There are times when my English culture and the Dutch culture collide into a mass ball of miscommunication. Sometimes the outcome is amusing, sometimes it’s just plain confusing. I was invited for drinks.
I and my English partner recently moved into our own home and of course, being in a friendly neighborhood, our Dutch neighbors knocked on the door and welcomed us.
‘You’re invited to ours for drinks!’
‘Great!’ Said my partner, ‘When?’
‘Oh on Sunday, at 8pm and it could be either at our house or their house.’ Our neighbor randomly points to another house, which house; we are still not sure.
The Sunday arrives, and of course, wanting to make a good impression we bought some expensive bottles of wine and some beers. We still weren’t really sure where this drinks was happening. So we waited and spied out of the window seeing which house was drawing the most attention from our neighbors.
We figured out the house where this drinks was taking place. After a quick discussion with my partner, we decided just to bring one of the expensive bottles of wine. We could always pop back to our house if more was needed right?
Feeling a little apprehensive, we gathered the courage and knocked on our neighbors’ door with our bottle of fancy wine clutched in hand. We were welcomed with warm smiles and we gave the bottle of wine immediately to our host. To our embarrassment we discovered that she was pregnant and we joked that it wasn’t for her.
We took off our coats and were shown into their living room; our bottle of wine was never seen again. We sat down in a circle and were offered one small cake from a cake stand of precisely 6 slices and a cup of coffee. I looked round to see if there was any alcohol available, this is a drinks party, right?
The circle of Dutch people was pleasant enough. We met more neighbors and were glad to have found genuinely nice people. More coffee was offered. We said yes. Maybe I could ask for something stronger after this cup of coffee? Is it rude to ask this? I was pondering these thoughts and noticed my belly started to rumble just a little bit. The cake stand didn’t get refilled.
After our 6th cup of coffee, we decided it was best to leave. I bounced off the walls on our way home and I could have run a marathon with all that caffeine in my system.
That night, we discovered a new lesson in Dutch culture. Being invited for drinks doesn’t necessarily mean alcohol and was that our first ever circle party?