I’m Clearly Not From Here.

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 from Jumbo

  • 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.

Dutch Blue Big Bird

  • 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.)

Delft Old Church

  • 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!

Dutch Muffins

  • 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.

Dutch Slug

  • 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.

One Euro Flowers in the Netherlands

  • 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.

I’m always posting pictures of our discoveries on Facebook and Instagram. If you like this post stop by and leave a comment!

Click the Link to check out some videos from our time here in the Netherlands.
You can see a few of the Dutch things in action- like the garbage truck – on our YouTube Channel.

28 thoughts on “I’m Clearly Not From Here.”

  • No one smiles! You are the most friendly person, your smile will compel them to smile back. How about language differences? How is that? How about your tiny refrigerator?

    • The language actually has not been that bad. Everyone here speaks English so they switch as soon as they hear me try Dutch. On a few occasions they have assumed I understood them and went on in Dutch till I had to stop them to let them know I had no idea what was going on. We luckily have a large refrigerator in the house! It is still smaller then the one we had in the States but it is plenty big for us. The food here is mostly preservative free, at least what we have been getting, so nothing keeps very long anyway. I’m still getting used to running to the store every day or so. I also can’t carry very much on my bike so the fridge is proportionate to what I can get home. My oven/microwave however is a whole new adventure and may be worthy of its own post once I figure it out.

  • You are a complete “compulsive smiler!” It is who you are. They will figure it out once they get to know you. Can’t picture you without a huge smile on your face.

  • Delft is a beautiful city! We have family in Den Haag, so I’ve been to Holland quite a lot. 🙂
    I’m happy your feeling at home hehe.
    It’s the season for all creepy crawlers now. 🙁 I keep finding everything in the house as well… so the vacuum is never still! haha

    • haha. Emily I’m stealing your “resting smiling face” line, that is exactly what I have! I have the most awkward passport photos since I wasn’t allowed to smile. I literally could not figure out how to do that. Thanks for reading!

  • This is just fascinating to read. I love hearing about all the differences. Thanks for sharing these adventures with those of us who are stuck at home. 😉

  • Hi Elizabeth, I love the first weeks of a new place. I always also find the bugs first! You have made me crave stroopwaffle now! I’ve never been to the Netherlands but my husband lived there for 8 years and some things stuck to him and then stuck to me. 😉 Looking forward to reading more of your adventures in delft.

    • Orana thanks for stopping by. Oh man.. stroopwaffles! Its one of the things I’m going to have find in the states when we are done here. I’m already addicted!

  • How interesting that the Dutch have their own version of Sesame Street! Fresh flowers and endless sweets…I think I could adapt to Dutch life just fine 🙂

  • This reminds me of when I first moved from Europe to America and I was so alarmed when the American supermarket checkout lady said ‘Hi, how are you today?’ – I thought ‘Oh no, I must have met this lady somewhere and forgotten her…’ Good luck settling in – such an adventure 🙂

    • haha.. I’m glad to know it is not just me that finds it funny adjusting to different cultural norms. I literally cannot keep myself from smiling at all the bikers I pass. I’m already holding back the “hello” or “goodmorning” that I would typically say. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Ok, so I figured out where you live lol my last message asked! Anywho, how do you feel about the french fry situation they’ve got going on the NL? I mean, there are friet stands on the side of the highway! And the mayo…my goodness! That was totally new to me!

    • I love the fries. (I try to limit how often I have them.) My husband always asks for the ketchup and they are happy to oblige but I actually think I like the mayo more! Haha.

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