Okay, that’s a complete lie. I’m not poor or anything. In fact, I continue to argue with Dutch people about how their definition of ‘poor’ isn’t correct because having health care, a place to live, food to eat, and being able to go on vacation isn’t poor. And there I go – off on a tangent again. (FYI: It’s nice out here in tangent land. There’s a purple sky and everything.) What am I really talking about? I am referring to the fact that living in the Netherlands – a country where I speak the language and nearly everyone speaks English – is resulting in my disposable income disappearing faster than a piece of chocolate cake at a birthday party.
Here’s my proof that living in the The Netherlands is way expensive.
Books, books, books. My life is all about books – reading them, writing them, smelling them, and sometimes just holding them to cop a feel. Not only does every bookstore in the Netherlands have an English section (as well as French and other romance languages), the little kiosks always have English magazines and newspapers as well as English paperbacks of the current bestsellers. As if that weren’t enough to stretch my pocketbook, The Hague also has an American Bookstore chock-full of English books and a used book section. They should have never put those chairs in the used book section. I never want to leave!
Television. The Dutch only dub kiddie shows. All the American sitcoms and drama series are in the original language with Dutch subtitling. Even better? I can read Dutch so I can also watch the German krimis and French movies without taxing my limited vocabulary in those languages. All of this resulted in me getting an expensive television packet to make sure I got all of the good channels and had a huge hard drive to record tons of shows. I should probably be embarrassed over my excitement on having Discovery Science and the Travel Channel, but I’m not.
Social Life. Being totally honest here, I didn’t have much of a social life in Turkey. My hubby worked a ton of weird hours and getting around in the huge city was a pain in the butt for Turks and foreigners alike. You haven’t experienced traffic until it takes you three hours to drive 40 kilometers in the middle of the night. So now I’m living in a country where the beer is a reasonable price (in comparison with Istanbul), but I’m still spending more money because I can walk outside my door and be in the city center in twenty minutes – less if I take the bus (which – get this – comes when it’s supposed to).
Expats. I’m not an expat. Not really. My husband is Dutch, I have a Dutch passport, and we plan on settling here for the rest of our lives or until I …er… we get jumpy feet – whatever comes first. That doesn’t mean I’m not involved with the expat community. Living in a city like The Hague, which is filled to the gills with foreigners, it’s hard to avoid the expat community. And, let’s face it, it’s easy to make friends with the expat community. But there’s one big problem with the expat community – money. Expats have a better than average income to put it mildly, which means a lot of their activities are kind of pricey. And then there are the philanthropic activities. Apparently, expats do not adhere to the proverb – You can’t help everyone.
There you have it! Living in the Netherlands is expensive. And totally awesome. Don’t forget that part.