Posted by: patriciamar | January 7, 2009

With Dutch comes perspective

I am currently learning Dutch.  Five hours per day, five hours per week, for four weeks at a price so high that I will not even post it on the internet, lest my friends and family see how much I paid for it and become bitter about the quality of their Christmas presents.  I have found that with Dutch comes a new perspective on life.  Having lived in the Netherlands for only six months, I know a few things, and have noticed differences, but it is not until you really start to learn the language and the vocabulary that you begin to understand exactly what is encompassed in “being Dutch.”

The first word that anyone should know is obviously, gezellig.  When translating, try as you wish, but this word does not have any single meaning.  I would argue that roughly speaking, it means cozy, close, or pleasing, yet, I am still far from understanding exactly what it means to be gezellig.  Below I have comprised a list of things that are gezellig, most of which come from real Dutch people (as opposed to imaginary, or Dutch people that live in Southern Minnesota and Northwest Iowa.  This list is obviously far from all-inclusive, but should give a snippet of understanding of the word.

1.  going to Amsterdam with your mother

2.  a meeting at a table that is too small

3.  a blazing fire

4.  a Dutch bar

5.  an outfit (as of now, I am unable to describe what such an outfit would look like, I will continue to investigate this example)

6.  a party (most likely on the fifth floor of a building that is not up to fire code)

7.  small and overpriced student apartments

8.  knick-knacks

9.  an abundance of shiny Christmas balls hanging from the ceiling of a pub

10.  riding a small elevator with four people and two bikes

The following is a list of things about which I often wonder the level of gezelligness.

1.  slippers

2.  a good book

3.  Dutch bathrooms

4.  kissing

5.  hugging

6.  an all-nighter of paper writing

7.  dying in a fire on a fifth floor of a building (with friends of course)

8.  a traditional Dutch song (e.g. Kedeng Kedeng)

9.  a book that makes fun of the dutch and their ways (e.g. Undutchables)

10.  how the dutch always use “e.g.”

This being said, I wish you all a gezellig January.

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