After two very general posts about my experience of living in the Netherlands, today I want to get into a more detailed approach. As you may have noticed by now, if there’s something that there’s no lack of is green spaces – smaller or bigger parks, I mean. And we even get the chance to have small farms in the city – not exactly in the city itself, but in the residential areas. So, a bit in-between the place where I live and my faculty’s building, there’s this tinny farm with sheeps, goats, chickens, two donkeys, ducks and a few geese. I only took photos of the goats and donkeys – you can see them below. These kinds of parks are definitely one of my favourite places in the city.
One of the first things people always mention when someone’s moving to a country beyond France is how bad the weather is gonna be. To be totally honest, it hasn’t been that bad. Yeah sure, the first couple of days here, back in August, were horrible; it rained pretty much during the entire day for like two days in a row. But after that I kinda improved. We had a very pleasant September. It was sunny almost everyday and the temperatures were just perfect for late-Summer/early-Autumn. October and November weren’t that bad either, even though we started to have a few more rainy days. It still doesn’t rain much. If it is to rain is never more than about 5mm per day. So far, this past month, what we’ve had more was either really foggy or sunny days. But truth be told, is getting really cold here. Like REALLY cold. Lately, maximum temperatures are around 5/4ºC, minimum temperatures around 1/0ºC; this promises to be a very rough winter, especially considering that I’m used to the weather back in Lisbon, where the lowest minimum temperatures are normally above 10ºC. And now temperatures are normally all below zero, so this is pretty freezing for me. I’m not even sure how I handle being in the street. But honestly I’m really praying for it to snow already, which it doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.
I don’t think I’ve found many negative aspects about the Netherlands. I mean, I was expecting people to be a bit more practical and organised but we can’t have it all, can we? However, there’s a thing that I kinda hate (okay maybe this is a really strong word): it’s their public transports. Don’t get me wrong, they’re actually perfect. Buses every 15 minutes, trains to hundreds of cities in the Netherlands and surrounding countries, trains to and from Amsterdam during all day, but the prices are quite expensive. They have discounts and free cards for Dutch students for 5 years (if I’m not mistaken), but if you need to use the buses, for example, it gets a bit expensive after a few days. That’s why our best friend is actually a bike. It takes us everywhere and we only pay for it once.
I’m used to big cities and basically just seeing big apartment buildings around me; and supposedly I’d see none here. But that’s not quite the truth. Obviously, most people here live in their own two-story houses (like the ones shown in the photos) but there’s a good amount of big buildings – more than I ever expected actually. I’m not sure what kind of home I’d like to live in the future, with my own family, but I wouldn’t mind living in one of these houses. They’re small but cozy and really beautiful, and I’ve always wanted to have my own back-yard (and front-yard too if it isn’t too much to ask for). But what I really love about these houses is their windows. You should know that Dutch people don’t make a big use of their window curtains – unlike us Portuguese, they gotta take advantage of every minute of natural light that they can get. It’s weird passing by people’s houses and just being able to look inside their homes. It will never stop being weird.