By Madeline Reddington
In light of my recent return from Amsterdam, I will be adding a smattering of posts here and there with some knowledge I picked up there. Here’s a few things to start with:
“Wait, how many nights did you go out and party this week?”
“Mom, I’m abroad–everyone parties when they’re abroad!”
“…well that’s not a very nice thing to call yourself…”
This would be Lesson 1: Unless you have a close relationship with your parent (I do), definitely don’t tell them the truth about how you spent your four months in Amsterdam.
I may be getting ahead of myself here–Lesson 1 is actually, “Go to Amsterdam.” So let’s rename that previous piece “lesson 1.a.”
Once you get to Amsterdam is when the hard part starts. To begin with, everyone around you will sound like they’re speaking some kind of alien language that involves pronouncing each syllable as though attempting to dislodge a hairball from your throat. But don’t be discouraged–once you’re able to understand it, Dutch is a fantastic language, and quite fun to speak.
On that note, Lesson 2: “Lekker” in Dutch means both “tasty” and “sexy,” so if someone says it when you’re walking by, check to see if they are eating–if not, they may be talking about you. Congratulations! …but wait, if there’s an elegant 6-foot-tall blonde woman standing behind you, it could be her (and there are a lot of her).
But (Lesson 3), don’t let the striking Dutch men and women stop you in your tracks…or the tram tracks…or the bike lane–you will be subsequently yelled at, scoffed at, bike-bell-dinged-at and then possibly run over.
Lesson 4: When you’ve been around long enough to have your own bike you will be doing the yelling, scoffing and dinging yourself. As it turns out, it’s quite satisfying to herd the tourists out of your way; that is, during the couple of weeks when your bike bell isn’t broken and/or your bike itself falling apart.
With these few things, you’ll be off to a pretty good start–that is, until you try to order a beer.