Well, I can’t believe that we’ve lived in this beautiful city for over a month now! It is such a great place to call home. The other day while I was talking with my family on FaceTime they were asking me to describe differences between the Netherlands and the US. This inspired me to really think about things that I’ve noticed/learned over the past month and I’ve compiled a list of my random thoughts.

  1. The IAMsterdam sign is always ridiculously crowded (see above).
  2. It is possible to ride a bike AND hold an umbrella at the same time while wearing heels.
  3. Since it rains a lot, there is also a ridiculous amount of rainbows. My record sighting is 7 in one day!
  4. Since the weather is always pretty miserable, it’s not uncommon to sit outside at a restaurant when its 6 degrees C to eat dinner. I would have never entertained this idea back home. But when places are really crowded and there is no such thing as being put on a waiting list, you have to take what you can get. Literally, when you walk into a restaurant on a Friday night and it’s crowded they tell you to leave by saying “It is not possible”.
  5. Dutch people are only in a hurry when riding their bikes
    • not at the grocery (thank goodness because this one time I made the entire grocery line of 15 people wait while I got cash out of the ATM since they did not take cards)
    • not at restaurants (because tipping isn’t really a thing here)
    • not at the bank (because it took about 3 weeks to get a bank account opened),
    • not at the Comcast equivalent (because we still don’t have tv/internet and won’t be getting it until late December)
    • not the plumber who still hasn’t fixed the kitchen sink
    • etc.
  6. 68 sq meters really is enough space to live in, and as a bonus it takes less time to clean (for the non-metric folk, that’s about 700 sq ft)
  7. Speaking of cleaning, trash goes out on the street (literally on the street, not in a trash can) on Wednesday and Sunday nights – if you put it out some other time you might just get a knock on your door asking if you’re the Johnsons who put their empty IKEA boxes out on a Friday.
  8. When you go on an excursion to IKEA you’ll likely see 95% of the furnishings you already have in your pre-furnished house, because everyone loves IKEA. And don’t try to bike there, it’s just too exhausting.
  9. Traveling is easy, especially when other people plan it and you just tag along! (Thanks Utrecht, Hamburg, and Prague crews! Maybe one day we will get the hang of planning something ourselves, but let’s be honest, it’s more fun to travel with your new friends.)
  10. Liquor stores close at 5, which doesn’t make sense because I could really use a bottle of wine on my way home from work.
  11. The culture at work could be its own blog post of differences, but the big ones:
    • The Dutch don’t drink water, or really any liquid besides coffee, and you better ask them if they need something before you go fill up your own water bottle
    • Lunch is eaten in the cafeteria at 11:45 daily and you should be back in your room by 12:15. No field trip lunches.
    • Showing up at work at 9:30 is perfectly acceptable
    • Holidays can last 5 weeks with no consequences
    • Bringing gingerbread cookies to work is a great way to make new friends
  12. Dutch people are tall, so at concerts it’s advantageous to find a raised surface to stand on.
  13. While we’re on the subject of concerts, there are no man buns in Amsterdam. Coming from a town with man buns on every corner, this was quite a shock!
  14. Mexican food isn’t the same, and white cheese dip doesn’t exist. There is a fast food Mexican place that slightly resembles Chipotle, but it just doesn’t hit the spot. (Although, I have been there at least 3 times in the past 3 weeks.)
  15. And lastly, I have the best husband and I am so grateful that we get to embark on this journey together.

Well that’s all for tonight, I’m off to my next Dutch lesson. Dag.

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