|Tante Coby, me & Trees|
Yesterday was a very special treat. Jaap's mother has been giving me Dutch lessons a few times each month. I travel to Oirschot for the afternoon or she comes to Maastricht. We practice my Dutch, sometimes I help her with her English homework, we have lunch, and usually end the day with a little bit of shopping. :) This week was a special lesson. Trees arranged for me to have a cooking lesson with Jaap's aunt and godmother from the Jansen side, Tante Coby. (Tante means aunt in Dutch). What a treat! She showed us how to make erwtensoep, a Dutch pea soup. I felt like an anthropologist. How many American expat women get to have these experiences? It was great.
We had a lot of fun and even though it wasn't our typical Dutch lesson, I had to practice speaking in Dutch because Tante Coby really doesn't speak English. As soon as we got to her house Jaap's father said, "And now we speak Dutch!" And so it began. I did the best that I could and was actually surprised how much I was able to communicate. It was really good practice for me. We talked about cooking, food, our families. It was pretty basic, but good practice. I'm grateful to have Jaap's parents who switch over from Dutch to English so easily and translate for me. I started to realize how much my personality changes in these situations. I'm usually a lot more outgoing, talkative, and friendly when meeting anybody, but having to say things in Dutch makes me a lot more shy. It's strange. But, I do feel that my Dutch is gradually improving and yesterday was a great learning experience.
I'm always impressed by how many languages Dutch people speak. It's quite embarrassing as an American sometimes. When we went to Germany, Jaap was told by a German waitress that his German was excellent. I was very jealous. And he does it like it's no big deal. We'll see what happens when we go to Paris. Haha!
A few hours from now we're heading to Amsterdam and flying to NYC. Woo hoo! We'll be home with the Pardos to celebrate Turkey Day and other Pardo traditions including cutting down the Christmas tree. Not to mention non-stop yelling and screaming at each other. Sorry, not yelling, 'talking'. Jaap brings earplugs when he visits my parents house. Poor guy. That's why I love him!