A Taste of Home


Last Saturday my husband and I went out to a new place for lunch. A friend of mine told me about a local restaurant that is owned and operated by a Dutchman. We decided to go and check it out.

If you’ve read my bio you’ll know that I was born in The Netherlands. I still speak Dutch fluently but since my mother passed away in 2014, I no longer have anyone to speak with. Like anything else, if you don’t keep practicing a foreign language you will lose it. I am badly in need of practice.

Since I grew up in the United States, I think, read, and write in English. The last time I was in Holland was 2002, the year when Oma (that’s the Dutch word for grandmother) turned 100, so it’s been a while since I had to communicate exclusively in Dutch. My mother and I spoke a sort of mish mosh of half Dutch and half English. Some words are just easier in one language rather than the other. Anyway, when I was last in Holland I noticed an odd phenomenon, after a day or two of being surrounded with nothing but Dutch, my brain seemed to switch over. Normally to speak Dutch, I think in English and translate. After a few days of Dutch exclusively, things went the other way, I started thinking in Dutch and having to translate to get back to English.

So this brings me back to Saturday’s lunch. I got to meet the owner and had a great conversation in Dutch. I also found out that once a month he does a special dinner of Indonesian Rijsttafel (rice table). Indonesia was a Dutch colony until 1949 and getting rijsttafel is their equivalent of getting Chinese take-out. My husband and I are going this weekend. There are supposed to be several other Dutch people coming. I’ll blog about my experience.

Do you speak a foreign language?

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Augustina Van Hoven

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