Today it’s twenty-five years ago that I emigrated from the Netherlands to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, USA. And for the last twelve years my family and I have been living in Austin, central Texas. So it’s time to make a list of ways I have changed, living here, and, to be fair, by and simply by being a quarter of a century older.
- I often eat with one elbow on the table.
- I have learned to whoop like the best at concerts.
- I have lost interest in fashion.
- I think and dream in English.
- I no longer walk, cycle and take the train or bus everywhere, so I’ve gained about 70 pounds.
- I eat more healthfully, overall, because I’ve become more conscious about saturated fat and empty calories. (The memory of rookworst no longer makes my mouth water.)
- I can spot a bullshitter from a mile away.
- I put off going to specialists and the dentist, because it costs an arm and a leg.
- The mention of “health insurance company” drives my blood pressure up to dangerous levels.
- I gave up taking my own grocery bag to the supermarket, and I have a hard time remembering to now that it’s finally a thing here.
- I have learned to like (diet) Coke.
- I say Howdy and y’all.
- I have a dog and multiple cats (instead of just one cat) and I’ve become quite find of T’s horse.
- I don’t keep our home perfectly clean and organized (because none of the others in my family do, so I gave up).
- I eat out several times a week.
- I’ve become more politically outspoken while at the same time being more careful how I word things. (Yes, I was worse before!)
- I love long road trips.
- I read a lot less and I hardly ever put on music at home.
- I don’t garden anymore; in fact, I hardly spend any time in our huge yard at all (too hot).
- I seldom drink hot tea.
Nevertheless, I still feel 100% Dutch. Being an immigrant here is a permanent part of my identity. It gets easier, but it never goes away.
As an emigrant too (an Irish one) I loved reading this. It is amazing the things we adopt and the things we are aware of missing and his identity and connection can tie us in so many ways to our old homes and new. What made you leave, if you don’t mind me asking? 🙂
My now husband. He wanted to start his own business (the American dream), and since he only spoke two languages (English and Spanish), the economy wasn’t great and he would have a heard time getting into the culture in the Netherlands, I came to the States instead. It was supposed to be temporary, for at the most ten years. And here we are. At least we moved to Austin, which is a step up from the Rio Grande Valley, both in climate and things to do. Thanks for reading!
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Congratulations on surviving and thriving (?) for a quarter century!
Happy 25th! We should celebrate somewhere so you can tell us more stories.