Monday, May 31, 2010

A foreigner in Dutch society - feel free to comment.

"Why do you want to come here? Dutch society is generally hostile to outsiders. In the 10 years I've been here, I've seen the attitude go from apathy and self-absorption to open dislike (even hate) and cultural chauvinism. And, the level of service you got from the embassies is absolutely par for the course everywhere here - hospitals, schools, government agencies, banks. Laziness, apathy and a sense of entitlement are hallmarks of the society..."

---

This is part of a comment I received several months ago when I was still in the middle of my application to come to NL. The comment was written by a foreigner who says she's been living in NL for 10 years.

Now that I read it again, I understand what she means. Although I know some very nice Dutch people, I have encountered some 'bad seeds' from her description so far, which unfortunately seems to apply more to the female side of the country.

Apathy
Self-absorption
Cultural chauvinism
Sense of entitlement

Of course, I haven't met the majority of Dutch girls yet, but if out of 10, I see or experience that 3 behave in the manner above, that is already too many.

However, I'm still researching this, and I hope to prove myself wrong by meeting nicer people in the coming weeks through out-of-office classes, mutual friends and so on. I do know some very nice people, but it's hard to focus on the good when you experience some badness regularly.

If anyone has any comment or experience with more than one Dutch person in NL, I'm really open to hearing it to find out more about this.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When I hate everybody...

In recent weeks I've been increasingly annoyed by Dutch people and their (for the most part) selfish, individualistic attitudes.

But then I'm reminded via Twitter and Malaysian news sites, that Malaysians can also be very annoying.

And since I only have permission to stay in either one of these two countries, I came to the conclusion that living in NL is a better choice as I can always tell myself, "Dutch people are friggin annoying and I really hate them", keeping in mind that I only have to temporarily deal with them while I'm living here. And I can keep Malaysia as some sort of paradise of homeliness and delicious food.

But if I lived in Malaysia, there's no similar thought that can console me and I'd have to be subjected to their idiocy and annoying habits.

A broken heater is not what you want in NL

On my way to work now from Schrobbenmaster's parents' house in Hoorn. It's nice to be driven to work finally, now that Schrobbenmaster has his driving license.

We spent the night at Hoorn because for the past few days, we've been struggling with no main heater in the house. It was on the blink for a while and we had to keep resetting it, and finally when the guy arrived to fix it, it actually broke down completely a few hours later. Doesn't that always happen? Better not to call anyone to fix it!

So we were pretty much living in the Dark Ages for the past 5 days, boiling water and mixing it with cold water in a tub and splashing ourselves to shower. And washing our hair every other day over the sink in freezing cold water. Brainfreeze several times over!

And we still don't have any idea when the official heater guys in a van will call us up to make an appointment.

But first things first, it's time to face another day at the office. Armour and shields, on!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pim and I miss Schrobbenmaster

At the risk of sounding unusually mushy, I miss Schrobbenmaster tonight :( He left earlier this afternoon to film a gaming event in Belgium that he'd made a commercial for. See commercial below. The home is just so quiet (even with music on). Pim goes missing and appears at different times... cats just aren't the same kind of company as dogs.



Anyways...

Before we go on to other events, here are some random photos of daily life.


The parking spaces around our home are so friggin narrow. We drive a small car but look at how much space we have on the left and right! It's no wonder there are so few large luxury cars here, unlike KL, where every car which is not a MyVi is a huge SL class Benz or BMW X5.


Schrobbenmaster walking back to the car after getting a ticket at the blue P down the road behind him. I miss him :(


Pim in one of his explorer modes. He gets a little braver every day, even clambering up onto our coffee/dining table a few times one evening after getting scolded each time.


Where's Pim?? I think this was early on when he moved in with us and was still searching for places to hide from us.


These are really nice photos of Pim. Clear and sharp. Also during the early days when he used to wait for us on top of the kitchen counter. He doesn't do that now, ever since he found that sleeping under the bed is nicer.

I'm getting kinda tired now and should really curl up in bed with my book instead of cramping up in front of the computer. Gonna bring my little Tivoli PAL with me to keep me company, since I doubt Pim is gonna be very entertaining tonight.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Visiting the windmills

In Dutch, windmill is windmolen and miller is molenaar.

That's your Dutch lesson of the day!

Schrobbenmaster's parents took us to see the windmills at Schermer the day after their garage sale (and the day after we were playing with our Crocs in the garden). On the way, I snapped photos of the tulips living their short lives in the fields.


It was a really nice day, not too freezing, but as usual, not sunny either. Most of these photos have actually been Photoshopped to make them look less gloomy. Bleh.

However, it really was a nice day by Dutch standards, and judging by the number of people and groups out doing their group activities, we weren't the only ones enjoying the day.


These people were the first of the group activities we saw. I think we saw two or three more groups of riders throughout the afternoon. And after that we saw a whole convoy of about 30 classic vintage cars travelling on a small road in a row. And then we saw a bevy of Porsches and Ferraris parked in a small town called De Pijp, a rich little town near Hoorn. They were apparently gathering for some middle-aged rich people's meeting.

Anyway, back to the windmill...


I think there are 4 in a row, in this section. One of which the miller actually lives in.


We went in to pay our entrance fee and give the customary lookaround the souvenir shop. Then a short movie on the history of windmills and how they work. Nicely done, very brief and stopped before it became boring.

And outside to the actual windmill.


Okay, first to the toilet outside the windmill.


And then some social chatting with the miller.


So I tinkered around with my camera, keeping myself occupied.


The miller was actually wearing clogs at work. Not these fancy ones, but huge (his hands and feet are huuuuge) dirty green plain clogs.

Then finally inside the working windmill (this is not the miller's home, btw).


How could they fit in there?!


And then up, up and up!


Getting a personal tour from the miller. As I couldn't understand him, I just busied myself taking pictures and trying to figure out how it works myself.


Fat from the pigs is used to grease the wheels.



From outside the shop on the other side.

Then we drove to another town to look for some lunch. Ended up in an old whaling town called De Pijp. The early whaling industry did a lot of help to this town, making it very rich. You could tell how rich a town was by if it had a town hall and compare it with the number of inhabitants in the town.


Found a nice restaurant, looked quite swish. There was no place outside so we sat inside. If there's one thing the Dutch can be counted on, it's to sit outside and eat. Even when it started drizzling, only two women got up to move inside. Everyone else kept their asses sat down and challenged the sky.


I hadn't had prawns for so long that I just gave in to ordering this weird concoction. Was really yummy, but I could hardly finish it. Thank God for Schrobbenmaster's expandable tummy and Moeder Irma not liking waste :P


Schrobbenmaster's lunch looked really appetising as well. Mmm, fried egg!

On our way back, we looked at some farm animals.


I only always got their butts in the photo because they were trying to get away from us.


We drove by another field and we saw the adorable sight of a mother horse teaching her foal to walk and run. So sweeeeeet!


Animals are so great!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Magic Mouse, TomTom and old photos of work

Yo, peeps, my first blog post with my first wireless mouse attached... the Magic Mouse! Hehehe... I'm such a geek sometimes. I don't think I've ever bought an Apple mouse. Always used the ones provided with the desktop or given to me by others. So it's kind of an achievement for me. Just like I bought my first television last year with my own money :P only thing is, it's now back in KL and I only used it for around 5 months :(

Anyways, I planned for this Sunday to be a homey one, baking chocolate chip cookies and playing Red Alert 3 with Schrobbenmaster, but in the end, we woke up too late, and then I Skyped with Dad and the family, and later got invited out for coffee with Schrobbenmaster's friends. After coffee, we headed to Dixons, where I bought my Magic Mouse and Schrobbenmaster bought a TomTom. I'm still getting used to the movement and ergonomics of this mouse, but well, I spent a friggin €63 (after 10% discount) on it, so I'm bloody well gonna make myself feel comfortable using it!

Here are some pictures of my first day travelling to work. Had to take the train to Amsterdam in the morning, and after work, we took the company car home and we've been using it ever since. I don't miss using the train and walking in the cold every day.


Waiting for the metro to arrive at Sloterdijk, to take us to the stop closest to work.


And the following photos are my view from where I sit in the office.


I sit right next to the window, and when the sun streams in, it hits my back and my feet, which are awesome places to receive heat :P I can't imagine what it'll be like during winter, but thankfully, I see a heater there under the window, so I think I'll be alright.


Was cold in the afternoon so decided to have a bit of soup and some bread to warm me up. Was pretty yummy tomato soup too.

After work, we decided to swing by the Korean takeaway for a bit of a celebration meal.


My side mirror view while waiting in the car for Schrobbenmaster to get the food. Because we didn't have enough money on the card to pay for parking.


The Korean place is called Gamasot, right at the corner with the red things on the windows. It's absolutely delicious and I'm so happy it's walking distance from our place, plus really affordable for such good food.


And that's me, driving on the left side of the car, on the right side of the road. It's not so confusing inside the car itself, but taking intersections and crossings is extremely confusing when you're so used to driving on the other side of the road. Trust me.

We drive a little Toyota IQ which is really quite a nice car. It's as wide as a medium-sized car, but is almost as wide as it is long. Meaning it's a rather square car. Very weird but very cute. And a lot of fun to drive. Makes it easier to park in this country of little, narrow parking spaces too.

Now I gotta hang up the laundry, but stay tuned for the next post of a windmill tour!