British Things I’ve Missed

As there is a strong possibility I will weep at having to leave Amsterdam, I have been preparing myself for returning to home. Home where the parrot enjoys whistling God Save The Queen; where my brother frequently laments my lack of paleolithic lifestyle; where my mother imparts her wisdom with a raised eyebrow and, “You have put on weight … Please don’t waste your food, Jennifer; there are people starving in the world, and I just spent hours slaving over this banquet so you better finish it“. (I jest. My mother is lovely.)

My preparation is going somewhat well.

Phone Plan
While Three was excruciatingly good at not answering my questions and doing what I wanted them to do pre-January, I cannot deny that I will look forward to returning to my phone plan when I land at MAN. 1gb data, 3000 texts, 1000 minutes for the paltry sum of £10 a month? It seems rather lacking in comparison to other phone plans but… yes, please. Some months, I have spent over €30 on my “pre-paid plan” for 300mb data. It’s been a bad phone year.

To add: my phone seems to be rather attracted to Dutch floors and cobbles. We now have an on-off relationship; it has a few tantrums a day where it decides to take a few hours off. Read: I am looking for a new (durable) phone.

VISA
In the UK, it is very rare that I have cash. I like the idea of plastic money. Dutch establishments do not like the idea of plastic money though. Dutch establishments are cash-only. Or Chipknip. And you know who doesn’t have Chipknip? Me. This might make sense to you, but it doesn’t make sense to have what is essentially a Dutch-plastic-only policy in one of the most international and tourists-here-and-there cities in the world.

Some people got around this seemingly simple obstacle by opening up a Dutch bank account. Yes, I tried to do that too, but they decided not to send me any pertinent bank information. Cue me having to withdraw €250 at a time so I could live. Cue that time my wallet was stolen after I withdrew just that amount. It was a distressing time which culminated in frantic phone calls and justeat.nl entering my Most Visited tab.

(Thankfully, Dutch police are lovely, and my wallet was returned to me.)

Dining Out
There are two things I have noticed about the Dutch: they do not have a cuisine (BREAD AND POTATO DOES NOT COUNT), and they do not have a culture of going to restaurants. What does this mean? This means that restaurants are often targeted at tourists and businesspeople. There are a few exceptions but, in general, restaurants are not that big compared to other cities.

They also close ridiculously early.

Pre-Amsterdam, my life in Manchester consisted of this: “Lunch?” and then a few hours later, “Dinner?”

While I have a new found appreciation and interest in cooking for myself (…), I am definitely looking forward to the accessibility and variety of dining options in the city.

Driving
Okay, okay, so I definitely prefer cycling most of the time, but there have been times when driving would be fantastic. For example, that time we hitchhiked from Belgium? There was some woe over our situation which did not allow the option of renting a vehicle. Or moral issues with joyriding.

I’m probably thinking far too optimistically with dreams of driving through the British countryside with the sun and a cloudless sky, but one can dream.

. . .

. . .

And that’s all I have so far. And the latter items were rather reaching…

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