I’m Clearly Not From Here.
We are two weeks into our Dutch expat adventure. (That is a legitimate blogging milestone…right?) Two weeks seems like a good point to record some of my observations about my life in South Holland.
- I am the only one who compulsively smiles. I have a compulsion to smile and say hello to everyone I ride by on my bike. I seem to be the only one with this compulsion. I thought originally it was my “hello” that would give me away as American, but it turns out its my smile. The Dutch call it being “fake nice” but honesty it is just who I am.
- Free Pie. We got a free pie for shopping at the Jumbo for the first time.
- My mail comes by bike. Of course my mail comes on a bike; everything comes by bike! I still find it amusing. My Post NL person wears a blue vest and bikes from home to home dropping mail through the mail slots.
- No ‘Herbie Curbies’ around here. I take my trash to a pipe in the street that empties into an underground bin which is emptied once a week. There is another pipe for yard waste. Glass recycling goes back to the grocery store where it rides on a conveyor belt through a gizmo that scans my glass items and spits out a voucher for money off my next purchase. My paper recycling goes to yet another pipe in the neighborhood. Its actually quiet efficient. The truck that comes to empty the underground bins is equipped with a crane on the front. The crane lifts the entire apparatus into the sky, pulls a lever and the bottom opens into the truck. (See the YouTube video of the truck in action from above and from street level.)
- Package Delivery. Not home? Don’t worry they just deliver your package to your neighbor. Delivering to the neighbor is such a typical occurrence that the delivery service just carries cards with them so they can write down which neighbor you should retrieve your package from. Don’t want to pay for shipping? You can have anything you want delivered to a store that participates in the program. You just go pick it up for free from the store.
- Big Bird is Blue. Doesn’t it seem like Dutch Big Bird should be Orange? It is not technically Big Bird, but Big Bird’s friend Pinot. Pinot lives in an abstract version of Sesame Street. (And yes. This is my plan for learning Dutch.)
- Am I the only one who thinks the church steeple is leaning? When Delft built the Old Church they needed more land, so they filled in part of a canal to make room. Unfortunately they did not do it well and part of the building is sinking. In Italy a tower doing this exact same thing is a famous landmark. Here in Delft they just bike on by. I can’t stop looking at it!
- Sugar is a food group. Breakfast is full of sprinkles. Coffee time comes with cake. Grab a Stroopwaffle while you shop. Even these humble muffins were basically just small cakes. (Yummy!) It is a good thing I am biking all the time.
- Bugs. Google assures me that none of them are poisonous, but these suckers are everywhere. I’ve had snails and slugs climbing on my windows, spiders everywhere I look, and flying bugs taking advantage of my open doors. It must be all the rain. (Ok. I’m actually starting to think the slugs are sort of cute.)
- I cannot find the Butter. There are a bunch of products but I seriously cannot tell what is butter and what is margarine. So, I bought both.
- Flowers. Fresh flowers are easy to come by. For one Euro I can pick up a beautiful bouquet every time I’m at the market. The weekend flower market is equally as amazing, although a bit pricier, but nothing compared to U.S. flower prices. Friends and neighbors bring us flowers to welcome us to the neighborhood or just because. My house is full of fresh flowers. The perfect balance to the rainy days.