Expat Magazine

Living With a Dutchie

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips
Living With a DutchieMy husband and I just celebrated 2 years of marriage on November 29, 2010. It's been a wonderful, fast-moving two years and we're both looking forward to many, many more. Last week, I was chatting with a Dutch friend on the train and she was asking me about my bi-cultural relationship with my Dutch husband. As I was talking to her and explaining some of the challenges, idiosyncracies, and funny moments that occur when you are in a relationship with someone from a different culture, I realized how interesting and unique our relationship is. And - I won't lie - I gave myself a huge figurative pat on the back for being able to have a healthy relationship despite all those differences. So here's a look into some of the ups, downs, and differences faced in a bi-cultural relationship.

  1. Enthusiasm: Americans are overly enthusiastic. We don't just get happy, we feel elated. We don't just talk, we talk loud enough so that the people in the next state can hear us. We don't just feel sad, we get downright depressed. The Dutch don't seem to get riled up about much of anything. If my husband comes home from work with news that he closed an assignment, I go into acrobatics and cheers. If I tell him I got an article published or scored another Little Broadway class, all I get is "That's nice, sweetie." And though he's sincere about it, I'm so used to hearing "nice" in the dismissive, I'm-not-really-paying-attention American way. But his "That's nice, sweetie" is the Dutch equivalent of the American back-flips and pom-pom waving. Likewise, my husband feels that the fireworks I display over things belittles the accomplishment.

  2. Unintentional hurtful words: My husband speaks brilliant English. Completely accent free and with an excellent vocabulary and grammar. It is so easy for me to forget that he's not a native English speaker. But he's not, and as such, English words don't have the same meaning to him. I liken it to when you learn curse words in another language. My mother teaches French and, at some point or another, her students inevitably learn the word "merde." They can use it in whatever context they like as much as they like without getting into trouble because it's not a 'real' curse word. At least, not in English. Often, my husband uses words and language when joking around that, to him are funny and light. But to me they are offensive. I know without a single doubt that the situation would be reversed if our relationship was in Dutch (yes, I am extremely guilty of slinging around offensive Dutch), but as we communicate pretty much exclusively in English, I notice it much more. As a result, we're both making a conscious effort to leave anything that might be considered offensive in either language out.

  3. Holidays: Another big difference is the way holidays are celebrated. Again, we Americans like to do things big and that includes our holidays. The constant Christmas music, the extravagance with gifts, that gushy make-me-gag Christmas spirit, the Christmas specials on TV, lights and decorations everywhere... My husband is still trying to get used to it all and not feel extraordinarily stressed out! And Easter is not traditionally a family holiday in the Netherlands like it is in the US. I found it so strange (and still do) that we spend every Easter weekend with friends as opposed to family.

  4. Watching the cultures merge: My husband's wish list includes a pick-up truck. I've become skilled at finding space for my bike in any overcrowded bike parking lot and can zip in and out of cars, other fietsen, and pedestrians on an overloaded bike with the best of 'em. He's taken Halloween and run with it, decorating the apartment and hallway with more ghoulish decorations than a haunted house, and striving to find the costume to outdo all costumes each year. I've gone nuts with Sinterklaas, insisting on attending intochts and handing out kruidnoten, chocolate letters, taai taai and Zwarte Pieten by the armful! And, though our main language of communication is English, the amount of Dutch that sprinkles our conversations is nothing if not amusing.

Yes, there are hardships and misunderstandings, but there is no such thing as a boring day in the Jansen house! Our relationship continues to grow stronger with each passing day, not only in spite of, but BECAUSE of those cultural differences.


What differences have you noticed in your bi-cultural relationship?


This post was originally published as a note on the Clogs and Tulips Facebook community page. To be the first to read other notes like this, head over and "Like" Clogs and Tulips: An American in Holland on Facebook!


Photobucket

Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe via rss feed or email to catch the latest from Clogs and Tulips: An American in Holland.

©2011, Clogs and Tulips: An American in Holland. All rights reserved. On republishing any part of this post, you must provide a link back to this original post

Photobucket

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Adrian Belew Power Trio Rocks Toronto’s Mod Club

    Adrian Belew Power Trio Rocks Toronto’s Club

    Veteran guitarist Adrian Belew, know for his work with King Crimson, Nine Inch Nails, Frank Zappa, David Bowie and more, brought his The post Adrian Belew... Read more

    The 21 May 2017 by   Hendrik Pape
    ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA, MUSIC
  • Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

    Mushkil

    The advocacy to get love, though his actions comic and childish, was beyond any description found in books. The sluggish and the inexperienced he, was embraced... Read more

    The 21 May 2017 by   Anshul Gautam
    CREATIVITY, SELF EXPRESSION
  • 21+ Astounding Reasons Why You Should Plant a Tree Today

    Astounding Reasons Should Plant Tree Today

    Trees have numerous benefits and it can hardly be overstated. They support the environment in various ways and without them; life on earth would be impossible.... Read more

    The 21 May 2017 by   Rinkesh
    ENVIRONMENT
  • Lhasa, Tibet: Temples, Pilgrims & Palaces

    Lhasa, Tibet: Temples, Pilgrims Palaces

    Lhasa kept giving me everything but the dizzying altitude had sent me sick, waking up with what felt like a hangover and a nosebleed I hadn't paid all that mone... Read more

    The 21 May 2017 by   Josephharrison1990
    DESTINATIONS, TRAVEL
  • Lhasa, Tibet: Temples, Pilgrims & Palaces

    Lhasa, Tibet: Temples, Pilgrims Palaces

    Lhasa kept giving me everything but the dizzying altitude had sent me sick, waking up with what felt like a hangover and a nosebleed I hadn't paid all that mone... Read more

    The 21 May 2017 by   Joseph Harrison
    TRAVEL
  • New Keto Meal Plan

    Our popular low-carb meal-plan tool gives you everything you need to succeed on low carb. Meal plans, recipes and shopping lists - no planning required! Adjust... Read more

    The 21 May 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • The Perfect Treatment for Diabetes and Weight Loss

    Do doctors treat type 2 diabetes completely wrong today - in a way that actually makes the disease worse? Many people would correctly say yes. There's a better... Read more

    The 21 May 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE

Magazines