A friend invited me to his niece's birthday party and I was really excited about experiencing a Dutch birthday celebration. Hmm a birthday party: cake, ice cream, music, games, food and drinks. How can I pass up that offer?
Surprised by the arrangement of the room I asked myself, ‘Where is the party? How exciting is this, everyone is sitting just talking?' We were first offered a coffee or tea, then either a slice of cream cake or apple pie, after that hors d 'oeuvres or another serving of coffee or tea, and finally, a beer. All this time I was sitting there while everyone was speaking in Dutch, and wondering to myself, ‘Am I at a birthday party?' In my country, we celebrate birthdays with music, a lot of food, snacks and games for the kids. After two hours I asking my friend, ‘Is this is the way Dutch people celebrate their birthdays?' He responded, ‘Yes, we celebrate our birthdays in a civilized way.'
Civilized or not, I got my Dutch birthday experience, but I did not get my anticipated ice cream, see the birthday girl blow out the candles on her birthday cake, or dance. So as for attending another Dutch birthday party... I think I will politely decline.
Ryan Baseanoo, PhD Student at the Land Degradation Group, from Trinidad and Tobago