Two months in the Netherlands
By: Julien Schumacher from France
It’s been two months now since I live in the Netherlands and what I have to admit is that I already feel at home here. And it wasn‘t too difficult to adapt to this new culture.
Indeed we are not so different. Yes, it can be surprising but the Dutch are also human like us! It’s not obvious at first sight. Even more when you hear this strange language full of ”hhrrrr” and ”kkrrrr”. When somebody is yelling at you because you are two minutes late. When dinner starts at 6.pm. When there is a meeting to plan the next meeting in order to prepare the next meeting. When the work is finished at 6.pm and you want to go to a shop but the shop is closed. When you take a second cookie and everybody is looking at you like you killed somebody. When you want to take a bike but it’s raining and freezing outside. When you want to ski. When every plan has to be written in the agenda, even at what time you have to pee. When you want to have a real lunch, but it’s sandwich time. When everybody is paying his part at the restaurant. When you think you understand Dutch but after 10 kilometers you cannot understand it anymore.
Okay, some of their habits are really strange. But when you get over the stereotypes you realize how hospitable, helpful and totally crazy (in the good way) they are. And if there is a place in the Netherlands where you can notice that, it is Don Bosco! I think I found a second family here. A family who really cares about us and even more about every child. Every day is a new crazy and creative day here!
And it’s the kind of athmosphere that I really needed. Even if I was reluctant at the beginning, I have to admit that I’m learning and enjoying everyday. I hope it will continue, but I think that with this team and my volunteer friends, I don’t have to worry about it!