It took a while. Almost 10 years to be exact. But as of now, I am a small European countryman. Dutch, to be exact. Mind you that I avoid saying anything about the value of being Dutch. I’m not saying whether its good or bad, whether it makes me happy or sad, I’m just stating the bold fact that I’ve become Dutch (well, in addition to already being a Russian and an Israeli, of course).
What does it take to become Dutch? Surprisingly little, actually. Being Dutch is not about having the Dutch passport, wearing clogs or cheering to the Queen. I think its all about the habits, really. It occurs gradually, bit by bit, almost unnoticed. Until at some point the puzzle pieces fall into their place, the accumulated mass of quantitative change combines into a qualitative leap and WHAM! – you’re Dutch (or a butterfly, a dead person, a Doctor of Philosophy or whatever else, depending on what you’ve been and what kind of changes have been accumulating there).
My moment of qualitative leap happened last week, as I was cycling home from work through the first autumn storm. Suddenly it hit me – I was Dutch! I had too much in common with the other commuters battling the horizontal rain to deny it. I was going to be home in time for the 18:30 dinner. I was cycling through gale force gusts like it was the most common thing to do. I’ve had bread with cheese and milk (karnemelk, to be exact) for lunch. On weekends I was visiting my in-laws in Flevoland. On Mondays I was meeting my friends on in our usual bar, which has brown walls, a huge selection of beer and tables placed outside on a channel bank. And it was all so normal, so casual, so… regular. So Dutch.
Of course, its the seemingly simple things that take the most time and effort so I don’t want you to think becoming Dutch is no big deal. But it happens mostly on its own, and you should just ride the wave and try not to struggle too much against the changes, as they happen. And enjoy the ride, of course!