in Hungary. Because moving really changed the dynamic of the relationship and the way I saw him obviously. I mean I’m not that mature (yet), but people do develop a lot in the course of 7 years, and of course by nature, I’ll get more mature, and it gets you to think about things in very different ways, same with how you would think about family, a country, and just life, you know.
We have similar views on culture, on integration, on the Netherlands, on politics, societal aspects even though we have very different thinking processes to arrive there. I think it has to do with how we talk and exchange opinions, I think I have way more impact on his view of life than any other sources would, especially with all the subjective topics I just mentioned. I think it’s because I’m actually there to explain to him why certain things are the way they are, why did I arrive at that conclusion, and because of that, it’s easier for him to understand, to consider, and to accept new ideas.
I speak Hungarian with my brother and my parents. Language, to me, is the most important aspect of any culture. When I first entered university, I always felt really isolated because I mostly only speak English and everyone else in my class speaks Dutch. I never felt like I was apart of the whole. Especially, with a subject like history - which is what I’m studying, you need to be really fluent to discuss different matters. So I always felt like there was a wall between me and everyone.
What helped me to overcome this was that my brother having a friend group that I also hang out with. My friend group speaks English, and his friend group speaks Dutch. They are kinda almost just kids, 17, 18, they don’t have the “adult” stress yet, so they talk about all the very simple but yet very entertaining stuff, girls, your “mom” jokes, games. And that helps me to feel less foreign and have fun with the language. Sometimes simplicity is the key to feeling at home with a language.