Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Joining the team

And orange were the stands
Originally uploaded by Rúben.
I have been living in the Netherlands for seventeen months. I realised a while ago that this country is a really easy place for an EU citizen to remain detached. I have been able to keep this "I am only visiting" attitude for this entire time.

Well, after some pondering I came to the conclusion that even if I would be staying for only a short time, it does not hurt to integrate with the society. The expat bubble feels a bit small after some time.

I took a step to this direction a while ago by subscribing to a Dutch newspaper. It has helped me to realise who are people like Minister Donner, John de Mol, Femke Halsema, Hasna El-Maroudi, Ahmed Aboutaleb, Laetitia Griffith and Marco Borsato. As a political scientist this has made me feel less ignorant.

My second step has been speaking Dutch more often. I have written several text messages and emails in Dutch and decided to speak only Dutch with two of my colleagues. It is slow and at times frustrating but I am sure that in the end it is the right decision. I realised that it is really a silly attitude to think that Dutch would not be a useful language to learn. All languages are useful.

I decided to document my learning process by listing in my blog new Dutch words that I have learned. Yesterday's and today's words are (translations are not exact):

lullen - babble
gek - strange, unusual
lief - sweet
huilen - cry
afstand - distance
pot - lesbian, dyke (offensive phrase)

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