Showing posts with label Dutch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dutch. Show all posts

Friday, 21 November 2014

A stranger in the Netherlands

Today's blog is coming to you from the Netherlands where I'm visiting for a few days. While it is lovely to catch up with family and old friends, I'm feeling rather out of place. Not only is it a lot colder and greyer than the C├┤te d'Azur, but it feels just all round a bit alien. I left my native country about 24 years ago. I've visited regularly so all the changes have been introduced in small doses, but in the last few years I've come to realise that my own country is now firmly ''abroad''
I speak the language, apart from some new words that have joined the vocabulary like ''appen'' a verb meaning using an app(lication) but I'm not part of the culture anymore. I don't know the politicians, celebrities and current affairs. So am I still Dutch?

Working with many nationalities at the airport we often discuss national traits. During a training course the other week some of my french colleagues were lamenting the fact that Russian customers are so unsmiling and dour. One of my Belorussian colleagues explained that when you work you are expected to be serious and often her countrymen are taken aback by all these inane smiling shop assistants. Customs are changing as the world population travels more and more. Now and then these days you get a friendly smile back, but maybe just out of pity; ''oh how sweet this care in the community, letting these poor souls work at the airfield''

So what have I noticed here as a foreign observer? Firstly to take great care on the motorway, some Dutch drivers are the most reckless, impatient and aggressive drivers about. Don't be surprised to be overtaken on the left and the right at great speed while the motorist flashes their lights. Luckily there are also some light moments when I enjoyed the dry humour of the train driver. First he announced we were being delayed by a red sign. he finished by saying:
''we will be on our way when the light changes''
after a short pause he added
"that moment has now arrived" resulting in some giggles.
The delay was only five minutes on an hour journey, I shrugged my shoulders and thought this was not bad at all. (excuse the stereo type, but at least they weren't on strike! we are having our fill of that in France at the moment.) but for the impatient dutch this was already worth a sigh.
Yes I'm definitely a foreigner here, but nobody would know. I'm a tall blond alien observing your customs.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Optimism II

Turned out it wasn't such a bad week after all. The basement is drying out and apart from the Saturday the weather has been fine and at times sunny. I even managed to get that job after all. I'm starting the 11th of March in the duty free shop@nice airport. The airport has an unique atmosphere and I enjoyed my previous season there very much. It's at times unpredictable and you have to be willing to do overtime, but unlike my job in Monaco; the overtime is paid. I'll be working either the early morning or late evening so I should be able to keep writing and get that much needed beach time. I mean tans don't just happen!

As much as you love something and would like to write about it, sometimes it doesn't fit with the character. I have a background in jewellery and a love of gemstones, so it made sense to make Cameron a jewellery thief. I also have a love of anything airplane and one of my most amazing aviation experiences was to go up in a vintage Tiger moth. I was at the time learning to fly and not worried when the pilot suggested we do some tricks. The loop de loop was done at such slow speed that it seemed we would be stuck upside down at the top of the loop. The Tiger moth however is known for its maneuverability at low speed and made an excellent training airplane:

I would love to get Cameron to fly one of these, but to lean how to fly you would have to put in some daylight hours first. Maybe his friend Charley would've had his license and experience of night time flying. On a clear night you could've flown one of these without problems. I might consider an aviation story for book 2. Modern airports are unfortunately a no go for vampires, but maybe some of the passengers stories will inspire me.

I hope to get a lot of writing done before I start the job, but the kitten is doing it's best to stop that from happening. He sleeps between 2 and 5pm if I'm lucky, but the rest of the time he is trying to type on my laptop too.(Or biting the screen!)


To finish of the week we had the excellent ladies 1500M speed skating results. Well done the Dutch girls for getting gold, silver, bronze and chocolate. (One of the french ski team came up with that to take some comfort in coming fourth. I think that is rather sweet; so you came fourth! poor you here's a medal made of chocolate:)

So bring on the week, the sun is shining....what could could go wrong? I also would like to thank Clicquot for his input, that screen really did need to be pounced upon and knocked flat, the blog is so much the better for it!