different strokes

The other day I noticed I was running out of food. It’s common here to grocery shop two, three, or even four times a week, which I’m not really accustomed to.

I was hungry, but not ‘walk half-a-mile to Albert Heijn and lug my groceries home on my back’ hungry, so I decided to take a short walk to the frituur, which specializes in fries, fries, and more fries with nearly 15 different kinds of toppings.

We have a McDonald’s, but why settle when you could go first-class? Besides, the frituur sells chicken nuggets in starfish and sailboat shapes, which is clearly more awesome.

Mayo on fries? Yes.

I was waiting in line to order my dinner (kipnugget en kleine patat met mayo) when a woman holding her toddler approached the cash register. I motioned for her to take my place in line, because I wasn’t holding a kid, and I had all the time in the world.

She responded in rapid Dutch, so I said, “Sorry, ik begrijpt niet — ik Engels spreek.” (Sorry, I don’t understand – I speak English.)

She smacked her free hand to her forehead and cried, “Of course you are! Why else would you give your place to me? You are American. You are silly. Okay. I take your place.”

I laughed and asked, “Waarom is dat? Ik vind dat niet grappig.” (Why is that? I don’t find that silly at all.)

She looked at me very seriously and said, “Because. In America, you are always wasting your time, saying, ‘No, you go first!’ ‘No, you go first!’ when you both are wanting to go first. Right? Yes?”

“Ja – dat is proper. Omdat je heb een kind.” (Yeah – it’s polite. Because you have a kid.)

“Nee! When you play those silly games with a Dutch person, they will say, ‘Okay’ and then you will be taken a fool. Like this.” She cut ahead of me in line and relayed her order to the cashier in more rapid Dutch, then looked over her shoulder and said, “Now you must wait. You are feeling sorry, aren’t you? Yes, I bet.”

The cashier handed over her order and said, “Smakkelijk!” (‘Good taste’ – kind of like ‘enjoy!’) The woman stopped at the door and said, “Dag, American! Now you are a little more Dutch. Good luck.”

I looked at the cashier, who simply shrugged and said, “It is true. Wat je wil?”

I went out in search of a quick dinner fix and learned a valuable lesson… only in Holland!

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~ by curiouskristie on February 10, 2010.

One Response to “different strokes”

  1. Leuke site!. Er zijn nog weinig goede sites over dit onderwerp te vinden.
    Ben blij met jullie toevoeging!
    Ik kan helaas geen bookmark aanmaken naar curiouskristie.wordpress.com in Firefox. 😦 Weten jullie hoe dit komt?

    Groetjes Barbara

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