Ik heb a confession.

In just 10 days I am returning to my home land. Well ok, not necessarily my ‘home land’ because that’s England but the country which has my heart will soon have the rest of my body I nit for a few days.

i-see-your-mouth-movingWhen I first started this blog I was all about the language, I threw myself in to learning Dutch and loved it. I even got 2 certificates and by March 2014 I could hold a pretty normal conversation, my final exam was a discussion on animals and fun facts about the long neck of a giraffe. But with just 10 days to go I have to openly admit my Dutch has melted away to nothing. There we go, I’ve put it out there. Ashamedly so Ik heb geen Dutch.

As much as I am ashamed by this, I spoke very little Nederlandse in the Netherlands anyway but I fear slightly that I won’t remember enough to pick up on conversation topics. I am rather hoping that once I hear those dulcet tones on the aeroplane security video it will all come flooding back (fingers crossed).

I can’t wait to get back onto the Lowlands for a few reasons, a few of which I am going to share here.

  • twitter-fed458I am long overdue a hug from my Dutch family. My best friend in particular – is that too much to ask? I’ve had a pretty trying year and some 500+ days since my last trip has left me almost desperate to see them.
  • I miss the Dutch people. I am a people watcher, no matter where I am or who I am with I like to watch people and the Dutch way of life fascinates me and always has done, from the relaxed style of the guys and gals to their very active cycling chic and questionable supermarket items.
  • It the place I feel most relaxed. In my nine years of visiting NL it feel like my second home, I know where I am (to a certain extent) and being away from the UK in a place I find so comfortable helps me to put my every day stresses to one side. I get the chance to just be me and with my ever growing responsibilities to my family, as a new home owner, and in full time employment in Politics life gets pretty stressful at times. In the Netherlands I am anonymous and don’t have those responsibilities. I even get the chance to let someone else decide what I do and what I eat every day. (No it’s not just indecisiveness – I really don’t mind if we do anything or nothing).
  • Singing in the car. Dutch radio is one of the greatest assets to The Netherlands. I just love it. It’s so varied and one minute it’s the latest number 1 and the next track is a belter from the 80’s followed by some Dutch song I’ve never heard before but am singing along to by the 3rd chorus. Variety really is the spice of life over there and that’s something we don’t get much of here.  the-radio-was-on-a-commercial-break-the-whole-time-humor

So off I go, here I come. I simply cannot wait to get back to the land of clogs, the cheese eating, fish swallowing, bike riding, lanky lands of Orange. There will always be a piece of my heart in Holland. Its a love that words can’t describe and a pain that only return tickets can heal.

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Improve your Dutch or pay the price!

New rules from the Dutch Government that came in to force earlier this year mean that people with poor language skills will be forced improve themselves by attending language classes or suffer the consequences.  This rule is for people claiming benefits in Holland. Those who refuse to improve themselves risk having their benefits cut. 20% for the first 12 months before being cut all together if no improvement is made.

It sounds like a harsh new rule but one I thought would harness debate. 

Continue reading Improve your Dutch or pay the price!

The thin line between what you want to say and what you actually say!

There is a thin line between getting something right and getting something completely wrong and Dutch, being the lovely guttural language that it is has its fair share! I had a comment recently on my blog asking if I was a hedgehog. Alas my prickles and love for rolling in leaves make me an over grown child not a garden loving creature who roams about in the dead of night. Just for the record I don’t actually have prickles!

I’ve spoken a lot before about mistakes Dutch people make in English so i thought it was only fair to repay the insult and discuss the subtle but embarrassing mistakes we make when trying to drag our selves around The Netherlands.

Animal-memes-hedgehog-in-a-baking-traySpot the difference:

ben jij egels? – Are you a hedgehog? 

ben jij engels? – Are you english? 

Another one:

Ik ben hete Maria – I am hot Maria  – This was my first attempt at introducing myself. It was subtly laughed off at the time as apparently its a common mistake!

What I meant to say (obvs): Ik ben heet Maria – I am called Maria 

Now to the uneducated Dutch learning British gal these sentences sound exactly the same.

Ik hou van vis – I like fish

Ik hou van vies – I like it dirty

I’m not one to just judge, maybe there is a use for both sentences in some peoples vocabulary 😉

So there we have it. The difference can be a vowel, or simply the pronunciation of it. There are hundreds of mistakes easily made in Dutch many more than I can’t remember right now, maybe helped with the fact that autocorrect changes what we mean if the dictionary is or isn’t activated or if we get the pronunciations of our vowels a little off. Its these are the mistakes that are worth making rather than getting tenses mixed up which is simply frustrating. Inspiration came from a hilarious little video The Dutch Review had on the bottom of one of their posts last week! Check it out!

And so you’re back from outer space, I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face…

Hello everyone! My name is maria and I clearly have some explaining to do with regards to my poor attendance as of late! SORRY!! I’m a  bad person, I know this.

My absensce as of late cant be blamed on illness, or holiday or on any other reason other than the fact that normal life got in the way and my Dutch ‘mojo’ – is there a word for that in Dutch? – has been missing.

This morning however whilst listening to the old ipod on shuffle a good old friend of mine Mr Neilson came on and told me to sharpen up my act and get back on with things – a lyric of his springs to mind… Ik ben en klootzak! Sorry for being an asshole. So here I am, back with a vengeance and ready to get back on it!

Have you missed me? Did you even notice I had gone? If you saunter on over to instagram you will see what I’ve bene up to over the last month; the highlights envolve working a lot, walking a lot, getting my hair cut posting quotes. My favourite being: Je zegt dat je mijn beste vriend(in) bent maar waar de fuck was je toen mijn selfie maar 4 likes had? It caused quite as store on inta and facebook so I’m guessing you lot liked it to! We all like a good selfie right?!  I’m in my 11th month of blogging now – don’t know how that happened or where indeed the last 11 months have gone but alas we are here!

Keep your eyes peeled for more reviews, opinions on Dutch news articles and not to mention my Dutch Diary which will be coming your way during my next trip on the 11th July!! I’m so excited I cant breath! Plus there’s that little trip I’ve got planned back to the Dutch inhabited Morira in September but that’s still a long way off.

Tot volgende keer schatjes – I promise it wont be so long. Kisses!

Its June already…can you believe it?!

Every month, for the last 10 month or so I have written a post in Dutch on the first day of the month. For those regular readers you may have noticed that one didn’t go up yesterday.

My Dutch has well and truly slipped. I haven’t attended any classes this side of March due to the elections here and the tutor being off sick. I had a call yesterday form the Brasshouse – my language school – saying that the remaining classes where to be cancelled. So basically I couldn’t write anything in Dutch this month because 1) I haven’t learnt anything and 2) I’ve forgotten what I have learnt.

It seems a shame to waste my learning so all is most definitely not lost its just that some times being a grownup sucks! I’m getting into a much better working pattern now so there really is no excuse. I have to go it alone now and venture into the world of learning on my own. There isn’t a class anymore and in September Level One starts again. Am I disappointed? Yes. Learning a langue is like going to the gym, the more you go and the more regular you do it the better you get and stronger you get, but if you don’t go or start up and then stop the muscle you’ve got turns to fat and your back to square one. I will pick the Dutch back up. I have no choice, its within me to learn more and be better.

Until then, fear you not, my ramblings about the big news stories of the day shall continue. I’ve gone 6 years knowing very little Dutch I will survive! Plus with 6 weeks to go until my next trip to the Orange Lands theres still time to dust off the diminutives and ‘t Kofschip!