Why are the Dutch so tall and healthy?
Photo by flickr.com user plumandjello. I had a Twitter conversation with a few folks about why the Dutch are the tallest people in the world. My partner is 6’4” and most of his friends are tall. Even the women here are tall and they rock stilettos like it ain’t no thang - no Jessie Spano tears over here. They are proud. And later I had a chat with my friend Amber about a...
I saw this in real life...
A lady walking her dog without a leash. No big deal, right? Well what was walking behind them at a much brisker pace in order to keep up was a little yellow tabby cat with a collar. This lady was walking her dog and her cat…neither of them on a leash. I halted on my bike since the tabby guy got a little nervous when he saw me, but she just called his name and he sprinted up to her and the...
Feeling more like myself...
I’m American, which influences a lot of my identity and personality. One of the things that I think makes me “really American” is my need to work. As much as I try to shake it and be okay with time off or working part time, I can’t help but feel like a jerk if I’m not busting my ass for a full 40 each week. This tight connection between a job and my sense of self...
A quiet day in Breda… This was my first attempt at using iMovie, doing some of the basics of editing and adding transitions. I was inspired by a similar video by Dean Shareski. 5x5 is a digital storytelling format using five, five-second snippets of your day. As a teacher I’m learning my way around some programs to use in class, but I can’t wait to try more video-making just for...
I love immigrants
Say what you will, but immigrants are what make a country awesome. Any country. It’s what makes America great (and the food there even greater) and I’m realizing more every day that it’s what makes The Netherlands great. If you were just visiting and watched TV in your hotel room, you might think the Netherlands is full of happy white people, their cheeks flushed from blustery...
Does the suit make the teacher?
This is a cross-post from my education blog See Mary Teach, but I thought it might be interesting to expats confronting differences in workplace etiquette, dress codes, and other things we must navigate as foreign workers. Not in The Netherlands it doesn’t. I’ve not had a great deal of exposure to Dutch work environments other than the few times I’ve visited the immigration...
Just an observation...
Dutch people love to feed the ducks. Everywhere, a few times a week at least, I pass someone scattering bits of old bread while simultaneously shredding the tough loaves with her fingers into manageable pieces for hungry duck bills. One person might be tossing these morsels into a smelly canal, another scattering the bread bits onto a patch of grass. But it’s always the Dutch people with...
First NYE in my new country
New Year’s Eve in The Netherlands. I’m not sure how to tackle explaining this night, because if I were in America I would just grab friends by the shoulders and scream “The fireworks! Jesus H. Christ, the fireworks!” with a terrified glint in my eye. To say fireworks are enjoyed in this country is a gross understatement yet I can’t seem to find an overstatement...
"IND-induced limbo" - My article at IamExpat.nl →
I wrote an article for the IamExpat.nl web site about my experience obtaining a residency permit in The Netherlands. I thought when I picked up the permit at the IND offices that would be the end of my struggle for at least a year, but no. My last name was misspelled on the card. The hardest part is over, but I’m still waiting for a new card. This has the makings of an “I Love...
Opening wide for 2011
I’m sure I say this every year - and really, if you can’t say this every year you’re doing something wrong - but 2010 is certainly a year I will remember. The date stamped in my mind with major milestones, like the true beginning of my teaching career, my trans-Atlantic move, and my continuing battle to be a successful expat in a new country. As is to be expected in a...
Running toward nothing
I’ve always been one of those people that starts things and never finishes them, whether it’s new year’s resolutions, plans to study Dutch every day, or promises to write every morning. Without a job to rush to and a sun to wake up to, it’s quite easy for the hours in my day to wither away. With every dusting of snow and blanket of gray, I seem to yawn endlessly, coaxing...
Unearthing old passions
Winter is just not my season. Try as I might, I just can’t learn to love sweater weather, gray skies, and holiday music. My first inclination is to stay in the apartment on the couch reading or writing and wait it out. But then I feel guilty about turning into a hermit and I try to pull myself out of it, often unsuccessfully. However, I did have a wonderful day recently where I managed to...