1 It doesn’t get easier to witness what’s happening back home just cause I “escaped” to Europe. Heck, it might even be a little harder. My thoughts are with the people who are vulnerable and suffering.
2 You know how anywhere you travel, you’ll find some yokel who says “If ya don’t like the weather here, just wait a few minutes and it’ll change” and then gives a hearty laugh? Yeah that is NOT the case around here. It’s been mostly cloudy in the mid-30s since I arrived, literally any time, day or night.
Speaking of which, here’s my handy-dandy conversion kit to understand temperatures in Celsius. It’s not that hard!
40: Texas in August
3 My Dutch is sloooowly progressing. I can speak a sentence with a few seconds’ thought, whereas my comprehension has progressed from “recognizing two words” to “recognizing five words and maybe grasping the topic of conversation.”
Dutch word order is a bag of monkeys, by the way. Today’s example: “She did not hear me say that” translates to “Zij heeft mij dat niet horen zeggen,” or “She has me that not heard said.”
As before, though, learning a new language teaches you a lot about your own. Have you ever thought about how “mint” can mean either a flavorful herb or the place where they make money? It’s the same word!!
4 I’ve shared this before, but this is how the Dutch do trash collection, and it’s awesome.
5 Just a random fact, because I looooove random facts: in 1973, Duracell debuted a battery-powered pink plush bunny mascot with a European commercial, but they never trademarked the bunny in the United States. Fifteen years later, Energizer stole the concept and introduced the Energizer Bunny with a US commercial. So that means when you’re in the US, you see the Energizer bunny; and when you’re anywhere else, you see the Duracell bunny.
6 Being a World War II nut makes a move to Europe all the more interesting. It was well less than a century ago that Nazi Kübelwagens were rolling down my street; the D-Day beaches are a day’s drive away. The most famous local story was Anne Frank, of course, and only after moving here did I realize I had a fundamental misunderstanding of the story: the “secret house” in the city center that Anne’s family hid in for two years was not their house. I realized this because the house where they did live before going into hiding is a ten-minute walk from mine. The streets Anne walked on, the park where she played, even the bookstore where she bought her diary (still in business!) are all right across the neighborhood. History here feels as close as a curtain against a window.
7 Okay, that was a bit heavy. Here’s a palate cleanser: a ten-minute time-lapse of a boat’s commute across the Dutch countryside from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. (If you’re the impatient sort you can skip to eight minutes, when day turns to night and they arrive in Amsterdam.)
HOT DRAWBRIDGE ACTION!! ???
8 I know long-distance relationships are all the rage, but have you tried a SHORT-distance relationship? It is soooo much better.