After her previous blog, in which blogger Kaavya Raveendran expressed her sheer admiration towards some Dutch habits, it is only fair to also name some of the things she encounters every day which leave her puzzled.
© Sven Menschel
1. Constant munching
Have you ever lunched with the Dutch? They will be biting on their single piece of bread and cheese while I will be feasting on my box full of rice and curry. I always wondered how that one slice of bread and cheese could keep them satiated all day long. But then the hidden truth unveiled in front of me as I work alongside them at the workstation. The Dutch have a habit of constantly munching. Every hour, they draw something new to eat from their bags; that is almost as interesting as seeing a magician draw a rabbit or a dove from his hat. But it gets even more unbearable while writing exams. When I am sitting all anxiously waiting for the question paper, the Dutch student beside me will be casually eating a fruit! How?!
2. Sad Weeks
It is as it is sad that we have to work hard and long hours on the weekdays. Sometimes after a long day, I want to chill or treat myself with some retail therapy. But no, it is as though the universe doesn’t want to see me happy. The shops in Wageningen close even before the sun leaves the sky. So, by the time I rush from uni to reach the city centre, it is all wrapped up and done for the day, leaving behind nothing but disappointment for me to enjoy. Sometimes it really makes me think how the shops in Wageningen really make their business! Just btw: some shops are closed also on the weekends (*sighs*)
3. Visiting ‘parents’, not visiting ‘home’
The concept of ‘home’ is very different here. Like, when I would travel to my hometown for a vacation, I would refer to it as visiting home, but for the Dutch, it is visiting their parents at their parents’ house (not their own). For me, the place I grow up gives me a sense of belonging, so I can never sever my ties with it by referring to it in ‘second person’. I still remember how stunned I was when my Dutch friend told me that he actually paid rent to his parents to live with them for a few days. Moreover, it seems that you have to rent things from your friends or even girlfriend, rather than just borrowing it. So, nobody is really your own?
4. Social inwardness
Most Dutch really take their time to develop any kind of relationship with you, especially when you are not Dutch. I come from a place where people talk and bond almost instantaneously. I have been used to being effortless when it comes to making friends, but with the Dutch, it is always a notch harder. Maybe they take their own time to develop trust or maybe they feel comfortable only in their native language, either way, it is not easy to get close to them. Unlike always, language sometimes is the reason why people can’t connect.
5. The party culture
In general, I love to party. Upon my arrival here, the AID opening party set high standards for me. And I was left thinking all parties have great music and an amazing vibe. But some of the parties I went to later on were quite a let-down. The music isn’t groovy enough and due to the overload of people, there is always a shortage of space. Eventually, it just gets monotonous and the only exciting thing left about the parties are drinks that you could get so easily. No wonder the Dutch love Beer.
Kaavya is a master’s student of Food Technology.