Thursday, August 28, 2008

So I'm going to the Netherlands...

After a lot of talk about wanting to live in Europe, things finally are falling into place, and I have a new job to take me and my wife to the Netherlands. Why the Netherlands? Well, for an American who doesn't speak a second language (not counting my classroom Spanish), the Netherlands is relatively easy: EVERYONE speaks English there, and they're humblingly accomodating to someone who has no idea about Dutch besides "spreekt u Engels?" (Do you speak English?) Plus, the job is with Philips, which is not only an amazing company, but one whose official language is indeed my mother tongue. Plus, the Dutch have nice arrangements with the USA for practical details like Social Security, and they make residence & work permits available for someone with technical education and skills. Plus, the Netherlands is full of bicycles and trains and compact, efficient cities. Plus, importantly for my tendency to travel, it is very well-connected to the rest of Europe!

This being the inaugural post of Living Dutchly, I should perhaps expound on my subtitle, "An American's Foray into Dutch Culture." I'm moving to the Netherlands because I want to experience it. I'd like to live, well, Dutchly, at least for a while. I expect to be thrilled, enlightened, confused, and occasionally annoyed with the nuances of Dutch culture, given my longtime familiarity with the details of American culture (both as a participant, read: pie eating; and as an observer, read: NASCAR). I hope to dive in to bicycle commuting, gray skies, tulip fields, and bier (yes, beer), and to explore places, people, and things I haven't discovered yet. Hopefully, through this blog, I can convey some of my experiences to the wired world, or, at the very least, record them for my own memory's sake.