A letter to my Sharpie markers

Dear Sharpie markers,

Every time I open your colourful lid, your penetrating odor reaches my nostrils. The result is a near-being-high experience, no drugs needed. Despite this smell, I still love you to death. Not because of the beautiful colours that fill my paper once I glide the tip over it, not because of how nice they are to hold, no, because every single last aspect of you is perfect, well, except one tiny little thing…

Why do you bleed through everything I love? When I’m casually using you on a piece of paper, mindlessly drawing and not taking any precautions, such as putting several other paper scraps underneath to prevent you from bleeding onto our dining table (sorry mom). It really seems as if bleeding through is your hobby, or as I’d like to say it:it seems as if you are experiencing terrible period pains and tend to experience these mood swings by bleeding through.

This brings me to my second point of complaint. You guys love, and I mean really love, to abuse my lovely piece of paper. What did that sad little paper do wrong? Nothing, I guess. But as if you are the schoolbully, you tend to leave a path of destruction behind every time I’m not fast enough to lift you off the page again. Look what you’ve done, this is probably why all of my paper has trust issues.

Oh, lovely sharpies, I really love you all to death. I’ve been using you at least once a day since I got you last december and I really don’t plan on breaking my habit anytime soon. I admit, I love to complain about you, to whine and to freak out whenever a new colourful spot is added to our already ruined table, but deep down inside of me, I love you.

Love,

Pamela

P.S does anyone know how to remove sharpie permanent markers from a wooden table?

The perks of being Dutch

‘Wait, what country do you live in again?’
Ah, The Netherlands: a beautiful country in western Europe, known for many things: canals, flowers and being as flat as a pancake.
Living in a country like this has its perks, but I doubt that foreigners know them all, so that’s why I’ve tried to compile a list with some of them:

1. Climate change
If the sea level rises just a little bit more thanks to the wonderful thing called climate change, one thing’s for sure: we are so, so, so screwed. A big part of our country is below sea level and, surprise, that part is the most densely populated. Oh well, I hope everyone’s swimming skills are up to date…

2. Bikes
17 million people, 23 million bikes. Wait, what? No, that wasn’t a typo, it’s true! We Dutch people have mastered the skill of gracefully cycling in the pouring rain while balancing a screaming child and two heavy grocery bags on our handlebar quite well over the years. Tourists always seem amazed by these circus-like scenes and are often eager to try it as well. Sadly, cycling in the city centre of Amsterdam when you’ve never even touched a bike seems more like a suicide attempt than a fun thing to do. Every time when I try to make my way through the city centre, I come across dozens of flocks of scared tourists whose faces shows nothing but fear.
Pamela’s pro-tip of the day for tourists: the tram is your enemy and when you hear its bell it means that you have exactly 3 seconds to move out of the way  before you’ll be as flat as our country.

3. ‘Hagelslag’
Chocolate sprinkles on toast. Sounds weird, right? What’s even weirder is that pretty much everyone eats it. Yes, even grown ups. Do you want chocolate sprinkles? We have it. Fruit flavored sprinkles? We got you covered. Licorice flavor? We’ll proudly pass it on. Conclusion: we Dutch people love our sprinkles

4. Weed
Soft drugs are legal here and, when you’re walking through certain parts of Amsterdam, you’ll be amazed by the number of coffeeshops (don’t get these confused with coffee bars where you can actually buy coffee) and stoned tourists you’ll encounter. However, it’s a myth that all Dutch people are stoners. Just because we have unlimited access doesn’t mean we’re high 24/7, well, maybe some are.

5. We have the best swear words
Smeerlap, afgelikte boterham, doos, flapdrol, klerezooi. The list goes on and on… The Dutch are pretty creative when it comes to their swear words. Period.

6. Birthday calendars in the smallest room
In the digital age, lots of people scroll through their Smartphone when visiting the smallest room. We Dutch people however, look at our calendar. Yes, pretty much every home has a calendar with birthdays hanging in there. So, when you’re taking your time, look at the birthdays and figure out you just forgot your mother-in-laws’ birthday, that’s a perfect time to yell ‘shit’ .

Ah, the Netherlands. Lovely country, right?

Explaining Kingsday to foreigners

If you’re visiting The Netherlands, and in particular Amsterdam, on April 27th, I have one thing to say: I’m sorry.

Kingsday is, obviously, a day where we celebrate our king’s birthday. No, not in the casual and boring way, but in the ‘We’re Dutch so we’ll do weird things’-way. The streets are crowded with people dressed in orange, a colour no one dares to wear on any other day of the year. As sardines in a can, you’ll get the whole ‘take-it-slow-experience’ as you’ll need 1.5 hours to walk 500 meters, strolling around, looking at stuff.

When I say ‘stuff’, I mean the flea markets on the streets. If you’re interested in, say, buying someone else’s toilet seat, I’m not kidding, you can get it for a few bucks. Camera’s, clothes, toys… You name it, you can buy it. People go really bonkers when it comes to this. The people who sell their stuff often mark their spots days in advance and make sure they’ve arrived way before sunrise.

I’d like to wake up at a not-so ungodly hour, like 3 am, on kingsday. No, I’d rather roll out of bed at 7:30 or 8:00 to hang our flag outside. Wait, a flag? No, it’s not typical for Dutch people to hang their flags outside, we basically only do it on this day. Rows upon rows of red white and blue. Don’t be scared, we’re normally not that nationalistic at all.

When the afternoon starts to fade into the evening, the festivals are coming to a close and people start making their way to the bars. Like a herd of sheep, you’ll witness thousands of people trying to get into trains and busses. Normally we Dutch are polite when it comes to public transport, but if you’re tourist and you’ll have to take the bus, I’d advice you to rather walk on this day, since I don’t think you’ll enjoy the smell of rude, sweaty people and alcohol.

Oh, kingsday really is a weird day, but what may be even weirder is that no one ever talks about kingsday when it’s not kingsday. It never happened, it really never happened, well, until a year later of course when the whole party starts again.