Saturday, February 18, 2006

Potluck Preparation

Tonight Fred and I will open our apartment to a bunch of women I know from a group I recently took over after the original leader had a baby and got busy breast feeding (and the other things one does when one has a new baby.) The name of the group is Living with a Dutchie. There's a group in Rotterdam, maybe one in The Hague and one in Eindhoven. I run the one in Amsterdam.

The rules of membership are pretty simple. You have to be non-Dutch and have moved here to be with your Dutch person. However, this excludes an amazing number of people. If you moved here and then met your Dutchie...can't join. If you moved here for a nice French fellow who is based in the Netherlands...can't join. If you break up with your're out.

These are the rules of the original owner of the group. I'm much more lax. I recently told her, "Yeah he's getting divorced, but he's a good talker and he mixes well." I also said, "Yes her boyfriend's German, but she's cute. I like her."

The original intention of the group is to get people who have had the experience of "moving country" together for informal nights at a well-lit bar, pub or cafe - without their Dutch partner. The pub evenings go surprisingly well. People mix. They talk. It's nice to talk with people who are going through the same culture shock/where do I find this?/how long does this take? experience. It always escalates to a "Can you believe they actually do that?" moment, but it settles back into normal conversation pretty quickly. (It's only fun to talk about the strange language and the Dutch stereotypical oddities for a little while.)

The potluck was an idea that came up with the Amsterdam group - by Americans who know what a potluck is. (I've had to define "potluck" and explain the concept to the group in an e-mail.) The idea was originally greeted with a "No" from the original owner, but I eventually wore her down. She's one of those that will initially say "No" to any new idea. Then, having said that, she will listen as the idea is explained over and over. (High maintenance?) The first one was a success. I missed it, due to car trouble, but it went off well. We'll have another when the weather turns nice. We have a member with a good garden and a barbeque she likes to use.

So I'll have strangers in my home tonight. I should start cleaning as soon as Fred wakes up. I woke up because I was congested and I had a headache. Plus all that phlem in my breathing passages was dry and making me uncomfortable.

Poor Andy, still a little ill. I'm better moving around.


Miss Bad Penny said...

Oh I miss hosting parties!!

I used to crash parties to meet people when I started a new life in a new country. It used to work. But when I crashed a house party hosted by a Dutch friend of my friend last time, the host was unpleasantly surprised by my presence (though I brought along a bottle of red for the party) and gave my friend a face.

Lesson learnt:
NO party crashing in the Netherlands.

Andy Baker said...

I don't mind the party crashing thing. Of course that's one more thing that makes me very American. I say the more the merrier. But I will keep your experience in mind, in case I think it would be a good idea to crash in the future.