- Dutch people can do any (or, presumably, all) of the following while riding a bicycle: “walk” their dog, talk to their kids (seated in front of them or behind them or both), talk to people riding around them, talk on the telephone, type text messages, smoke, hold a bag of groceries, dodge any traffic that comes their way, sound pretty bells, sing songs, and pick their nose. All while keeping their back straighter than straight, and looking entirely unfazed and very serious.
- People do like club music here. Like even normal cozy little cafés can sometimes be found playing trance. It’s funny. They also like hair gel.
- Apparently it’s true that the dairy is responsible for making them so tall (and slender and beautiful). I feel like a walking antithesis. Since my stomach and lactose are not so good friends that I could hope to compensate by drinking my body weight in milk each day from now on, I shall compensate by learning Dutch:
- I’m in an intensive Dutch course and so far it’s great. For people who know English (and in my case, German and a bit of Danish), Dutch is nicely friendly to learn at least in terms of grammar; and many words are cognate with English, German, and/or Scandinavian ones (although the meanings often [and irritatingly] differ), which not only tends to make them easier to memorize but also offers ample chances for my beloved little language epiphanies (of the ah *that’s* where that word comes from!! sort). What makes the course extra cool so far is that we get some language history, history, culture, and general discussion on the side, and the group only consists of 5 students so I’m learning a lot. They’re also nice people so I’m also having a good time.
- A very nice moment in the language class was when during introductions, the teacher was not at all confused when I answered the feared what are you going to study here? question with letterontwerp (type design). “Oh, yes, cool. Does everyone know what that is, yes? Zij maakt een A, bijvoorbeeld.” Wow, Nederland, land of letters. I don’t think it’s ever happened to me outside of the type scene proper that I didn’t immediately have to explain to puzzled faces what type design is, and why anyone would want to do it.
- I’m a bit sad that the love of the Dutch for oranje only extends to the color but not the fruit. They don’t even call them oranges (but sinaasappel, as in “Chinese apple” because that’s, uh, where they come from?). It seems like a missed opportunity kinda. On the other hand, now that I picture partycrowds throwing oranges, maybe it’s a good thing.
- Incidentally, fruit is spelled identically in Dutch, but finally sounds really badass. Just like Duisburg.
- Basic utilitarian anatomy of a fish: Dutch people eat the whole thing, save for the tail (the end of the fish counter-intuitively called staart) and head.
- This is true, very much so in my case: Dutch staircases tend to be closer to vertical than anything resembling normalcy for non-Dutch people. (“It’s really more like a ladder”, my mother said.) The worrisome implications for moving become clear if you try to picture carrying boxes of books (or other heavy stuff) up a ladder without having any hands free to hold on… right. Next time I’d: make the boxes smaller; and try to make sure I’d have more than one person helping me.
(I do wonder if Dutch people aren’t tempted to just throw their stuff out of the window when they move out … Or each other’s stuff, perhaps. Has any ingenious Dutch person invented a furniture life net yet?)