I am writing this blog post now because I feel very satisified. Satisfaction is a rare and fleeting feeling in one’s life, and when you do feel it, you almost want to jump for joy (or smile to yourself and take a sip of wine, whatever). Moving to Holland has been such an awakening for me in so many aspects of my life, and I feel truly grateful to have this experience. Being in a new environment often brings out the best and worst in a person, and boy, have I experience both. A main theme in my stay here is dealing with the infamous “Dutch honesty.” To be quite honest, I will tell you that this has actually had a positive spin on my character. At the begining, I doubted this critical and impolite way of communicating with people. I often felt extremely selfconcious; every move, word, technique and rhythm of life I was accustumed to looked wrong from a Dutch perspective. I was criticized on how I washed dishes, my laziness in the morning, my initial timidness towards my bike, the fact that I wasn’t picking up the language quickly, and about a dozen other things. I constantly second guessed myself on order and technique at my job, and felt uncomfortable with my cooking skills in my Dutch student house. To dramatize things, I was a nervous wreck.
Until I realized something. If I could forget my pride and the self righteous attitude of: “no one would ever dare to say that in America!” I could actually listen to the criticism and see its wisdom. And by thinking and evaluating my habits, I could actually change them for the better, and improve my life. Wait a second though, this is getting to sound like one of those Tony Robbins speaches.. sorry guys. Anyways, the fact of the matter is that I can now handle criticism, and am even dishing it out more often! It has helped to really step back and take a look at the Dutch culture and how they use criticism and honesty, (and not to mention being really open minded) to better the way things work. It’s the reason why the Dutch are leaders in architecture and design, own some of the most innovative companies (Phillips, Shell, KLM) have a highly rated quality of life, and are social welfare leaders.
I am constantly impressed by the productiveness and efficiency of all things Dutch. Their rationalism and “to the point” standards put good ideas in the forefront, and virtually erase bad business. The Dutchies I know are extremely organized; all appointments and to-d0 lists are printed neatly in agendas; many of them rise early in the day, go to work or school, afterwards they hit the gym, then plan a dinner with friends, and go to bed after reading some of their new novel. From speaking to many of my boyfriends friends, I know that most Dutch people are fluent in at least two languages, and have traveled extensively.
However, despite all my acclamations of positive criticism and the Dutch way of life, there is still one thing I will never understand. This simply has to do with restaurant and cafe service. The reason it is so awful, is because there are NEVER enough waiters/ waitresses on at any given shift! Why does it have to be like that? Can’t they understand that with slow and rude service they are losing business? And I said I was satisfied. I guess for now, I’ll have to live with it 😉
xx Helen Anne
p.s. I’m editing Ibiza photos as we speak 🙂 🙂