Self Expression Magazine

Negative About The Netherlands

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips

Negative about The NetherlandsThis is a guest post from Saskia van der Linden, a Dutch national who has returned to the Netherlands after 8 years in the UK. I met Saskia at a recent writing workshop given in The Hague and it is my pleasure to have her to the blog. You can follow Saskia's blog, Back Home.
Yesterday a parcel was returned to me. I’d written the addressee details in big letters on the front of the package and the lady at the post office had stuck stamps and an air mail sticker on it. On the back, I’d written my own address details in small letters. What more could I do?
I decided to give TNT Post a bit more help. On the front of the parcel, I wrote: ‘This is the front’ and on the back I wrote: ‘This is the back’. Under the stamp I wrote: ‘postage to pay for delivery to Australia, not Holland’ and under the air mail sticker I wrote: ‘air mail sticker for delivery to Australia, not Holland.’ Still, I wonder if it will ever reach its destination.
Today I spoke to movers at work. I’d sent them a move plan that I’d split up in Part One and Part Two. First we had to move people out (Part One) and then we had to move others in (Part Two). The movers had decided to start with Part Two and not One. I explained to them why I found this a bad idea with the patience of a kindergarten teacher.
On the weekend a taxi driver in Amsterdam charged me fifteen euro for a trip that never took place. He told me all the roads were blocked and couldn’t drive me anywhere only after I’d got in and been driven around for less than five minutes. If the newspapers are anything to go by, one isn’t to argue with a taxi driver in Amsterdam unless one has a loaded gun or a black karate belt. So, I paid up and didn’t think of it again. That is, until now.
Once upon a short time ago I was constantly moaning with other foreigners about England. It’s only fair that at work, I should now be surrounded by foreigners who are negative about The Netherlands. I could easily join in their moaning sessions, so why don’t I?
I wonder if two big factors have changed. On the one hand, I realised late that I could attribute most of my moaning about England to homesickness. The moment I climbed on Dutch shore I suddenly felt as if I had solid ground under my feet again, even if I entered a territory I was no longer familiar with. I still speak the language and I still know the culture...
On the other hand, over the years I must have changed, too. I’m guessing that I’ve slowly grown a built-in mechanism that protects me from having a heart attack before I’ve reached the age of forty-two. Postmen, movers and taxi drivers just aren’t worth it.
Photo: ell brown, Flickr


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