Realizing I am not a tourist anymore

The first year is almost over, and that makes me think in my whole experience here as an expat. I have to admit, I did not expect so many cultural differences, but let me tell you, there are.

Dutch people have some peculiar habits. Nevertheless, after eight months living here I believe culture has consumed me. It is crazy how everything that was unusual at the beginning has become part of my life. Either because some are actually good ideas or because I got used to for all the times I have repeated them, now I see myself doing Dutch stuff.

  1. Today, I do not longer complain about how tired it is to ride the bike every day, but I also refer to distances with the time it takes to go by bike to that place.
  2. When I was told about this, I jumped on the bandwagon right away. Chocolate sprinkles (Hagelslag) as breakfast is without doubt the best idea ever.
  3. Honestly, punctuality is a point which I am still working on, but it is quite surprising to say that an Ecuadorian is just 3 minutes late and not 30 as I used to be.
  4. The weather is far cry from Ecuador. However, I feel great knowing that I am not the only one who complains about it every day.
  5. Eventually I am getting the influence of the agenda. I am not planning all my time in my hand writing agenda, but I do try to add the deadline of my assignments in reminders in my computer. Perhaps, next year you will see me planning my week in advance.
  6. If you like coffee, welcome to The Netherlands. I have doubled my cups of coffee for the week. Probably is because coffee machines are everywhere, even at your friend’s house.
  7. I have learned that there’s a magic medicine for everything. Here if you are sick, of anything, just buy paracetamol.

My experience here did not start on the right foot. It was a blessing in disguise. However, I do know that the decision to come here has been the right one. Even though I do not speak Dutch just yet, which I believe is really difficult by the way, I have realized that I am not a tourist anymore.

Camila Quezada