After spending a while away from home, in a different country, you become more and more comfortable with the habits of the locals and step-by-step integrate them in your daily life. Here are 3 habits that I have developed whilst living in the Netherlands (and you should be ready to embrace if you are heading to the Dutch lands for your year abroad, too).
1. Cycling everywhere.
Literally everywhere! You know you have become overly-dependent on your bike, when it’s a sunny day, you decide to go shopping and to walk to the shop which is a 10 minutes-walk from yours, you get out of the house…but then turn towards the garden and pick up your bike, simply because you feel too lazy to walk! If you would have told me a couple of months ago that a 20-30 minutes walk would seem way too much to deal with, I would have laughed at you and told you that I have commuted every day double the distance pretty much all my highschool years. But now…why would I waste 30 minutes waking, when I can be there in 10 minutes, with my dear bikey?
2. Being fussy about your cheese.
Before I moved to the Netherlands, I loved cheese, but did not care that much about it. From the simple cheddar to the fancy brie, cheese was all the same to me – as long as it was melted and on top of my pizza, I was happy with it. After a couple of months of living in the Netherlands, things have taken a drastic turn. Since I moved here I have learnt that:
- parmesan is best on top of pasta;
- quattro formaggi pizza is the best thing in the world, when the 4 types of cheese on top are well-chosen;
- there is no better snack than brie with crackers;
- mozzarella is not the same as feta, and you cannot, under any circumstance, use it for greek salad.
This year abroad has definitely been the beginning of a long lasting affair between me and the fascinating world of cheese. And oh, how I am going to miss being able to afford trying the fanciest and most eccentric types!
3. Eating chocolate for breakfast.
Hagelslag, or what we essentially call chocolate sprinkles, are one of the very traditional Dutch things you can have for breakfast. You usually eat them on a slice of bread/toast and butter and they are guaranteed to sweeten your day. At the beginning I was skeptical about them – so much sugar for a meal, especially for breakfast! – but after trying them, I can only say I hope I am not going to get diabetes from all the delicious breakfasts I have had these past months!
Cannot believe my Erasmus is coming to an end! :'(