Very concentrated I’m working on a new project when I suddenly jumped up at the loud banging on the door. I swear heavily in Dutch under my breath as I get up to open the door. I unlock the door; something I had to get used to, doors don’t fall automatically in a lock, you lock them.

I open the door and see three packages at my doorstep. In the distance, I hear the Amazon van driving away. I pick up the packages for my roommate, put them in front of his room, and try to get back to work. But the concentration has disappeared along with the Amazon van.

I really love it here in America. But I won’t lie, during the first month, I had to get used to the different culture and lifestyle compared to the Netherlands. The banging on the door was one thing. Every time there was another pounding on the door, my first thought was: GESTAPO!! It all sounds a bit more aggressive than a cheerful bell ringing.

Parcels are left in front of the door and remain there until the person comes home. My first thought is, why are those packages left lying around? Don’t they get stolen? But apparently, there is parcel respect among the neighbors and boxes remain untouched.

Working is going smoothly again and it’s time for lunch. While waiting for the kettle for a fresh cup of tea, I decide to eat a cracker. Bread is not part of my lunch anymore. I have tried all types and sizes of bread, but no, the smell alone makes me refrain from a delicious cheese sandwich. The first thing I will probably buy when I return to the Netherlands is a fresh loaf of bread. Until then, crackers it is!

After lunch, I clean up my plate and cup, and then I see it suddenly. I can pull out the water tap. For weeks I have been cursing the shower because the shower head is attached to the wall instead of being on a hose but the tap in the kitchen is extendable. With every shower, I miss the freedom of the Dutch showerhead with a hose that can go in all directions. Here they believe in a very tiny showerhead on the bathroom wall. Unlike the tap in the kitchen, which is attached to a hose and sprays in all directions with a force as if it were to extinguish an entire building. Why?

I already put my fresh cup of tea next to my laptop when I remember I still had some laundry to do. I open the enormous washing machine to put in the laundry. Even if I put all the laundry in, it’s not even a third full, the washing machines are that huge. “And this is only a small washing machine!” explains my roommate. If I want to take the laundry out, I have to dive so deep that my legs dangle somewhere above the ground. At home, I could sometimes grumble about how quickly my washing machine was full, but this is also a bit exaggerated.

Speaking of big, refrigerators are also a world of their own here with two doors that open and several huge drawers in different sizes for the freezer compartment. When we see several refrigerators on sale at Home Depot, I open the drawers and doors out of curiosity. In all my enthusiasm I shout: “Wow you can just fit a whole corpse in here!” Not something you should shout out loud in a Home Depot.

After three months I’m getting more and more used to living here. I’m afraid when I’m get back home, I’ll have to get used to the miniature fridge and washing machine again, but at least I’ll have fresh bread and a shower head on a hose again.

Either way, both sides have their advantages and disadvantages and it is just a matter of getting used to and adjusting.


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