Almer S. Tigelaar

A Little Bit of Everything


The fuzz of you leaving is beginning to die down as the people back home become caught up again in their own lives: you’re here, they’re there. Thus, as is usual after a week or two, feelings of nostalgia set in: Why did I leave home in the first place? What am I really doing here?

The food doesn’t taste as good anymore, the streets start to look gray, rain pours down. The initial novelty and rush is starting to wear off and your emotional circuitry is kicking and screaming to get you back to your old environment including friends, family and roommates. As the Kaiser Chiefs sing: “Oh my god, I can’t believe, I’ve never been this far away from home!”

But, you know what: I think that’s kind of healthy. I’d be concerned if it weren’t this way, since what would that mean? That I’d have few or weak bonds with people back home, which apparently isn’t the case. Good. So, what now? You resort to other things for comfort. While walking through a huge grocery store you grab the things that you know and recognize: suddenly the Bertolli pasta sauce looks really good while it’s admittedly way overpriced both here and overseas. Never mind, you take it and hold the little (for American standards) glass container as if it was a precious child in need of protection.

What is this? Are this supposed to be fries? Where’s cheese soufflé, the vegetable croquette? I am tired of eating bagels, and: why put a hole in a perfectly decent piece of bread anyway? Help! Where are the Dutch crisp bakes? Where are the milk chocolate sprinkles? Where is the cheese? Aaah, oh wait, finally, yes: I’ve found a piece of Beemster mustard cheese. Way overpriced. In the Netherlands I would not even have looked at it, preferring other brands instead, but now I carry it home with a grip so tight and fascination so strong that it would make Gollum’s obsession with the ring seem normal.

Sometimes it just feels great to be and act really Dutch.

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