Having been in Maastricht for approximately a year now, with my departure hovering above me like a dark cloud, I find no better remedy for my sadness than humor (and some liquor to go with it). Now, in all seriousness its hard to picture how I will go on living without international nights, weekly chat/ quasi-therapy sessions at CES, runs around this gorgeous city and a million other things and people that have made my time here so incredibly superb. Weirdly enough life will go on and when I’m back I’ll surely ask myself how it managed to. In honor of all things Maastricht/ Dutch, I’ll write about 10 of those things about the Netherlands I’ll miss very much, and some of which I think I won’t miss (but probably will anyway…).
Things I will not be missing:
1.) Fighting with Cashiers: I don’t know how many times I tried to pay with a credit card (in credit card accepting locales) and had an unsettling little quarrel with the person at the cash register. They insisted I had to put it into the slot, I insisted I had to slide it… (If its credit, you a-l-w-a-y-s have to slide it, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!)
2.) Credit Abhorrence: I for one am a big fan of the debit concept. Don’t spend money you don’t have. It’s that simple. That being said, for the rest of the world’s irresponsible spenders, myself included, having to pay cash money up front all the time, well, lets say it was painful. Where did all my money go so fast…?
3.) Dutch Weather: Enough said.
Things I will be missing tremendously:
1.) XXX : No, not that kind of XXX! One of those things I love about the Dutch is that you can mostly count on the fact that at the end of every text you will get a few kisses. It doesn’t matter if its guy-to-guy, guy to girl, girl to girl, stranger to you, you will always feel appreciated even if your SMS reads “ok XX.” I also enjoy the fact that you greet with three kisses, lots of love to go around.
2.) Frat boy hair: I don’t know anyone who really agrees with me on this, except maybe for Dutch frat boys but I love their long hair styles. With gel or wax or cream or just au natural, boy will I be missing those long, stiff, slicked back manes.
3.) Dutch style: Yes, that too. Women wear blazers with dresses for daywear and chunky scarves and manage to look graceful and un-sweaty even in the hottest of days after the longest of bikes; guys wear button down or dress shirts and pointy shoes that could probably double as a stabbing device and just generally look ridiculously attractive and put together. When I wore a blazer once to mimic this flare my American friend said to me “what are you all dressed up for?” I’ll be dressing up for the miracle of life, thank you very much.
4.) After party cuisine: Now, perhaps the Dutch don’t have a reputation for their gourmet gastronomy but they sure provided enough after party deliciousness to keep me satiated after long nights out on the “town” (or even just during the day). From bitterballen to kebab and cheese, and most importantly beautifully crafted mayonnaise drenched fries, my after party meals will never measure up again.
5.) Football Fanfare: I am half- German and I bought an orange dress to support the Netherlands in football, probably to the dismay of all my countrymen and women, because it’s THAT contagious. I know the Dutch anthem, I ate the Dutch m&m’s, I drank the orange cool-aid. I was ludicrously close to buying an Oranje lion suit, but I didn’t wish to be exiled from Deutschland.
6.) Biking: A thrill for me of immeasurable proportions. Bikes terrified me upon arrival and I had nice little bruises to show for it. Now I can hop on and off and even bike hands with one hand (!). Not a big feat for Dutchies, but for me it’s a first-class accomplishment. Walking will from herein forth seem preposterous.
7.) Cantus/Fantastic Beer: I have plans to bring cantus to the US even if just for my last year there and I fear the worst, that they will not be able to appreciate the majesty of Cantus. It will be a via dolorosa to experience senior year without the thrills of drinking beer incessantly and singing in the process, without ad fundums and quality brew to go with it.
8.) Highlander/Falstaff/ Deli Belge/Something Good: Oh my sweet little havens of tranquility, peace and delight. What will be of me without those sandwiches, those Monday nights, that wine, those beer menus? I suspect something slightly skinnier, but also slightly unhappier.
9.) Carnival/ Queensday: A truly Dutch set of experiences, one time as a cat, the other in a city decked top to bottom in orange thrill. I thought I knew how to party… what did I know.
10.) Amsterdam: A city to love, a city to fall in love with, a city to fall in love in, a city that will love you back. As we say in Panama: Donde mueren las palabras.
Finally of course, the one thing I will miss the most is the people. Here comes the (Dutch) cheesy (ha!) bit of course: Everyone from CES, ESN, UNSA, class, and every Dutch or non-Dutch person that made Maastricht and the Netherlands so unbelievably magical. It didn’t start out so well for me, and next thing you know I’m like a teenager saying goodbye to her first love, convinced of the fact that no one else will ever do. That happened because of the entire ridiculous, amazing, crazy, silly, brilliant people I managed to see myself surrounded by. I don’t know if I will see you again or talk to you again but if I can say one thing it’s: “Dank je wel”. You made this adventure mean everything it does.
About the author:
My name is Marta Lucía and I am 21 years old. I have been living in Maastricht since August 2011. I was born in Panama and have lived there, in Germany, in the US and in the Netherlands, all of which I love. I study International Relations at Tufts University and hopefully will also complete a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership upon my return.
CES students are bright and eager personalities from all around the world who attend classes at all faculties of Maastricht University through the comprehensive CES programme of their choice. Programme topics range from ‘Business & Economics in Europe’, 'European Culture & Arts', 'Psychology & Neuroscience in Europe', 'EU Politics, Policy & International Relations', ‘European Society & History’ and 'European Law & Human Rights' amongst many others.