Recently a Dutch TV station took a survey of Dutch people living in other countries. They were asked what they missed the most about not living in the Netherlands. I admit that I was pretty shocked by the results. Here are the top ten answers:

  1. Herring
  2. Kroketten-these are like croquettes, size of an eggroll
  3. Cheese
  4. Hema-this is a high end discount store
  5. Family and friends
  6. Cycling
  7. Dutch bread, cakes and biscuits
  8. Coziness of being with friends and family
  9. Sinterklaas
  10. Things to put on bread

Does anything disturb you about this list? There are people in this world that miss herring, fried tubular mystery roll (that really is delicious), cheese and a store (like a dinky Target) more than they miss family members or friends. Even if you hate your family, you must have friends you like and miss a little. You miss herring more than your best friend? Or cheese is more important than your sister?

I know Dutch people who would have answered this differently, so this is not to say that all Dutch people value a slippery, slimy fish more than their own mother and father. Maybe these results show how sentimental people become about the things they took for granted, like Dutch food. Or a Dutch bicycle.

If I could wiggle my nose and perform magic, I would have all my friends here with me. But that is a ridiculous scenario and it would be awfully complicated on so many levels. But I would want my friends more than Jif peanut butter. More than Bisquick and Ban deodorant. If any of my friends are reading this, this just shows you how much I love you. I love my friends more than herring…there, I have said it.

During this past holiday season I was getting sentimental. I had a tissue box near me whenever I watched TV. I heard Christmas music and I am time traveling to my sister and I sitting on the floor by the tree in our new pajamas, waiting for the signal to open the gifts. She and I would argue about who was going to open the  presents first…and now I wish I could have that argument again.

Being away from your familiar, at this time, is very hard. I am not going to sugar coat it, as I would be lying to say it is no big deal. It is. But I am now creating new rituals and that is not a bad thing. That does not mean that friendships have ended or that memories have faded away. But living in a new country gives me a chance to expand my view of the world and my life, and having said that, I can promise you that herring is not on the menu.

As I am writing this, our children are playing with a whoopee cushion that they got from Santa. I am typing to a concert of sounds that makes them hysterical with laughter.  This is my life now and it is a good thing.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Loree Griffin Burns  On January 6, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I miss you more than 100 Grand bars, Jane.


  • Jane Moore Houghton  On January 6, 2012 at 4:00 am

    You love me more than Jif!? Wow – now I need the tissues. 🙂 Loved this post dear friend. I wish you could wiggle your nose too and make me land in your land. I’d even eat herring. Happy 2012!! To you and yours xo

  • Aledys Ver  On January 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Definitely staying positive, Jane! Finding new people to love and share … a nice haringhapje with!!! 😀 (just kidding)
    You could order haring from your local visboer with your new favourite person in the NL, pick up the slug from the tail, open your mouth…. and when your new favourite Dutch person is not looking, just throw it away! 😀
    But then that would probably not be a very Dutch thing to do – be honest, be Dutch yourself, and just tell him/her you hate the very sight of it! 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: