I’ve noticed I’m in a foreign country. No, really! There are many ways to tell, not least of which being a plane flight reminiscent of traveling from Seattle to Tacoma in rush hour by yak. The most obvious, of course, is the language thing.
So far I’ve heard French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and German and of course, Dutch. (Dutch sounds like German with a really bad head-cold. Just an FYI.)
This is hardly bad, and somewhat expected, just … odd. I can get pretty much anything done, as every single person here speaks English as far as I can tell. There isn’t a sense of discomfort exactly, as there is no hostility at all (a fair amount of indifference) and because of the prevalence of English, no sense that I can’t get by. Besides, I’m used to being in places where I know no one, don’t know the streets, the people or the culture, and just tuning out the noise while I pay attention to the patterns. I’ve moved so many times and traveled enough that this is pretty comfortable for me.
But it is strange to be wandering a place and realize you don’t understand -anything- being said unless it’s spoken directly at you. I mean, on the plus side, it makes it much easier to ignore drunks and looneys.
Drunk: Horvoot garspekder goohva!
Duri: Cafe con Lache Pollo!
Which generally shuts them up. But still ….
I’m wearing a ring on the pinky finger of my right hand. Until Monday I had never worn a ring before in my life, as I’d never had the desire to buy one and no one had given me a ring at an point when I’d have been willing to wear it (if at all). But a cool new friend of mine was sitting with myself and another friend saying goodbye and talking about her new car which was costing as much as the USS Nimitz to purchase and maintain and was STRIPPING THE FLESH FROM HER BONES AND DESTROYING HER LIFE! and how much she loved it, so she gave me this ring. It was one of those random acts of kindness that had no preamble nor strings attached that makes you think that maybe not everyone should be eaten.
I’ve been wearing it ever since, and think it’s pretty damned cool. Nice little silver band with some celtic looking stuff on it that barely fits my finger, because Thog has big paws. But I also notice myself twitching that finger almost constantly, occasionally closing my hand because I’m expeacting this thing to come off, and generally noticing it even when I’m not focusing on it as something that in 30 years has not really been encountered. I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually, and I’ll likely start picking up such things for myself now that I know they do not cause my arm to blacken and fall off.
The language thing is like that. The cultural shift is actually less impactful, in part because I don’t know what the hell they’re saying, in part because the US is home to allot of subcultures and I’ve lived in most of them.
But what the HELL is the Dutch fascination with the word ‘Poot’?!?
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