Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ain't sweet, but sure ain't bitter

I have a new pet peeve, and that is cheerful blogs from people who have just moved to this country and want to gush about how wonderful everything is and, better yet, chide any expat who complains because they're not trying hard enough to assimilate and appreciate. I'm not miserable, but I am a truth-teller... and that's ostensibly a very Dutch value. The Dutch do not like Pollyanna and I don't either, so really I have more in common with them than the Pollyannas, now, don't I? (All of these people to whom I refer are also childless, which I believe makes all the difference in the experience of the move. I would probably have sounded more like them had I moved here at the age of 24 as a newly-married young adult ready to take on the night life.)

At any rate, I don't walk through (most of) my days railing about the misery of life, but as it's turned out the more interesting -- and thus, bloggable -- aspects of living here have involved the thorny patches we've had to deal with. There is a great deal to love about living here, especially if you are blessed with a healthy and ironic sense of humor. One of the best parts of moving somewhere perceived as different or exotic is that it makes you more conscious of the humor and preciousness of the quotidian ANYWHERE, even in the town where you grew up. It doesn't matter how exotic the locale, life with children ultimately boils down to obtaining and preparing three squares a day, tidying and doing laundry, and getting them diapered and/or to and from school. Hopefully they're absorbing the values you want them to absorb and seeing some cool stuff along the way.

We are not -- nor are the Pollyannas -- cooler than anyone else for having undertaken the madness of a transatlantic move. We are a bit wiser of the world and immigration restrictions (which might cause me to argue that those who stayed put made the wiser decision for their families), we have gotten more cheap Gouda than we ever believed we could stomach, and we are a bit closer to Italy. And that last one, ladies and gentlemen, just might be enough to make all this worthwhile.

1 comment:

Sonya said...

I've noticed the ones who are super cheerful arent here for very long..lol The ones who are here for a long time, like us,tend to see things different and not through rose colored glasses.

It's a whole other ballpark when you come here with kids and all the lovely little things you need to learn when dealing with teachers and doctors and lord knows wat else.

My pet peeve is the false expat bloggers..they talk about the wonder of it all about living here and how nothing effects them..in the mean time they are hudled in a corner crieing and cant leave the house. I could go on for ages on this topic but I wont..lol

It's not bad living here by any means but I've had to stand up for myself in ways I never thought I would,I've had to learn lessons I could of done without and no matter how many times I talk to dutch people, I never feel like Im totally welcome into their home. They tolerate me but dont know wat to do with me.