Chad in Amsterdam: Conversations with the Dutch

Chad in Amsterdam: Conversations with the Dutch

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Chad is an entrant in the 2012 “i am not a tourist” Expat Fair Blog Competition.

The Dutch are a naturally curious and inquisitive people. One distinct characteristic of the Dutch is an interest in foreign people, cultures, politics and art. The Dutch have long been a cosmopolitan populace. As the former global leaders in trade, art, science and naval military during the 17th century, the Dutch have been intimately privy to the world around them for centuries.

Foreigners within the Netherlands are welcomed and made to feel comfortable. It should be noted that the presence of foreigners will warrant the curiosity of the Dutch. The Dutch are very adept at identifying non-Nordic foreigners within the political boundaries of the Netherlands. Upon identifying a foreigner, there is a strong chance that a Dutch person will approach a foreigner for questioning. The Dutch are partial to communicating in a direct fashion and will often avoid pleasantries such as salutations and name enquiries. This is an accepted process of communication in the Netherlands and should not be taken with any offense. What will ensue will be a deluge of probing questions that will ultimately explain the foreigner's presence within the political boundaries of the Netherlands.

Foreigners should not expect to counter with questions of their own until the conclusion of the Dutch person's inquisition. The following text is an example conversation with sample questions and suggested answers:

"You are from America?"

No.

"Really? Where are you from?"

Samoa.

"Really?"

No. I'm kidding. I'm from the States.

"Where in the States are you from?"

I'm from Cleveland.

"Cleveland? Where is that at?"

To the left of New York City.

"Is it nice in Cleveland?"

Yeah. It's like, the most beautiful place, like, ever. Your life won't be complete until you go and eat a Polish Boy.

"You are here on holiday?"

No. I live here.

"Really? You live in Amsterdam?"

I really do.

"Where in Amsterdam do you live?"

I live in the North.

"Why would you want to live in the North?"

It's not so bad. The ferry ride is quite cathartic.

"What made you move to the Netherlands?"

Weed and hookers. Just kidding. I moved here for school.

"Where did you study?"

At the UvA. Sorry, I probably mispronounced that.

"What did you study at the UvA?"

I studied American Studies.

"You studied American Studies in Holland?"

I did.

"Isn't that pretty patriotic of you?"

Not really. I wanted to learn what other folks think of America.

"Did you find out what we think of America?"

Yes. You guys think we're all stupid, fat and devoid of culture.

"What do you do here in the Netherlands for money?"

Sell my body.

"Do you make much money selling your body?"

I'm considering a career change.

"Do you speak Dutch?"

Nee.

"How long have you been in the Netherlands that you do not speak any Dutch?"

Two and a half years. How much time does the Dutch government give me to learn it?

"Do you ride a bike?"

No. I shipped my 1993 Eddie Bauer edition Ford Explorer over. Bike riding is for hipsters. Of course, I ride a bike.

"What do you think about us Dutch?"

I don't have enough time to answer that question sufficiently. Y'all aight.

"It is better living here than in America, no?"

I wouldn't say that. It's different.



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