I’ve confronted many new things in The Netherlands. Most of the big shocks haven’t really been all that shocking - more inconvenient than anything else. Like where are all the Ziploc bags? And what do you mean they don’t sell bagged ice at the gas stations? Most of these shocks go over with a sigh and a shrug of the shoulders, but depending on my mood they can be the incendiary for an all-out crying bout. It’s not that I need Ziploc bags so badly I’m going to cry without them. It’s just that some days you aren’t feeling up to the adventure, to facing new and different experiences at every turn. Some days you just want to feel comfortable and know what’s coming next.
So that brings me to number 47 on the list of things I didn’t anticipate: The challenge of watching a movie with some or a large portion of the dialogue in a language other than English. Now, think about this for a second. If you’re a native English speaker and you watch, say, an American or English language film in another country, you’ll hear your language and see the language of the country (Dutch, in this case) at the bottom of the screen. No problem. But what if part of the dialogue in that American movie is in Spanish? The subtitles at the bottom of the screen are still in Dutch, but you don’t know Spanish. Awesome!
Thomas and I capped off our weekend with a date to see Machete in Breda. Most of the film is in English and luckily for me I studied Spanish in school and could catch on to most of the bits of Spanish dialogue, but it’s just something I didn’t anticipate on a trip where I planned to zone out and use as little of my brain as possible. This was the second movie I’ve viewed over here where I dealt with the multiple language “problem.” The first was when Thomas and I decided to watch Munich on DVD. Many scenes in the film were in a number of different languages - Hebrew, Arabic, French - and I found myself poking Thomas to remind him that I needed to know what was going on.
The good thing about all of this is that as I learn more Dutch I can understand more of the Dutch subtitles and try to get a grip on the scene at hand. I’ve been watching a lot of TV to soak up some of the immense time I have on my hands and using it as an opportunity to follow the subtitles and learn new words.
We’ll see how much Dutch I really know when I start my Dutch as a Foreign Language course tonight. My excuse for everything right now is “Ik kom uit Amerika!” Wish me luck.