I now realise that I never really took the time to think about what to expect as an expat in the Netherlands.
After all, I was hopping over the North Sea, not relocating to the other side of the world. Dutch food is nothing to write home about; in fact, many people couldn’t tell you what constitutes traditional Dutch food with a gun held to their head.
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The Dutch know how to have fun on a national scale, without resorting to a drunken, violent orange mass.
New Year, however, is one party the Dutch do manage to ruin.
The Dutch themselves are decorated from head to toe in orange too and the fun is good-natured and in abundance.
I had not climbed on a two-wheeler for over a decade, so I provided plenty of entertainment for the cycle shop owner who was unable to hold his laughter at my shaky and potentially life-threatening test drive.
When my partner explained to him that it had been a long time since my behind had met with a bike saddle, there was an audible gasp. The politeness and stiff upper lip of the British are alien traits to the Dutch, who have no qualms telling it as it is.
If I had been moving to another continent, I would have left the shores of England armed with the knowledge that my life was going to change in many ways.
However, I had no warning that life in the Netherlands would mean adapting in so many little ways: like developing thick skin, owning a collection of orange hats and mastering the art of ducking and diving on New Year’s Eve.