I have been feeling a little down in the dumps ever since my mom left. It is not that I necessarily miss the States, it is just that I do miss my family and friends. To get over this, I decided to make one of my world famous lists. So, after a little over 3 months of living in The Netherlands, here is a small list of things I love about my new country.
1. I love public transportation. Sure, when we go to ikea, and buy something that is too small to justify the expense of having it delivered, I miss my car. But I like that I can get anywhere by bus or by train and maybe even a walk. Plus, trains haven’t lost their romance for me yet. I am not sure that they ever will. I blame Funny Face and Before Sunrise for this. Although, people with strollers on trains, but especially buses, still shock me. So,maybe a car before baby. And babies not for years.
2. Potatoes. If you are not a potato fan, I am not sure this is the country for you. Seriously, anyway you can think of to cook a potato, they do. Lately, I have been a huge fan of Hutspot- potatoes, carrots, and onions all smashed together. Think of when you were little and would mix your corn and potatoes together. It is like that but they do it with a ton of veggies. So yummy! And we won’t even mention the frites!
3. No one looks at me like I am a freak when I drown things in Mayo. Seriously, in the States, I made a mayo hating friend puke once. I don’t remember this, but she assures me it happened. Sorry! But well, I love it and so do the Dutch.
4. Pureed salads. This has to do with the whole mayo thing, but the Dutch tend to puree their meat to add to salads. So instead of chucks in Chicken Salad, you get something much more like a spread. I have been eating a ton of salmon salad with bacon sandwiches. Don’t knock it until you try it.
5. The merging. Growing up in Atlanta, we don’t know how to merge on the street let alone when we are walking. You would assume that the Dutch would stand in an orderly line when it is time to get on the train or bus. They don’t. They stand in a bug blob and merge to get on the bus. At first, I was all like “ hey, they are going to get on before me! and I’ve been standing here longer” but now, it is just something that is done and that works pretty well.
6. My museumkaart: Less than 50 euros a year and I can get in for free or almost free to over 100 museums around Holland. This is my card of Heaven! If you are planning on spending sometime in The Netherlands, you might want to pick one up as well.
7. The sky. You know when you look at one of the landscapes for The Dutch Golden Age and the sky just looks, so beautiful and the golden sunbeams are barely going through the clouds painting the building and landscape in a surreal light. Yeah, you probably don’t. I know, I know, art freak! Anyway, because it is so far North here, the sun is lower in the sky and the light is unique and I love it!
8. The Censorship or lack there of. I have been a rule stickler all my life. I wouldn’t even Jaywalk before I moved here. But something about censorship has always bugged the crap out of me. Something being banned for content has always pissed me off. Which is why if you slap an NC17 rating on something, I want to watch it. Or ban a book I instantly want to read it. Hey, we all have our small rebellions. Which is why here, where the F* bomb flows free on tv and the preview for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is playing later on tv has Jason Segal’s towel dropping in all it’s hilarious glory, makes me insanely happy. No offense to Mr, Segal, who I love, but strange penises are always funny. Not that it is strange in that way, just that it is foreign as I have never seen it in real life. Anyway, it is just nudity, and I make the choice as to whether or not I want to see it. Movies are better not edited for TV. Also, it takes the responsibility for parenting kids off the tv channel and onto parents.
9. I love the city architecture. Loek and I live on the outskirts of Utrecht. But, I love the old city centers with their quaint little squares. I love that I never really feel helplessly lost even in Amsterdam ( Den Haag, yes) Amsterdam, no. I love the tall, skinny townhomes, and the narrow cobblestone streets. The hiden gardens and the open windows.
10. I love all the birds. When Loek came to visit the States, he made me come outside to look at the squirrels. He was so excited, you never see them here. Maybe they are in the woods, but not running around. Instead you get birds and bunnies. Although, seagulls are on my shit list, ever since one well...Shit on me!
11. Loek and Atti, of course, they make my life gezellig. Gezellig is my favorite Nederlands word. There is no English translation that does it justice. It is coming home to your family and having dinner be ready. Or spending the evening drinking beers in a cafe with friends. Or for me, curling up with a warm cup of Chocomel with Whipped Cream and a good book.
As strange as it is to be a stranger in a strange land, I feel at home here. Now if only I could master Nederlands enough to communicate at Loek’s parent’s parties!