Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's the little things...

As of yesterday, I’ve got a Sofi (social security) number. As of today, I have a Dutch bank account. And, today, I finally got round to getting myself a season ticket for the tram and metro. Apart from registering myself on the bevolkingsregister (municipal register), something I’m not sure if necessary or not, I could regard myself as officially resident in the Netherlands even if not truly an Amsterdam resident until I get myself a bicycle.

But, despite all that, I’m still feeling rather displaced.

It’s the little, everyday things that strike home the most. Odd things like scanning labels at the supermarket, trying to work out ingredients or how something needs to be prepared. Speaking Afrikaans, I can make out most of what is said on the labels so imagine how difficult it must be for someone with no knowledge of Dutch. Watching a barman pour beer (a deliberately large head is poured then most of the foam scraped off so that the glass is only about 80% full) makes you feel cheated but that’s the way they do it here.

As I said, the little things.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Changing ones context always is an adjustment - but time will heal all. It sounds like a fabulous adventure to me! Enjoy and keep us posted! Hugs from (snowy) Seattle....

6:03 pm  
Blogger Phidoux said...

Conrats on the move! How exciting - though if I lived there I'd never accomplish a thing except try to sort out the visions from all of the pot I'd be smoking ...

10:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I have truly neglected to visit. What a surprise, a move to the Netharlands. My brother lived in Amsterdam for 8 years and loved it. He just moved back about 4 years ago, only because of business, not out of choice. I hope you quickly adjust and realize that many of us would be envious to say the least. Enjoy Darling!

12:36 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You, on a bicycle? I would love to see that picture!

6:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So all those stories about the Dutch giving good head are rubbish?

10:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure the Afrikaans comes in handy - at least you aren't at a total loss of what goes on around you.
I'd seriously be pissed off at the getting a glass of beer that is only 80% full - does that make me a pessimist? :)

12:36 pm  
Anonymous chitty said...

It seems Blogger does not like me anymore. I am the Anonymous commenter above,

12:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. Getting adjusted to a new country and a new language takes some time. I hate they way they serve beer here. Some how that scraping the foam just doesn't seem right. The first thing I did when I moved to Amsterdam was get a used bike. You can buy them on every city block as I am sure you have noticed. E-mail me about that gay Dutch language course....

2:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hhmmm... little things indeed- so can't you ask them not to pour it that way?

12:27 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

Hope the visit of a certain mutual acquaintance from the East Midlands is helping to cheer you up!

11:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh the infamous 'Dutch Head'... I hope you get chance to get plenty...!

1:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. One of my biggest problems when we relocated to Ireland was finding the right cleaning products!

7:11 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

I should have replied to these comments days and days ago. Although it’s unlikely that anyone will read them, I’ll go ahead:

J. David Zacko-Smith: You’re lucky having snow there – there isn’t a hint of it here although it has been blowing gales.

Phidoux: It is exciting but, unlike you, I don’t have a great urge to smoke pot. I used to and will very occasionally indulge but I usually ignore it even when it’s offered to me.

Babsbitchin: Thanks, I’m sure I will enjoy it.

DougZAR: How very dare you suggest that me on a bike would be a funny sight! I have a picture of me on a bike taken 4 years ago out in the winelands and I look very good on it.

However, once I get a bike here, I’ll get a pic for you.

kyknoord: Yes, absolute rubbish!!

chitty: It pisses me off too and it takes so much longer to get pissed! Actually, I’ve come to like the smaller glasses as it slows down the drinking rate. But it still seems wrong to be paying for something that isn’t full.

You a pessimist? Nah, I don't think so.

James: I’ll get a bike soon, I’m sure. I’ve emailed you the details.

angel: I seriously doubt that they’d appreciate that.

Ben: It went very well, thanks. We’ve both blogged about it already.

Saddle Up: Here’s hoping...

Terri: I didn’t realise you were such a clean-freak. :-)

9:37 am  
Blogger H Y A K U N I N C H O said...

I've been out of blog circulation for a while, but I re-debuted this evening. I remember you were about to accept a job offer in Amsterdam. As someone who has flirted with sociolinguistics, I was curious as to how you would get on with Dutch, seeing as you speak Afrikaans as well. Out of curiousity, after some time has passed, do you think it would be possible for you to speak in Afrikaans with someone and have them reply in Dutch and both be understood, or is the degree of mutual intelligibility between Dutch and Afrikaans too low? I would have thought that Afrikaans would be failry close to Dutch on the dialect continuum, but that's me talking without knowledge of either language.

12:56 pm  

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