CLMN | A crêpe amongst the pannenkoeken

CLMN | A crêpe amongst the pannenkoeken

1 november 2017

One of the main causes of friction with my friends can be resumed to our different beliefs about the definition of pannenkoek as opposed to crêpes. Their desire to retrograde crêpes to a sub-type of pannenkoek chills my spine and brings out my French pride. This debate, as strange and low key as it seems - and is -, is but a symptom of my nature within my friend group: I am French amongst six Dutch people.

I find being the odd one out fun, being able to provide insight into another culture, whether it is in food or history, and surprising people with my different perspectives on things. Initially though, it translated - or rather didn’t - into incomprehensible conversations, different eating times and a lot of jokes about eating snails.

As time went on, I changed some of my habits. I started eating boterham for lunch. I began eating dinner at 18:30 instead of my usual 20:00. I got used to the shelves at the Albert Heijn. With some practice, I also started to appreciate things like frikandel and bitterballen. And after the police stopped me for the 3rd time, I also finally accepted to cycle on the right side of the road.

Eventually, all of these things lead to me being accepted, and once I was, I began learning Dutch. Fast. This was part of the lengthy process of my integration within Dutch student life. It was hard, but I do not regret a moment of it. My experience in this country has been made all the richer from it and I am thankful my friends were patient enough to let it happen.

So where am I going with this? Well… to my fellow internationals, but also to the Dutch people, remember that both crêpes and pannenkoeken can be enjoyed with Nutella and that both your experiences will be more enlightening and amusing from it.

This column was written for the Cursor Diversity special.

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