As an expat / foreigner living in the land of cheese and clogs (Netherlands), here are a few insights into what it takes not to stick out like a sore thumb amongst the DTW (Dutch Tribal Wives) here.
- Always be prepared for visitors. Even if you aren't expecting any. That means having a little supply of cakes, chocolates, cookies stashed away at all times just in case someone should stop by. You will always look completely organised and the perfect hostess. I have of course failed miserably at this one. Any cakes, chocolates, cookies that I may have harboured for lovely visitors don't last long enough (they keep calling to me 'eat me, eat me'). So out come the good old Digestives once again.
- As a DTW it is extremely important to always have a completely bare tidy living room (or room that is viewed through the front window of their home). Not one thing on the table or floor. No untidy piles of magazines, scattered toys, half-eaten breakfasts, last nights wine glass etc should be seen. How on earth this is accomplished is beyond me. I'm sure every other Dutch home must have a secret trap door in the floor to shove everything in before they dare to open the curtains / blinds in the morning.
- The front window at home should ALWAYS display a pair of something. Never will you see a DTW display one vase, one ornament, one candle - that would be just wrong. You can read a very funny article written by someone I know for a local online newpaper here.
- Without a shadow of a doubt the DTWs must each own at least 10 pairs of boots. I have never seen so many styles for sale (and I've looked in my fair share of shoes shops I can assure you). Every conceivable style possible. Summer boots too of course. I'm actually doing pretty well in this dept - current count 4 pairs - and that's without looking for the autumn / winter this year.
- DTWs buy their family's weight in bread every week. Bread in all its shapes and forms piled into the shopping trolleys. Bags of rolls, buns, baguettes, melk bread, currant bread - bread in ever conceivable shape. But more often than not pre-sliced.
- It goes without saying that all DTWs ride a bike. If you are planning on moving here and haven't cycled since you were a child, you had better start practising now, otherwise you may as well stay home.
- A complexion that will go well with the colour orange. On all international sporting occassions (or royal birthdays, weddings, births etc) the DTWs (and everyone else actually) love to wear orange. Often head to toe. You may recall the group of Dutch ladies at this years Fifa Football World Cup who were arrested for advertising an unofficial brewery by wearing the Dutchy orange mini-dress to matches. Prepare to be Tango'd!
PSS - All above slightly tongue in cheek of course.
For more Tribal Wife tips from around the world (should you be relocating any time soon), take a peek at these blogs.
The Missy M Missives
London City Mum
Paris Ankara Express
Notes from Lapland
If you'd like to join in and pass on some advice and tips on how to fit in with the locals in your part of the world, please link me in.