One day when I was about 11 or 12 years old and back in school, I have no memory of what the weather outside the class was. Either because in Mumbai the average temperatures throughout the year are between 20-34 degrees (anything beyond the range is climate change), or because the season in class was much different from the one outside. We were in the English Literature class, and the poem discussed was 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud', better known as 'Daffodils', by William Wordsworth.
“What’s in a name?”, said Shakespeare once famously. While the philosophical debate continues, I often ask people, “what does it mean!?”. In response comes a confused reply - “What do you mean?”. Yes, your name, it would have a meaning in your culture or language, right?
Societies can be individually or collectively oriented. During a discussion with drinks, we started talking about Albert Heijn, because this Dutch chain of supermarkets often is a topic of discussion. And why not: this is where the country sources its bread and butter, or cheese rather. So at a point I said with disdain: ‘AH decides what the majority of us students eat, based on the Bonus card’. To which my Dutch friend reacted: ‘So what is the problem? Didn’t your parents decide for you what to eat when you were younger?’ My reaction: ‘No, I could say what I wanted to eat.’ My friends’ reaction: ‘Nooo, you could say what you would like to eat and you would get it?’
I was always curious to why the Dutch are considered to be thrifty and in what ways they do it. Last week I was at the PechaKucha#18 talk at the Temporary Arts Center (TAC) and there were two talks that I would like to share with you.
I recently turned a year older (and hopefully wiser) here in the Netherlands. For all those who have spent a birthday in the Netherlands, may have been congratulated by their Dutch friends with a “Gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag!” or simply “Gefeliciteerd!”. For the uninitiated: this literally translates to “Congratulations on your birthday”.
Ever since my first time in the Netherlands I have been amazed at how the Dutch cuss when it rains. After two years here and of course many downpours, I still find rain romantic!