When I arrived in England I didn’t really feel any culture shock. I was in absolute awe of all the beautiful buildings and lovely accents but nothing was especially shocking. Now I’m in Holland. Being in Holland for two days has been a much bigger culture shock than my entire five weeks in England. I am staying with my friend Krista’s mom’s cousin and her husband. They have a nice little house that is built extremely vertically. It has three levels but they’re square footage is pretty small. It has no yard besides a little patio with fancy plants everywhere and a little bar under an awning. This seems to be a common setup for houses here in Holland. Rita and Arion (the couple my friend and I are staying with) speak Dutch, English, and German fluently. They live in Losser where mostly everyone speaks Dutch to each other but they also know English.
Our first day we arrived in Amsterdam, and drove two hours to Losser. They showed us our room and we unpacked. After, Rita and Arion poured us some white wine and we sat down and talked. Soon, some of their family showed up. Rita and Arion’s son and daughter showed up who are in their 20’s. The daughter had brought her boyfriend as well. Rita’s sister came next with her two sons aged 28 and 24. Soon another knock was heard and in came Rita’s mom. The room was full of Dutch and laughter. In about an hour we pulled on our coats to go drive to Lutscher Alm the restaurant we had dinner reservations at.
Lutscher Alm was a steakhouse about a ten minute drive from their house. It was a large establishment and the staff all wore traditional “Beer Fest” garb if you’ve seen that movie. The younger people in our group all knew the wait staff and hollered and laughed with them when we walked in. The waitress- a pretty girl about 23 with long blonde pin-curls, asked me what I wanted to drink in Dutch. One of the boys named Maurice answered for me. It turns out he got me some kind of beer. Dinner was an all night affair at Lutscher Alm. We got there at 4:45 and didn’t leave till around 9:00! Every beer we drank another was set in front of us! I don’t know how they weren’t drunk by the time the appetizers came! There was bread with this AMAZING garlic sauce, and a couple other sauces. Chips, and potato wedges with dip came next. With all the breads and beer I was getting full and the main course still hadn’t arrived. I ordered “Farrell” for dinner which I was told was some kind of fish. It finally came out and it smelled so good. It was breaded and fried served on a bed of steamed spinach. It was certainly the best fish I’ve ever tasted. After dinner I was so full I couldn’t move and my friend Krista and I both agreed we were feeling a little buzzed.
Suddenly, an accordion started playing and the wait staff started dancing in their costumes. Was I dreaming?! A lady wearing traditional dress carrying a flaming cake came dancing out of the kitchen. “For Krista and Emma, the American girls!” was called out on the loudspeaker and the flaming cake danced towards us. It was made of ice cream and covered in every kind of fruit imaginable. I was laughing so hard I thought I might pee. I have never felt so special in my entire life. Everyone was laughing and having a good time and we began to eat the cake. It was certainly the best ice cream I’ve had in a while.
Afterwards, our entire group went back to Rita and rion’s for more drinks and socializing. My first day in Holland was amazing.