5 Things I’ll never quite understand about the Netherlands

In response to my recent 5 things I will always love about the Netherlands I thought I would write a counter post. The things that I really don’t get. The things that always mark the differences between our countries. In many ways the things I don’t understand about the Dutch are the basis for the reasons in which I love them!

Continue reading 5 Things I’ll never quite understand about the Netherlands

How to fend off a cold in Holland and lose

I’m not back from my trip where it was inevitable for something to disrupt my mojo, this time it was ‘Travellers Flu’ – yes its a thing and after being incubated in a metal box (aeroplane) a million miles high (30,000ft) and in buildings of recycled air (airports) its hard to escape the spread of nasties.

My little trip to the apotheker and some €20 lighter in my pocket I came away with the medicines that would ease my sore throat, blocked nose and flue-like symptoms. 

Citrosan became my poison of choice. It was drinking it like pop.

Trachitol was my numbing pill which I later learnt actually works better if left to melt under the tongue rather than on it. I spent the first day with a very numb tongue a painful throat.

Xylometazoline is a nasal spray. It is vile, it tastes horrendous and has a million side effects which include the thinning of the nasal cavity but my god does it work. After psyching myself up for it just one spray in each nostril really is enough to bring back the ease of breathing that we all take for granted and the wonderful sensation of taste and smell.

Oscillococcinum – This was just fun to say. I’m still non the wiser as to what this was actually supposed to do its apparently a homeopathic preparation marketed to relieve influenza-like symptoms. It comes in little files full of tiny white balls. You tip it under the tongue and let it melt there. It has a very pleasant taste to be honest but I cant really say it worked for me in any particular way I took all six files in 2 days. Maybe it did help, maybe it didn’t, who knows.

So all in all none of this really worked after all. I’m still suffering and I’m pretty sure nothing will really prevent a cold of manifesting itself. I tried my best and fought through it with my cocktail of medicines.

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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.

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!

Deported, degraded and Dutch

The story broke this week about a Dutch woman who is being deported back to The Netherlands from Qatar for being raped. It was difficult to read the story and not have so many emotions rattled deep within me. In my eyes rape is rape. Sex without consent is rape. Sex with someone who is unconscious is rape. Sex with someone outside of marriage is morally wrong but not illegal, at least not in this side of the world so it seems.

Upon hearing that a court in Qatar has convicted and detained a 22-year old woman from Utrecht for reporting rape is outrageous, enough so that I head to read the headline twice.  Islamic laws leave a lot to be desired at the best of times compared to our westernised cultures and there are clearly many issues with it, many of which I have spoken about before.

Continue reading Deported, degraded and Dutch