There it is folks. The Laundro-Flat. Sometimes for a bit of variety, I move the ironing board to the other power point across the room. It confused Mills when he gets home - keeps him on his toes.
This weekend, I met up with Nix - another South African who has been living in Utrecht for three years now. Having gone to high school and varsity together, we were enthusiastic in our reunion. Unfortunately, she is accustomed to the Dutch 'three-kisses-starting-on-the-right-cheek' greetings, while I am still accustomed to the South African 'lean-and-clinch-hug' greetings. The headbutt was awkward, but we got over it.
We met up with Mills and a colleague of his. James is from Manchester and is marginally younger than us. I mention this because the poor boy was traumatised by Nix and I dominating the conversation at dinner... Nix is dating a 40-year-old and quite a few of my friends are getting married this year, so we were mostly discussing marriage and the prospect of friends having children. I don't think I'll be seeing much of James again. In fact, I think he pities Mills, because - apparently - all his newly-expatted girlfriend talks about is weddings and offspring. The thing is, I knew we were banging on about it, but I couldn't stop. It wasn't like were discussing the virtues of nuptials and breeding - quite the opposite. I just couldn't change the subject. Anywho. Letting that go.
Another topic of discussion was "is Afrikaans really that similar to Dutch?" The answer - no. It's really not. Sure some words are vaguely similar, but the sentence structure is completely different. Het in Afrikaans, depicts past tense. Het in Dutch, means the. Although De can also mean the. It depends on the noun it refers to - common or neuter. On the other hand, Die in Afrikaans means the. Die in Dutch means this or those. You keeping up?
One awesome conversation went something like this... we were discussing words seen in shopping markets (desperately trying not to mention children or matrimonials):
Nix: "Kuiker is kitchen in Dutch."
Me: "Oh, is it? That explains a lot. I thought kuiker was Dutch for chicken..."
Nix: "No, why would you think that?"
Me: "I thought those pots were specific to cooking chicken or something."
Nix: "Why? What's chicken in Afrikaans? I've been out of SA for too long, I don't remember Afrikaans!"
Me: "Chicken is kuiken. "
Nix: "Oh no, chicken is kip in Dutch."
Me: "Oh, I thought kip was fish."
Nix: "Why'd you think that?"
Me: "Because a kipper is a fish."
Besides chasing away my Boyfriend's work colleagues and headbutting old friends, I've mostly been strolling around our area. There are lots of parks and green areas - which are mostly just bare trees and dead leaves at this time of year. A running joke between Mills and myself is to stare at a particularly grey area and point out, "I'm sure it's lovely in summer..." After which we slap our knees and wipe our faces clear of the tears of mirth streaming down our cheeks.
One thing we've noticed is that we have an inordinately high amount of hairdressers in our area. Literally, about 10 just in our area. On the subject of hair... This is the reason why they were no pictures of me up on this blog. It rains every day in the Netherlands. Not all day, but every day. This means that there is always enough moisture in the air to keep my hair standing on end like Medusa and her multitude of thirsty snakes on her head. Just for good measure, the wind also kicks up and keeps my hair standing to full attention, making sure that even when I try to tie up this unruly mop, there is always at least 35% of my over-all cranial hair floating around my face at any given stage.
Haagse Bos - the forest directly behind our LaundroFlat. I'm sure it'll be nice in summer... right now it just looks like a setting out of The Blair Witch Project.