Tag Archives: immigrants

Table Manners

image: pinterest.com

image: pinterest.com

How do you eat a salad? How do you cut your steak?

In Holland, I learned to eat with knife and fork, the European way. Holding your knife in your right hand, in a certain way, and your fork in your left hand, in a certain way. The cutting or folding of leaves happens just so and you keep your knife an fork in your hands the whole time you’re eating. Not just with salads, anything that isn’t finger food. Continue reading

Left Is Scary and Other Hilarious Moments

image from buzzfeed.com

image from buzzfeed.com

One of the things that remind me regularly that I’m still an alien here is what makes me laugh. Continue reading

Simmering Down Now

232_edited-1Yesterday I just accepted all comments without replying to each one. I was venting, not looking for a conversation with people who have never been emigrants themselves. I thought I’d leave that for after I’d calmed down a bit.

Well, I’m calm now.


Like Old Faithful, I need to let off steam on a regular basis.

Like Old Faithful, I need to let off steam on a regular basis.

So, fellow immigrants from Western Europe, wherever you are, I have a question for you.

Most of us spend the majority of our time writing expatically correct—and in  my case Americally correct—posts, demonstrating how well we are adapting.

I’m no exception. With tongue in cheek, I can write a halfway funny piece about pretty much any random, absolutely unimportant quirky cultural difference. See  my The Gap post. Yeah, it’s not hard to make fun of American public toilets.

People love posts like this. Or posts in which we write about the personal growth we experience, thanks to being permanently outside our comfort zone, and how grateful we are for this growth. And we even manage to believe it. We are able to take a step back and look at our environment and ourselves in it from a distance and laugh. Or at least shrug our shoulders.

I do, anyway. Most of the time. Next time.



I had been asked to be a bridesmaid.

This was a big test: could I do it? Could I stand in a row with five American women, in front of a church congregation, without being the odd one out?

Yes. I would just have to do it. I would just have to forget my Dutch sense of individuality and put on a dress that I was ordered to wear – the exact same dress that five other women would be wearing – and walk for several hours in high-heeled shoes of someone else’s choice.

I would have to ‘have my hair done’ – in a style, at a time, and at a location determined by others – and I would have to ‘have my nails done’ with a polish that was handed out at the bridesmaids’ luncheon.