Expat Magazine

Is the Grass Always Greener? -- Expat Blog Hop #5

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips
Is the grass always greener? -- Expat Blog Hop #5 Is the grass always greener? -- Expat Blog Hop #5 Is the grass always greener? -- Expat Blog Hop #5Tales from Windmill Fields has started an Expat Blog Hop. Each week, she asks expat bloggers a question that they then compose a post about before linking back to Tales from Windmill Fields to share with fellow expats.
A new topic is given to bloggers each Friday and the posts are published each Thursday.
This week's question: List 5 things your country doesn't have that you wish they did and 5 things they do have that you wish they didn't.
What the Netherlands does have that I wish it did:
  1. Air-Conditioning: This one hurts most right now as I'm in the hot-flash stage of my pregnancy. I know, I know, it's been abnormally cool this summer, but I'm still burning up. I can't tell you when the last time was that I was able to sleep under the covers and nine times out of ten, everyone else is in jackets and sweaters while I'm sporting a tank-top. We don't have AC in our apartment and stores, restaurants, cafes, movie theaters and the like don't have it either. Summers can be absolutely miserable as a result.
  2. Mexican food: This is my favorite cuisine. Ever. Always has been. And, though they do have it here (but, mind you, it's hard to find), it's just not done well. You know Mexican is not your thing when the food pales in comparison to Taco Bell. I make it a lot myself to curb the cravings, but even finding the right ingredients is a chore. I have yet to see black or refried beans, for example.
  3. American-style Breakfast: My husband's with me on this one. His biggest pet peeve is that though IHOP stands for International House of Pancakes, the restaurant chain only exist in the US. I still make pancakes and waffles, but I miss bacon strips, southern buscuits, and sausage and long for the presence of Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth.
  4. Good community theater: I want to get back into acting, but I don't want to go professional and I'd rather not pay €40 and up to be in a show (and the "and up" can be downright terrifying). Unfortunately, in the Netherlands, those stipulations mean I won't be doing any theater. Where are the community theaters that allow you to join them in any show in any capacity for an entire year for a measely $30? Where are the dinner theaters that allow you to do paid acting for shorter runs?
  5. Pants that fit me: To quote Winnie the Pooh, "I am short, fat and proud of that." Sadly, my stature makes finding pants that fit impossible. The Dutch assume that if you're larger than a size 38, you must be at least 6-feet tall. At 5'5" and god-only-knows-how-many kilos, I just don't fit this prototype. Which means that all pants I buy need to be taken to a tailor who will shorten them by about 8 inches. It only costs about €12 to have this done, but when jeans can cost anywhere from €38-100, this can really hurt the pocketbook.

What the Netherlands does have that I wish it didn't
  1. Wind: Wind in and of itself isn't bad. It's the fact that in the Netherlands, the wind blows at you from all directions at once. If you find yourself walking or cycling into a strong wind and you change course for a little reprieve, you'll find that you are still struggling against the wind. It doesn't matter where you turn, the wind is always coming at you. Hard.

... and that's all I could think of
What are some things your country has that you wish it did? Or things it does have that you wish it didn't? Share in the comments.
Photo: ElizaPeyton, Flickr
Is the grass always greener? -- Expat Blog Hop #5Click on the badge to see what other expats have to say.
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