Tag Archives: the Netherlands

10 Ways in which Dublin has changed me

Aston Quay, Dublin

Aston Quay, Dublin

Having moved to Dublin from the Netherlands a bit over a year ago, people sometimes ask me if I have changed anything or much since. In general, I don’t think I’ve changed all that much (although I’m also not a 100% sure if I’d be the best judge of that). But there are some things I do differently now, and here’s a list of them.

1. I kiss people less often.
Okay I should probably explain that right? In the Netherlands it’s custom to kiss each other three times on the cheek (left, right, left) if you haven’t seen the other person in a while, if it’s someone’s birthday, if you’re happy to see someone, or just because you feel like it. In Ireland, I still haven’t really discovered THE way of greeting someone. I think it’s two kisses, but not always and since I was so used to three, I’ve had quite a few awkward encounters in which I was suddenly kissing the air or bumpin’ heads.
Instead, I now opt for a high-five or just spread my arms like wings ready for take-off, so people know hugs-a-comin.

2. Money talk.
Dutchies tend to be a lot more secretive about money stuff. Here, straight up questions like “What did that cost?” are a lot more common and I’ve become more open discussing money stuff too. “12 euro on sale, New Look.”

3. My parsnip intake has increased by a 100%.
It’s just not a hip and happening vegetable in the Netherlands. Good story.

4. I walk a lot, lot more.
Even when I had a bike here, I opted for walking most of the time as not all the roads are bike proof. Also, the public transport is complicated and terrible.
Walking is the way to go.

5. A sea of tea.
I drink more tea with more milk, and leave the teabag in my cup so it gets nice and strong. This has nothing to do with someone telling me that “taking your teabag out is for wimps”, btw.
Also, I bulk buy tea now. In the Netherlands there’s usually a lousy 20 teabags in a packet, over here the small packets contain 80, and regular packets of tea 160.
Favourite tea? Barry’s. Runner up? Tetley’s.

6. Face paint.
I’ve started using a lot more make-up. Women tend to wear more make-up here, especially in or for their jobs, and I started to feel shabby and bare without any, as if I had put less effort in.
Also, eyebrows are life.

7. I play the lotto now.
Had never played it until moving here. The Irish are partial to a gamble and there’s countless betting shops about. Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Boyle Sports. I’m not even sure if those type of shops are a thing in the Netherlands.
Since in Dublin prices-for-everything are rocketing through the roof (just an example: 6,50 euro for a pint, no problem), I might as well join in on the hunt for a pot of gold. Also, there’s a bit more of a buzz around the lotto here. Especially when it’s announced there’s been a big local win, there’s quite some speculation going on.

8. I eat more pureed soup.
In the Netherlands soup is usually almost see-through with big chunks of vegetable. I enjoyed the Irish pureed soup a lot more, until that time someone said they thought it resembled baby food. Oh.

9. Jaysus.
A few classic local expressions are now incorporated in my day to day vocabulary. The favourite among the dance mums in the class, “Ahh jaysus”, was first to escape my mouth. “Ahh lads gowan…” and “that’s gas” followed soon after.

10. “This will make for a good story.”
The Irish attitude towards bad luck and unexpected events made me more relaxed about certain situations. I’ve seen two of my teachers chuckle over a lost house key: “Oh dear, what are we to do now?” A group of dancers had their car break down on their way to the World Championships and all the while laughing they told me the adventures they went through to get there in the end. “It wouldn’t be a proper journey without at least one car breaking down, right?”
Been on a pub crawl with a group of friends and lost several items (a phone, a coat, money, glasses)? No problem, we’ll just do the whole pub crawl again tonight and get our belongings back.
Things that would upset or annoy a lot of people, the Irish don’t seem to be bothered about too quickly.
Why worry about things you can’t control? They are adventures and they’ll make for a good story.

4 things that happened in the past week #4

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Gastonishing
Seems one of my favourite (loveable no, entertaining yes) Disney characters is going through a rough time. In a few weeks time two videos of a Meet ‘n Greet with Gaston in Disney World went viral. In the first one a little girl named Isabella totally put him in his place, telling him “the Beast is gonna beat you and he is gonna marry Belle!”. In the second, a guy challenges him to do a push up-battle (which totally turns against him in the end). These videos sparked me to find more vids on YouTube in which this Gaston is featured and they all entertained me big time. Like the character, the actor walking the park as Gaston behaves like a total self-involved douche, but in the most funny way possible. There’s some signature lines he does that I find really amusing. After a meet and greet he often says stuff like “Pleasure to meet me, the honour was all yours.”
My, what a guy, that Gaston!

Hearthstone
Apart from some Tetris now and again, I have never done much online gaming or video games. As a kiddo we did have a Nintendo and I remember playing some Super Mario, a Darkwing Duck platform game (“Let’s get dangerous!”) and some Lion King Pinball thing which I thought was superfun. But, having two very fanatic older brothers meant I often ended up watching. In the past week I got into playing Hearthstone, a free online card game developed by Blizzard. It’s kind of a strategic game in which you let minions, beasts and other character “battle” with each other until you can “destroy” your opponents hero. Sounds lovely init? For me it has a similar feel as table top game Citadels, to which I got quite addicted to this summer (even when I kept losing). Best thing about Hearthstone is that you can chose a hero from 9 characters, and they all have different kinds of powers and different spells. There’s also loads of cards and decks to chose from, so it won’t get boring anytime soon. Oh, and it’s terribly addictive and awesome.

Soul Food
During my stay in the Netherlands over the Christmas holidays I went out for dinner at De La Soul, a small restaurant in the center Leiden. They serve what they call “soulfood”, which is, what I understood, a mixture of Creole, Caribbean and Cajun food. Whatever it exactly was it was absolutely savage and I can’t wait to go back there. De La Soul serves small dishes with a small-ish price tag so it’s a good idea to order a few dishes, much like eating tapas. Among other hings I had Chicken and Waffles for the first time in my life (I did not know this was a thing!) and some mac and four cheeses. Especially that last one was OMGSOYUMMY and I easily could’ve eaten like six bowls of that, no problem.

Bye, Bye Coat
My flight back to Dublin wasn’t my favourite one to date. After watching some HIMYM (yes, I have proceeded to do that!) at the gate I stood up to board, during which I must have forgotten to grab my coat to queue. Realizing I forgot it four minutes later, I confidently walked back to the bench I was sitting before to grab it, but it was gone. I spoke to a few staff members but nothing was turned in and there was no cleaning service around, so I can only assume someone must’ve taken/stolen it. It’s an odd feeling stepping onto a plane knowing there might be people there that might have taken something from you, unintentionally you start to look different to people.
Coatwise, it was a snazzy black and white TK-Maxx bargain and I felt really classy in it. Wherever you are, you will be sadly missed.
To cheer myself up I got an Aer Lingus snackpack that contained cheese, hummus, breadsticks, crackers and a Lily O’Brien chocolate. Not too shabby.