Thursday, October 15, 2015

Culture Shock - "It's Not Possible"

"It's Not Possible" - we heard that once a day when we first arrived.  And we still hear it a lot....but we've learned to laugh about it.

What's not possible?  Well lots of things, we quickly learned:

-  Want to look at an apartment on a weekend?  It's not possible.  Only Monday - Friday, 9-5.  (Okay realtor friends, wouldn't you love that???)

-  Want your American Express bill in English?  It's not possible.  Forget that the company's name is can only get your bill in Dutch.  Which means you have to ask your secretary to help you translate it every month.

-  Want to stop at the store to pick something up on a weeknight?  It's not possible.  That's right, stores close at 6 pm.  With the exception of some that are open on Thursday night.  And many are closed on Sunday as well.

- Want to get on the bus or tram in the middle door?  It's not possible.  And results in getting yelled at by the driver!

- Want a candy bar from the junk food machine at work when the 3 pm munchies hit?  It's not possible.  Because there isn't a junk food machine in a 16 story building!!  Amazing (and no wonder they're all so slim and trim!).

What is possible?  Well, you know the phrase 'when in Rome, do as the Romans?'.  The same thing applies here.  We've quickly learned to follow the norms (and rules, there are lots of rules) and things work just fine.  But do you want to do something different?  It's not possible!!

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  1. Hope you'll keep the info coming, very interesting! Things we take for granted, our so called normal.

  2. I used to be an expat in the UK, and the no-evening-hours thing was always a hassle. They built a
    24-hour" grocery near us, but "24-hour" meant up to 9pm on Saturday night, then something like noon to 4pm on Sunday, which made me laugh. After the honeymoon phase of expatting comes the "not possible" stage! (By the way, been following you for quite a while, and I'm really enjoying this new direction you are sharing.)

    1. Ha ha - yes 24 hours seems like it should mean just that! But I'll never forget at trip to Wales about 15 years ago. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and there was no place open to eat!! Thankfully we had a few cookies in our suitcase to keep us from starving :-)

    2. We had an unsuccessful Welsh foray as well -- now I tell people Wales is closed on Sunday. Good thing you had cookies!

  3. I am enjoying your posts from Amsterdam. This makes me smile because I travel every year to India. When I ask a question there, almost any question, the answer I get is "Anything is possible!" Thanks for the posts.

    1. I like the anything is possible approach!!


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