11 August, 2011

Expat BlogHop - False Expectations

This week has flown by and it's already Thursday and time to post in Windmill Tales'
regular Expat BlogHop.  Here's this week's theme:

Before you moved to the country you are in now, whyat expectations, ideas (things you though happened, things people did, etc) did you have then, that proved to be not true at all?

I think that I was pretty clued up about the Netherlands before I moved here.  After all, I had been commuting backwards and forwards for a year before I made the jump.  I knew almost nobody wore clogs any more and that tulips are not actually Dutch (just ask the Turkish, they'll tell you) and that hardly anybody is any sort of drug user.  One thing I did believe however, was that Dutchies would be the same as Australians.  You know, easy going.

Ah, no.

In my years of tour guiding I had met (and loved) countless Dutchies.  In fact, if you ask any tour guide in Australia, almost every single one will tell you that Dutchies are THE BEST passengers to have on tour.  Flexible, fun loving, enjoy a drink, and have a get on with it mentality.  Just like most Australians.  So, I thought it would be a walk in the park and moving to the Netherlands would be just like coming home.

Except it wasn't.

Honestly, I was expecting to have myself a new Dutch BFF within three weeks of landing.  I was expecting to go out for Friday night drinks with my colleagues every week.  I’d be hosting regular dinner parties.  I didn't realise what a rude shock I was in for.  I'm still looking for my Dutch BFF three years later.  I've had drinks with colleagues only a few times, and always at organised events.  Making dinner plans is always such an ordeal.  

Having to make dinner plans a month in advance with friends is just not for me.  I refuse to believe that a person is so busy that the only free evening they have is a Tuesday in five weeks time.  Absolutely refuse to believe it.  Special events I can absolutely understand.  but a casual evening with a bowl of pasta?  Ah, no.

Don't for one moment think that this is an "Australians are better" post.  I'm not so naiive.  I realise that Australians can be so easy going that it's almost impossible to make a decent plan.  Traits that I was perfectly used to when I was living in Australia are now almost unbearable.  Waiting until you get somewhere to make a plan?  Changing your mind fifteen times before choosing a place to eat?  Behaving as though running a half hour late is ok and acceptable without a phone call?  No thanks.

Now I'm used to the differences and understand that I should not have based my expectations of a couple of hundred people on holiday.  Something interesting that I’ve noticed however:  many of my other lovepat friends met their husbands whilst on holiday and have also struggled to adapt here as the people are so different to what they expected.  So is it our fault that we have these expectations, or are the Dutch just so good at integrating into their location at any given time, they give a false expectation as to what it’s like at home?

Just sayin’...

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