Patience is a virtue

Attending Hamilton College, I was used to ~bad~ weather. I also knew that Amsterdam wasn’t going to be pretty and sunny 24/7, but I didn’t expect it to be so cloudy, gloomy, and rain basically all day everyday. It’s gotten to the point where the true Amsterdammers are complaining about the weather! Regardless of the bad weather, everyone and everything remains beautiful. After talking to some locals, almost all seem to endure the weather because they all look forward to the tulip fields in April/May. I know I’m looking forward to them!

We’ve started our Dutch classes the minute we landed and after learning some introductory words and sentences, I’m able to hold a brief conversation. How brief? 10 seconds max. Though my vocabulary and pronunciation is improving, it’s hard to practice speaking Dutch. Since I look like a tourist, many people automatically start speaking English to me and while I try to reply in Dutch, they look at me like I have 2 heads. No big deal. I’ve learned that I need to initiate the conversation and hope that they’ll help me practice.

As one of our Dutch assignments, we went to a restaurant and had to order our meal in Dutch and only Dutch. To make sure this happened, our Dutch teacher, Eduard, hovered at each table and told us “goed gedaan!” I’ve never felt so proud of myself (pats myself on the shoulder). The food was phenomenal – 10/10. It also felt great to have the staff smile and laugh with (maybe at) us if we mispronounced a word.

The nightlife in Amsterdam is also a test of how much patience you have. The clubs are incredibly crowded and everyone pushes to get where they want. The music is so loud that you can’t hear your own thoughts, but overall, it’s always a great experience. You always end up meeting another group of tourists or locals who are eager to show you around. The hospitality of Dutch people is so surprising. Everyone really gets to know you and always offers advice on how to survive the harsh weather. I truly couldn’t have asked for a better experience with anyone I’ve met so far!

Next week, we go to a city of our choice and Belgium! Tot snel!

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