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Moving to a New Country- Collab Post with Tall Blonde Tales

Hi everybody! I did a collab post on moving to a new country with Tia from Tall Blonde Tales. You can view her blog here. Since we have both gone through the process of moving to a new country, we felt it would be great to do a post together for our readers. Enjoy!

Tia:

Today I’m doing a collab with the lovely Third Culture Kid, where we’ll be sharing our experience and tips of adjusting to other countries. Both of us have definitely had some experience with moving overseas, and adjusting to another country can be quite a process so we thought we’d share that whole journey with you, as well as some tips that we picked up along the way. Personally, I’ll be sharing my experience of adjusting to life in England.

For all of you to know quite how interesting my adjustment was, you have to know where I’m from – I was born and bred in South Africa! So, while moving to England wasn’t too terrifying in some ways, it was also so different in other ways. There are some similarities between the two countries, because England did colonise South Africa way back when which has obviously left some impact. So in some ways, things are quite similar because a lot of South Africa and its systems were modelled after the British.

That is where the similarities end though.

Adjusting to living up in the north of England was definitely an experience, not negative in any sense but definitely one with some twists and surprises. Firstly, you don’t realise quite how much sun you normally get until it’s gone. I’m not kidding – vitamin D deficiencies up there are a real thing and after living in one of the sunniest places in the world most of my life to a country that is known for its grey cloud coverage and drizzle is quite a shock to the system. It was cold, and quite grey, which certainly took a lot of getting used to, but once you get over the initial shock, with the right amount of layers, a waterproof jacket and some vitamin D pills it’s really not so bad.

When it came to adjusting to way of life there, that was surprisingly easy. In fact, it happened so naturally I didn’t really notice until I came home. Walking everywhere just became what I did, so was grocery shopping once a week with my friends or just popping into a pub or a teashop on the way home after a lecture.

I think what made adjusting to life in England so easy though was the people I was with. It wasn’t like I was thrown into the deep end such as having to start a new job in a new city living all by myself and knowing no one. With university though, it made the transition quite smooth and gradual. I already knew a few people from chatting on university social media groups and I wasn’t living alone. I moved into a flat with both local and international students and that helped me adjust to life in England in such an easy way because it was fun and I got to do it with friends.

Adjusting to a new country can be a really scary experience because everything is new and you may not be sure what to do or who to turn to, but it can also be such a fun and eye-opening experience if you’re open to it. That’s why I will leave you with the following tips:

1.       Try everything – don’t be afraid to try new things and see how they are because you’ll never know until you try and you may just discover your new favourite thing.

2.       Don’t be shy – yes it can be scary meeting new people but the only way for them to become friends and for you to make connections with them is to open up and try to connect and make friends with them so don’t let your nerves stop you from making new friends.

3.       Ask for help – it can be embarrassing to admit when you don’t know something or aren’t sure what to do and need help, but sadly the only way you’ll ever stop struggling with those issues is if you swallow your pride and actually ask your help. You’ll adjust much faster and avoid lots of stress and problems simply by learning when to admit you can’t do something on your own or may need to ask for help or advice.

4.       Take things one step at a time – you can’t suddenly become a local with a snap of your fingers, and getting used to a new country with a new culture takes time so you need to be okay with just taking things one step at a time. If you pace yourself and don’t overwhelm yourself, you’ll find you adjust far better and actually enjoy and appreciate the experience more than if you try to get it all in at once, where there is more chance you’ll just stress yourself out.

5.       Go out and explore – the only way to truly adjust is to experience where you’re living and the best way to do that is to go out and be a part of it. Walk through your new city, try the restaurants and cafes, speak to the locals, or go enjoy your lunch in the park rather than in your room. By going out and just getting a taste of everything your new home has to offer, you can get a feel for it and start to appreciate it and once you become more familiar with your surroundings, it will also help you adjust and feel comfortable where you are.

Me:

Hello everyone! Thanks to Tia for this lovely collab! It will take a while for me to go through my life story, so if you’re interested, you can read my blog too. I’m what is known as a Third Culture Kid which means that before I was 18, I lived in countries that weren’t my parents’ culture. I’m currently living in Canada, which is the fifth country I have lived in, but I am also in transition to the Netherlands at the moment. Being exposed to living in other countries from a young age was not only fun, but I learned some important life skills. One reason I started my blog was to show people what it’s really like to live in other countries and I believe in being transparent about it. Here are my personal tips for living in other countries:

  1. Find the hidden gems- Bouncing off what Tia said about exploring and trying new things, you will find the most beautiful gems in the most unexpected places. Culture is flowing and you will find it if you look hard enough and really think about the meaning behind it. It’s all very well going to a museum, but it’s important to discuss what you have learned from it. It’s amazing to go with other people who love the same thing and you can talk about it a lot.
  2. Learn how to manage your finances- Every country has its own unique systems when it comes to money, and it can take a while to adapt to it. Good personal financial practises will serve you well when adjusting to another country, but be flexible! It’s fine to be frugal, but you CANNOT be cheap! Sometimes, you’ll need to pay for things you didn’t think you had to pay for. Sometimes, you have to cough up money and you just have to deal with it. You can’t avoid financial problems in another country, but once you get through them, you will feel so good about yourself! One way you know you have adapted is if you can automatically convert currencies in your head for a rough estimate. 
  3. Think you don’t need health insurance or consider the healthcare system of your new country? Think again!- I have been in situations where I couldn’t qualify for healthcare in new countries, or didn’t get enough health insurance coverage. That landed me in deep doo-doo! You might say you’re okay with certain things about a new country’s healthcare system. When you’re actually living there, you may realise you’re not okay with certain things. I have moved countries because me or my parents couldn’t get the care we needed. So make sure you know the reality of your new healthcare system and do NOT under-insure yourself when you get health insurance! 
  4. Understand that your emotions are going to be a rollercoaster sometimes and take care of yourself mentally- Your feelings are totally valid. If you need mental health care, go for it! Try to find a counsellor who is at least open to discussing issues you are having adjusting to another country. Additionally, find people that you can talk to honestly about any problems you have. They will usually be people who have lived in other countries before. Sometimes, some well-meaning monocultural people (people who have lived in one place all their life) can say some things that will upset you. There are times in my life when I know I can only talk to people who really understand, like other Third Culture Kids. I also recommend seeking out books, movies and other entertainment you can relate to and keep them as a go-to when you’re going through a rough time.
  5. Remember: It’s ALWAYS worth it to live in another country!- There will come a time when things will either work out for you, or they won’t. If a country works out for you, that’s wonderful! If it doesn’t and you have to try again, or go back home, that’s perfectly fine. People say a place doesn’t make any difference to your life. That’s incorrect! You will gain so much from living in another country and it will serve you well in the future. It’s easy to think that you have failed if a country doesn’t work out, but that’s not true at all. I am currently in the process of moving to another country because Canada hasn’t worked out for me. I’m experienced with living in other countries, and I accepted that a country not working out can happen to anyone. I have gained some wonderful things from Canada, and I am always learning what I really want from a country.

So there you have it! Thank you again, Tia and I hope you all enjoyed reading our stories and tips!

First Dutch Immersion Day

My Mum and I have learned over 500 words in Dutch and are now at 30 lessons in Duolingo! We decided to try our first Dutch Immersion Day after we reached 500 words. That took about six weeks, but I feel we are making good progress. How did our first time doing immersion go? Let’s find out!

Immersion Day Plan:

Failing to plan is planning to fail, so here’s what the rules for the day were:

  • If we don’t know the word(s) but we can say the sentence, look up the word.
  • Have a computer going all day for Google Translate and use my phone for it too.
  • Spend 1 hr labelling things around the house in Dutch. Note: it is a great thing to do, it’s just that even now, we still haven’t done it yet. LOL.
  • Keep the Dutch radio on (BNR Nieuwradio). Plus, watch Arjen Lubach. See my previous post on learning Dutch for why I use these sources.
  • Do a complete review. Note: English during Dutch lessons is okay for translation purposes.
  • Switch computer and cell phone to Dutch.

There were also things I wanted to accomplish that day, but then decided it was worth waiting to do them.

There’s a reason why I decided to wait on these things. Right now, here’s how my first Dutch Immersion Day went.

A Dutch Morning:

The morning started off relatively easy. I had covered a lot of words typically used in the morning that are related to breakfast and greeting others. The night before, I had switched my computer and cell phone over to Dutch. To be honest, it was easy to understand the names of apps, login information and whether someone is typing on WhatsApp. At first glance, you don’t think about it when you see that information in your dominant language, but it’s easier to translate than you might think.

It’s not easy to wake up and automatically immerse yourself in a foreign language while your brain is warming up. No, wearing a toque doesn’t help. Wearing a toque in Canada provides a lot of benefits, but this isn’t one of them. LOL.

While doing the Duolingo lessons and review, I started to get overwhelmed. One of the rules for the day said that English is okay for translation purposes on Duolingo, but I could tell I was getting overwhelmed because I was leaning on English more and more. By lunchtime, I couldn’t go any further with Dutch. I lasted about 3-4 hours with immersion. I didn’t feel like listening to the radio, watching Arjen Lubach, or labelling items around our living space.

Wakeup Call:

Okay, I am NOT ready to move to the Netherlands yet! Plus, 500 words is good enough for a bit of immersion, but not for a whole day. If I were to move to the Netherlands tomorrow, I would probably be crying within a few days. I have always respected people who can move to a country and learn the language from scratch. Now, that respect has increased TENFOLD! I do wonder how often tears happen with people who have to learn a language from scratch in a new country. It’s not something that’s ever talked about.

I wish I could remember what it was like to move from France at two years old and learn English at school. Although, in some ways, it’s better that I don’t remember it. From what my Mum said to me, my teachers weren’t exactly supportive of bilingual children. I have a theory that this is why I rebelled against speaking French for years! It certainly knocked my confidence in French, and even though I have tried to regain it, it just hasn’t happened.

There was a high point in the day. I tested my comprehension of Dutch by watching the video of the Netherlands welcoming Trump in his own words.

America First Netherlands Second

In the video, I don’t need to turn on the Dutch subtitles until “This is a message from the government of the Netherlands”. Then, I turn the Dutch subtitles on. To my surprise, I was able to understand over 90% of the video! It makes sense though because the way Trump talks is VERY basic and if you translate that into another language, it’s very basic too!

Self-Care:

Even though I make a point of doing a bit of Dutch when I feel tired, I still understand that I need breaks sometimes. As my Mum said, you are kidding yourself if you think you aren’t going to encounter the language when you are stressed, tired, dealing with an emergency, or anything else that challenges your language ability. One thing I never really understood as a bilingual child is that sometimes you need a break from one of your languages. It wasn’t until I had a colleague who flipped out once because none of us spoke her language that I understood the importance of resting from a language. Okay, my colleague wasn’t exactly a nice person, but this time, I would say she had a point in flipping out.

I know when I can do Dutch and I know when I can’t, yet. I recently felt like crap physically after overdoing it on a workout and having a weird nap afterwards and I just could NOT do Dutch under those circumstances! One way I laugh about it is remembering this Jackie Chan blooper. He’s flubbing his lines and then he says, “I hate English!” Yep, I get that.

I did put some pressure on myself with this Dutch Immersion Day. I am good at learning languages thanks to being bilingual from birth. Sometimes, I have surprised myself with languages. There have been quite a few times that I have been on a bus in London (the perfect place for overhearing people’s conversations) and I am able to understand everything a person is saying in a certain language, even if I haven’t taken classes in it.

What Next?:

I wasn’t able to do everything on the list for my first Dutch Immersion Day. I will get to labelling items around the house and I will find a translation app that is suitable. Additionally, I will switch my computer and cell phone language to Dutch more often. I’m not ready to look up ebooks in Dutch yet.

The plan is to do another Immersion Day when I reach 1000 words. That might happen in May since it only took me six weeks to learn 500 words, and as of publishing this, it’s now 620 words. Heck, I laughed remembering when I had a hard time starting my Dutch diary of grammar and vocab words. It was like David Rose holding his crumpled tape measuring his cedar chest when Mutt asks him, “How far are you?” and David says, “I’m this far”.

So, that’s how well my first Dutch Immersion Day went! Feel free to share any stories you also have about language learning in the comments!

Best Material Possessions in the Past 1.5 Years

Before I start, I want to say that it’s not a sponsored post. This is just what I have found to be extremely useful to me for my first year in Canada. When you move to a new country, you figure out what material possessions need to help you through your first year. In some ways, I regard these things as more of an investment than just buying things. Here’s my list of what has been invaluable to me and why.

Hardshell Suitcase:

Best Material Possessions
Hardshell Suitcases are LIFE!

I just happened to buy this the day before I moved to Canada. I was at Target trying to look for a luggage carrier. Things were getting desperate, especially since the amount of travel stuff was unpopular and overpriced because of COVID-19. I bought the largest hardshell suitcase I could find for a decent price. I was able to fit ALL my check-in luggage in there, plus some extra stuff that I wasn’t originally planning on taking with me.

When I got to the airport, I realized how maneuverable it was. The spinner wheels are sturdy and able to turn a full 360 when necessary. I didn’t have to worry at all if my things were going to be safe. I sometimes wish the suitcase I bought wasn’t exclusively for my check-in baggage. At the end of a long moving day, I looked at the suitcase and said, “Where have you been all my life?! I would sure like to shake hands with the genius that invented you!”

These suitcases come in a set of various sizes. You can get ones small enough to put in your overhead or possibly under the seat (depends on the brand). Hardshell suitcases are also available at Walmart so before I move to the Netherlands, I’m going to buy the smaller sizes! The brand I got was American Tourister. I love the colour and the product! It’s clean, protects your stuff, has an inside pocket within the inside pocket, and is efficient when you’re at the airport! As a TCK who loves travel, I’m positively drooling over hardshell suitcases! When I was waiting for my Dad at the airport last October, I ran into someone else with a hardshell suitcase and said, “That suitcase is amazing, isn’t it!” She agreed with me!

Handwarmers:

Cozy Handwarmers

These are the simplest and yet most effective things I have found to keep my hands warm when it’s below -10 C. They are little bags of what feels like sand and something else that turns warm when you shake them. Just shake them ten minutes before you step outside, put them in your parka pockets and you’re ready to go! I also put my cell phone in the same pocket as these warmers because extreme temperatures are not good for cell phone electrics.

I’m wondering if I can take a bag of them with me… remains to be seen.

Incandescent Lightbulbs:

Another moment where I said, “Where have you been all my life?” Or at least during my time in London. I talked said in my Winter: London vs Calgary post that discovering incandescent lightbulbs was like

I'm sorry. I just hallucinated.

It has significantly helped with SAD during winter! I can’t live without them now. It also helps that Calgary is super sunny, even in the winter. I know in the Netherlands it’s going to be cloudy a lot. I have already resolved that if I can’t find incandescent light bulbs there, I am going to find some in Sweden or Norway!

PROPER Winter Clothes:

As the saying goes, “There’s no bad winter, only bad clothes.” Okay, I made a mistake with getting boots. Overall, though, I listened to all the advice about layering and when to do so. I ended up with some quality pieces like proper pants when it’s below -10 C and a wonderful parka! Not to mention Canadian toques (beanies in the US) are amazingly warm! I’m definitely going to be taking these items with me because the Netherlands is humid which makes things feel colder. Plus, I’m planning to travel to the Alps and to the Scandinavian countries.

Memory Foam Mattresses:

After some trial and error with past memory foam mattresses, we finally found ones that are wonderful for people who have musculoskeletal issues. It took some research to find them. Now there is no way I am letting mine go. I swear to wear it out! I don’t have too much to say because this speaks for itself!

Reading Socks:

Reading Socks

I ran into these accidentally. I went to an Indigo bookstore for Christmas shopping and I stumbled upon these reading socks! A realization hit me when I saw them. These work so well in cold weather climates! So, I bought matching pairs for myself and my Mum for Christmas. You know that trend of families getting matching pyjamas at Christmas? Well, we did matching reading socks. In order to stop people with a foot fetish coming onto my site, I am not posting a photo of me wearing the socks, but here’s a photo of them.

I noticed when I put them on how soft they are on the inside! Mum and I describe it as “bunny soft”. Anyone who has had a rabbit as a pet knows what I am talking about. I refuse to walk around in those socks because I don’t want to interfere with that softness. The best thing ever is to lie in bed with a good book and my bunny soft socks.

Triangular Leg Pillow:

Triangular Leg Pillow

I love propping my legs up while lying down, but I left my triangular leg pillow behind in California. Eventually, I caved and bought another one at Bed, Bath and Beyond. This one has four different ways you can set it up depending on what you need.

We made an interesting discovery about the leg pillow too. If you are having digestive discomfort while lying down, use the pillow to prop yourself up! It ended up being an invaluable life hack when my Mum had appendicitis and the hernia complication afterwards. Now, Mum uses the pillow full-time, but as long as it works for her, I don’t mind at all. Now, a leg pillow is a priority item for moving to another country!

Footbath:

My birthday came around a few months after moving to Canada and I asked for a footbath. Little did I know how valuable it would be! I was already in the middle of my first winter but hadn’t reached the point I was dealing with Winter Foot. Anyone who has lived in sub-Arctic climates knows what I am talking about. Once a week during the winter, I use my footbath for an hour and then take a pumice stone to my feet. Winter can mean too much dead skin, so this treatment isn’t optional.

I’m also going to get a pedicure when I am finally out of my winter boots (around May after Victoria Day Weekend). There comes a point where I CAN NOT wear my winter boots anymore! Fortunately, the footbath helps delay that time.

Additionally, I find the footbath helpful in the summer because my feet get hot and blistered, even when wearing sandals. So, it’s been a good year-round thing to have!

Proper Chairs:

Best Material Possessions
Proper Chairs Are Everything!

After years of struggling with chairs in our own ways, we FINALLY found some great chairs to meet our needs! Guess where they came from? A physiotherapist’s office was closing, so we bought their waiting room chairs for a significant discount. We looked them up online. We got them for 1/6 of the retail price and they are generally very dear, as we say in England! There’s only so much pain and musculoskeletal problems you can take until you buy proper chairs. They aren’t going anywhere!

Computer:

After 6 months of living in Canada, I needed a new computer. My laptop was dying and it was cheaper for me to get a desktop thanks to the demand for desktops being high. Plus, my circumstances had changed which made a desktop more suitable. My general rule for moving to a new country is to take whatever technology I need with me and if I need to replace it, do it! Additionally, I tend to wait until a store has a holiday sale. I waited until the Victoria Day sale to get my desktop, and it wasn’t a brand new computer, so I got a discount on top of a slashed price! Boom!

Sometimes, it’s not just about getting a great product that you genuinely need, it’s about being strategic to get a good deal! This isn’t about encouraging materialism either. There are material possessions that are essential while in transition.

Have you found with moving either domestically or internationally that there are certain things you need and consider them an investment? Let’s chat about it!

Park #7: Prince’s Island Park

Date visited: August 21, 2021

Location: Downtown Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: This was a good time to go because everything was in bloom, but I do think it’s a good choice for winter or any time the Bow River isn’t high.

Wow! This post is LOOOOONG overdue! This park was kind of selected randomly. Originally, we planned to take a walk through the centre of Calgary on this walkway called the Plus 15. I will do a post on that in the future. It didn’t work out, but we were near Eau Claire, so we decided to check out the area, including Prince’s Island Park (say that three times really fast!). I will say more about Eau Claire later. There were so many trees that I knew I had to go back when the leaves started changing. Plus, there is a park there called Eau Claire Plaza, so that’s another post.

Bridges in the Area:

Peace Bridge:

This was my first time crossing Calgary’s iconic Peace Bridge! I have seen many photos of it, and this cool video a cyclist did with a GoPro Max. So after 10 months living in Calgary, I was DYING to go on the Peace Bridge for myself! I love how there are pedestrian lanes and cycle lanes on it. By the way, don’t look up for too long. You’ll start to think you’re high! Another name for the Peace Bridge is the Finger Trap Bridge because it looks like a finger trap.

Jaipur Bridge:

I thought at first this was a new bridge because of all the construction, but no. It’s being rebuilt because the last one had some structural problems. It’s due to be completed soon, but who knows if I will still see it in its full glory before I move.

Jaipur is one of Calgary’s sister cities and I think it’s quite a touching thing to build a bridge in honour of sister city relations and commemorate what the cities did for each other. You can read more about rebuilding the Jaipur Bridge and the history between Calgary and Jaipur as sister cities here.

Onto Prince’s Island Park:

You would think by now I could pronounce it correctly, but no. I recently went to Eau Claire and I saw a street construction sign that spelled it, Princess Island Park. Glad I’m not the only one who has problems with it!

The air felt particularly fresh with this park since it’s on the river. Summer is clearly the best time to see it in full bloom! I love the balance of city views and river views! It’s a great place for kids and events. There was a stage there, which I figured was used for concerts before the pandemic.

The Sculpture Garden:

Just when I thought this couldn’t get any better, there was a sculpture garden! The first four photos here are pictures made out of marbles. I find that works beautifully with the feather, the fishtail and the dragonfly wings because those are naturally iridescent. I’m not entirely sure if the marbles work for the flower though. I sent the photo of the trilobite to my Dad. He’s so into fossils!

I had descriptions of the other sculptures, but I lost them! So, if you want to know what the other sculptures are, I say, go see them!

Challenges:

Prince’s Island Park is hard to pronounce correctly! Haha! Okay, I’ll stop joking around.

The bridges getting to Prince’s Island were a little weird. I can’t wait until the Jaipur Bridge is complete. Additionally, my Mum found it difficult to navigate the more hilly parts of the park with her mobility issues.

If you end up there at a busy time, save the visit for later. It was semi-busy but manageable. Also, beware of homeless people hanging out there. They are a more common sight than at the other parks I have been to (so far).

Additionally, I had to use the public washroom at the park. This was the first one I had used since 2019. Let’s just say it wasn’t the most hygienic place. I recommend not forgetting your hand sanitizer.

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge!

Learning Dutch I: First Impressions

I have been learning Dutch for almost a month and here are my first impressions of the language, and Dutch culture.

My Learning Plan:

When you learn a new language, especially for moving to a new country, you HAVE to have a learning plan! Of course, plans are a work in progress, but here is my plan so far.

  1. Daily lessons on Duolingo. At the time of this writing, I am currently working through all the lessons on Level 1! I have reached mastery level on the very first lesson. I have to pass a challenge to reach Level 2, but I feel like I am almost there! IMHO Duolingo is the best for learning a new language. I introduced it to my Mum, and she loves it too! She and I are used to learning languages the old-fashioned way. Yes, when I learned Russian, I did it the old-fashioned way. Now, we both say, “Bring on new ways like Duolingo!”
  2. Listening to Dutch radio. My favourite news station is BNR Nieuwsradio. It mainly focuses on national news, but it’s also helpful to hear international news. Funny thing is, I understand international news better in another language because there are certain terms reporters use that are universal.
  3. Watching Dutch comedy. I watch De Avondshow met Arjen Lubach clips on YouTube. I watch clips with both English and Dutch subtitles for the sake of both listening and reading Dutch.
  4. Have a Dutch Immersion Day once a month. If I’m going learn Dutch to a level where I am prepared to move there, it’s important to know that I’m going to hear Dutch all the time. Plus, I will have to adapt accordingly. My first Dutch Immersion Day is going to be in late March, when I am, hopefully at Level 2 in Duolingo.

More About Learning Dutch:

I’m going a bit beyond my first impressions here. I have an ultimate goal in mind, and that is to be able to read The Girl with the Pearl Earring in Dutch. Here’s to hoping I can make good progress on that goal this year!

One thing I do when I listen to the radio is close my eyes. That way, I can let my ear adjust to the pace of the language. I know when I move, I am going to need to ask people to speak a bit slower. Hopefully, getting used to conversational Dutch from the radio and Arjen Lubach’s comedy show will help me adjust quicker. I’m grateful that these days, you can get lots of media in another language. It’s something I never had learning a language in a classroom. There is a large gap between the classroom and the real world in a new language, and I am hoping greater access to media is helping learners to bridge that gap quicker. The good news: I have been doing this for less than a month and I am already picking things up!

After I move, I will have times when I am overwhelmed with Dutch. It’s normal, and I have to learn what to do during those times. I can feel overwhelmed when I am tired, sick, or anything. That’s why I am going to do a Dutch Immersion Day once a month (at least to start). I am still at a basic level, but we’ll see what happens.

Dutch vs German vs English:

Here are two things people ask me. 1. Does it help to know some German before learning Dutch? and 2. How socially acceptable is it to speak English? Here’s what I have found from my research and experience.

I took a German class for a term in school and picked up a bit by osmosis because I lived in an EU country for over a decade. It does help a bit to know some German, but there are significant differences in pronunciation. Fortunately, pronunciation is a strength for me. Every language teacher I have ever had has told me I have perfect pronunciation and the penny drops when I tell them I was a bilingual child. However, I am careful to NOT slip into German pronunciation. The standard advice I have got is this. If I forget a Dutch word or Dutch pronunciation, say it in English! It’s more socially acceptable to say it in English than in German.

There is still significant tension between the Dutch and the Germans after the two world wars. I want to respect that as I am learning Dutch. If my Mum or I catch each other with German pronunciation, we correct it! I’m pretty sure I will pick up German by osmosis again, but I might also pick up Flemish. In any case, I am considering learning German once I have moved to the Netherlands and I have a good grasp of the language. We might be living near the German or Belgian border because it’s cheaper. So, I will get what I will get!

Have you learned Dutch, or moved to another country where you had to learn a new language? Let’s discuss this in the comments!

If you want to see how I am progressing on Dutch and moving to the Netherlands, feel free to go to my page Netherlands for my posts on that (it’s new at the moment lol).