The loves of my life aside from my lovely little girl and wonderful hubby are food, photography and traveling. As this blog of mine builds up over time, the themes will surely revolve around them. I will give you a peek into the Dutch way of life and as to how a Filipina like me is finding my own place under the sun so to speak. I came here 13 years ago to pursue my master’s degree in development studies specializing in economics of development and stayed on because of marriage and now, because of my own family. I am balancing career (I work for a bank in Amsterdam) and family life just like everyone else. I love spending time in the kitchen trying new stuffs and wish that this fondness for cooking and baking will rub off on the daughter.
If you are keen on Europe, you may pick up an idea or two on the places to see and what to do as I share with you our holiday experiences which were mostly off the beaten track from what travel guide books suggest. I will show you other places in Holland or aspects of Dutch life which will definitely change your view of this country (in the positive light more or less).
Why the blog on going Dutch?
There has been a lot of misconceptions about the Dutch which as an insider, I’d like to clarify if not completely correct. When I choose this title of “Going Dutch and loving it”, I got some strange reactions from friends from way back who thought that I am embracing many morality-challenging ideas which are still taboo in my deeply Catholic country of birth.
The truth is that while the Dutch take a liberal approach to issues/ideas which are still frowned upon and considered taboo even in many western countries like legalized abortion, soft drugs, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, abortion and prostitution, the family dynamics here in Holland is still very conservative, even far more conservative than Philippines where I am from. The Dutch are just pragmatic in their approach to these issues but that does not mean that their way of life is also ruled by these issues. Take the cases of legalized prostitution and drugs as examples. These do not make the Dutch go to prostitutes or take drugs. Far from it! In the Red Light District of Amsterdam where services of prostitutes standing behind glass windows can be engaged openly or soft drugs can be bought from the many coffee houses, only foreigners can be found there. Dutch people would rather not be seen there whereas visitors to Holland will mark the highlights of their visit trying out soft drugs, watching a peep show or knocking at the windows of the ladies behind the glass windows.
Family life is sacred to the Dutch. Everything is hands-on so children are raised by parents who do the tough balancing act on career and parenthood. Compared to where I came from where live-in nannies and domestic help are common sight, we do everything by ourselves. Hubby and I both work one day less to be able to have quality time with our daughter. Weekends to us are precious and we spend that bonding together with maybe a walk in the forest, some castle grounds, zoo, etc. This to me is what “Going Dutch” is all about.