“What’s it like over there?” “What kind of food do you eat?” “What are the people like?” “What sports do they play?” As you can imagine, when chatting with friends and family back home (love and miss you guys!), I get a lot of questions. So, every now and then, I thought it would be fun to share differences – minor and major… and some just plain alien. First up – the grocery store!
Grocery shopping is a little different in the Netherlands… Ok, a lot different and definitely took some getting used to. Anytime I went to Whole Foods, Super Target, or Super Wal-Mart (I miss you all) in the US, I would pack my truck full of goodies (at least two week’s worth), as I loathe the grocery store and tried making visits as infrequent as possible. Well, not the case here. My every-two-week visit is now every two days (sometimes everyday), since my baby Expo was traded in for my own two legs, amongst other soon-to-be discussed reasons.
Well guys, let’s go grocery shopping – Dutch style!
1. Never leave home without your already-paid-for shopping bag – or else be prepared to buy a new one (or stuff your buys in your purse – I might have done this a few times).
2. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about getting the “broken wheel buggie” (you guys know what I’m talking about!), because your buggie is now a basket. So, make every item you place in your basket count, as things tend to get a little heavy.
*The larger stores do have buggies.
3. Come mentally prepared and focused, as everything is in Dutch – thankfully, there’s a convenient ‘Translate’ app available for download on all smart phones.
4. Work those muscles! Things getting heavy yet?
5. Tell yourself to just walk away…
6. The Coca-Cola selection consists of Coca-Cola, Cola Light (aka Diet Coke), Coke Zero and Dr. Pepper… Consider yourself lucky if you find a Mt. Dew or Vanilla Coke. Speaking of, will someone please mail me a Diet Dr. Pepper (in a can)? I will love you forever.
6a. I wonder if I’m the only person who browses through the Coke bottles for names I know… Super excited I finally get to, “Share a Coke Zero with Joost!”
7. Time to check-out! While the cashier is swiping your buys, you must also get to work and bag, bag, bag (during my first trip, I might have waited for someone to pack my things… and yeah, they never came). Also, you must be quick, because as soon as you pay, the next person’s things begin coming your way – who knew the grocery store could be so intense.
8. Time to walk (or bike) home!
9. Invite your “Cola friend” over for dinner and, “eet smakelijk!”
Until next time – tot ziens!
XX – Whitney