Saturday, May 2, 2015

Inside and Outside a DutchInLaw Life

This month some of my family are coming to visit (so exciting!), which means that I get to show them around my DutchInLaw life. It would be fascinating to introduce them to more DutchInLaws – foreigners married to Dutch spouses – because everyone has a different way of interacting with Dutch culture. This is mine.

There's the inside world: I drink tea, read and write, and take care of my little family.
There's the outside world: I bike around town, have coffee with friends, and take Pippin to the shops and the library.

Some of my family have visited before, and will enjoy the inside world more – we'll share quality time together while baking and holding the baby. We'll talk about funny Dutch words, discuss what they saw on the way to my house, and catch up on news of work and school. We'll recommend books, give hugs while cooking, and discuss current writing or editing projects. Faramir will make his delicious peanut sate sauce to go on patat (thick tasty french fries). We'll pass around a package of kaastengels (cheese straws) or speculaas (spice cookies), and talk about when my family used to make Christmas cookies for our neighbors in our Dutch village, years ago. "Remember? The first year they were suspicious, the second year they were grateful. The third year we were late and someone exclaimed, 'We thought you weren't going to make any for us!'"

Some of my family will want to explore my outside world, preferably with a camera, a bike, and/or multiple questions. There's the market that overflows with dozens of nationalities, the quaint cobblestone streets full of bikers, and the informal church where we meet with friends to be inspired and encouraged. There are old windmills to the west in Schiedam and new skyscrapers to the east in Rotterdam. My family and I will talk about favorite Dutch holidays, and discuss how Koninginnedag has given way to Koningsdag. We'll compare memories and new stories. "This park reminds me of Paris!" "This cathedral looks like the one in Krakow." "The shoarmas here taste like the ones in Dubai."

Of course, there will be some overlap. Everyone enjoys visiting IKEA to wander the displays and eat tasty food. The extroverts may raid my bookshelf, and the introverts may want to travel to see the flowers at Keukenhof. And we may visit with Faramir's family here; it makes me smile to see the mix of Dutch and English and warmth that happens when some of the most special people in my life meet up.

While I Skype often (almost daily) with family members, it's not the same as actually having them visit. I'm looking forward to sharing the inside and outside of life here....