One perfectly beautiful, bright Monday, the astonishingly large bubble I was living in was burst by the Dutch way of life. ‘How so?’ you may ask. Well, a few Dutch friends of mine and I were planning to meet for dinner at my place, and immediately most of them whipped out their little diaries. I wondered how busy they could be, and I found out soon enough.
illustration Henk van Ruitenbeek
‘Wednesday, 18:00?’ asked one guy, but someone in the group had badminton training. Thursday? No, someone had figure skating in a town two hours away. Friday was impossible for someone else. And the weekend? Don’t get me started on the number of parties and activities some had to attend over the weekend! Not to mention that they all went back to their parents’ house (Oh, I am so jealous! Wish I could see my family every weekend). Finally, we discovered that all of us were free on a day three weeks from then. Better late than never, I suppose.
Back in my country, I have never seen anyone keep a diary so routinely, and at such a young age. This was something remarkable I learnt from the Dutch. It soon became a common sight: every Dutch person reaches for a diary whenever you ask when they have any free time. Not only did this Dutch habit inspire me to keep a diary too, but it also enabled me to look forward to upcoming social events, keep track of things I need to get done, or even enjoy a free day when I can Netflix and chill (by myself!). Now I can’t fathom how people function without diaries! Am I becoming Dutch?
Deeya Kashyap, an MSc student of Food Technology from India
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