It has been a year and a half since having moved to the Netherlands. I live in a small town on the west of this fair country; a quaint and for what seems 11 months of the year, quite a cold climate city that goes by the name of Delft. For the past year, I have had bouts of immersing myself in and out of the dutch culture.
On arriving, I joined a house with fifteen dutch girls from my university and lived there for six months. My plan was to stay in the country for six months on a cross cultural exchange from my home university in Sydney, Australia. However as I slowly got to know the people and culture, I felt my time passing quickly, and extended my exchange period to a full year.
I had joined my university's student rowing society
and dedicated much of my free time to rowing training and competitions. Rowing is a large student sport within the netherlands and I learnt much of the dutch culture by participating in one of their national sports, and made most of my good friends at the club.
At the end of this year, I am not sure if it was the co-curricular activities, the new found love of my studies, or the thought of having to again uproot
my life, but I attempted to transfer my course from Sydney to Delft. After numerous months of waiting and stressfully biting my nails, an acceptance letter came through, and I was admitted as a full time masters student at the University of Technology, Delft.
By that time, I felt as though I knew much more of the culture. I'd found love at the rowing club, I'd moved in with new housemates that I could called my family, and I had even acquired a bike collection.
However, learning a language is one of the most difficult aspects of the Dutch culture that I am still yet to accomplish, and I feel that until I can communicate in dutch with my housemates, I will never completely understand the dutch culture or its people.
For the most part, we get on quite well, we eat dinner together each night, we share breakfast together, and we go on house outings. Most of this is done in dutch, and I am quite happy to sit and listen to my housemates, however after a year of listening, I feel that I am getting fed up with living in a country and only just-getting-by with the language.
For the next few months, I am going to try and improve my dutch, and I guess here (there is no place better than the prying eyes of the internet and those that don't know me) to vent about how the results go.
It is November, and therefore clearly the Christmas season... which means our house has had its first Kerstdiner.