Amazing Dutch words that you should know too

Amazing Dutch words that you should know too

As you may or may not have noticed by now, I’m Dutch. Being Dutch comes with its advantages, such as speaking the Dutch language (Nederlands), being able to eat stroopwafels whenever I want to, and having insane bicycling skills. If you don’t know what stroopwafels are, google them, now!

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that your native language contains some words that you like more than others and today I’m sharing some of my favourite words from my native language, Dutch, with you guys.

© Steve A Johnson on Flickr
  1. Gezellig. This word is used to describe social events. When you’ve visited your friend for example and you conclude that the night was “gezellig,” that means that you had a lovely time. This is one of those words that has no translation in other languages (which I think is kind of fancy), but I think what I just said about having had a lovely/nice time is a good estimate.
  2. Bibliotheek. Library. I like the sound of this word and I like its meaning. I absolutely love reading, so any place that contains a lot of books will get my love immediately. Fun fact, a lot of Dutch people shorten this word to: bieb, when talking about the library. In the same way, books that you borrow from the library are often referred to as biebboeken. Boeken being books, and adding bieb to the word alters the meaning to books from the library, or library books.
  3. Nijlpaard, and any other animal names that have hilarious translations into English. A nijlpaard is a Hippo, but what it literally says is “Nile horse.” A few other examples are Luipaard, leopard, which literally translates as lazy horse, and naaktslak, slug, which literally translates as nude snail.
  4. Desalniettemin. Anyhow/despite x. It’s mainly the way this word sounds that I like about it. It’s such a fancy way of negating something.
  5. Druppen. To drip. I mainly like this word because it’s an onomatopoeia, a word that sounds like the thing it refers to. On a side note, I also really like the Dutch word for onomatopoeia, which is onomatopee.
  6. Uitwaaien. This is another one of those words that don’t have a translation into other languages. This is a verb and what it denotes is going outside, to the beach for example, and taking a stroll and clearing your head.

Do you have any favourite words in your native language? If so, let me know in the comments below!

5 things I did not expect when getting braces

Almost a year ago now, I made the decision to finally get something done about my teeth. I consulted with my dentist and she referred me to an orthodontist. Getting the x-rays done and having a cast of my teeth made was the easy part. After those were made, my orthodontist came up with a treatment plan, which also involves jaw surgery. I was prepared for that though. I am very aware of what I look like and what my teeth look like, so I already figured that the overbite that I have could possibly not be corrected with braces alone. This also meant that having braces would be a medical necessity, meaning that my insurance would possibly be willing to cover them (usually, braces aren’t covered by your insurance in The Netherlands when you’re an adult). And so the waiting game began. I eventually received a go ahead from my insurance agency in February and last month, I finally got my braces!


I’m one of those people who are rather terrified of anything having to do with their teeth, going to the dentist, and so on, so naturally, I did quite a bit of research on having braces and what the experience would be like. However, there are still some things that I did not expect to happen.

  1. Smiling. I used to try to avoid smiling with my mouth open as much as I could, because I was so ashamed of my teeth. I’ve only had them for a month, so no dramatic change has occurred yet, but already I’m feeling so much more comfortable smiling around people. At least now it’s visible that something is being done about the situation in my mouth.
  2. The pain. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of pain, because everybody is different and I read quite a variety of experiences online, from people experiencing so much pain that they had to vomit, to people who said it was unpleasant, but totally do-able. Personally, I expected the pain to be constant during the first few days. Instead, what I experienced was that during the first 24 hours of having braces, one tooth at a time became really sore and achy, which would last for a while, and then another one would become sore, etc. After that it was mostly chewing that was quite painful. When I wasn’t chewing on anything the braces weren’t really noticeable. I’m not sure if I got lucky with that, or if this is the average experience though.
  3. Getting stuff stuck between your braces. All. The. Time. I knew I would get stuff stuck in there, but little did I know that it was going to be a constant thing. I have never brushed my teeth so often and with so much pleasure in my life.
  4. People rarely notice them. When I first got them, I felt like I had this huge sign on my forehead, reading “look people, I’ve got braces,” but in reality, people rarely notice them and if they do, they don’t act weird about it.
  5. Having trouble articulating. I talked about this with my orthodontist beforehand, and he actually told me that my braces shouldn’t affect my ability to speak clearly, because they’re on the outside of your teeth, nowhere near where your tongue touches your teeth to make some types of sounds. However, your lips also play a big part in speaking and due to having braces I found myself having less room to move my lips around all of a sudden, so during the first few days I found myself having to struggle to make myself understood at times. Even now, I still have to say things two or three times every now and again, where I never had any trouble articulating before.

These were the five things that surprised me about having braces. Did you have braces? And if so, what was your experience like? I would love to read about everyone’s experiences in the comments below.

Being an intern.

I’ve been a very bad blogger. Life has just been very stressful for me, for the past month to month and a half and I feel like I should talk about that, even if it’s for the small chance that someone in a position similar to mine will read this and will take courage from my experience.


How it all began

Before I started studying at a proper university, I spent two years studying social work (in The Netherlands this isn’t an academic degree, so you go to what is internationally known as a ‘university of applied sciences’). Those two years were probably some of the most difficult years of my life. Not many people know this, but I was forced by my relatives to pursue a career that didn’t suit me. They didn’t want me to go to a university and to pursue an academic degree and at the time when I had to make that decision, I was very vulnerable, emotionally. My mother had just passed on, several months earlier, and soon after her death my relationship with my then-boyfriend started to deteriorate, because I was a mess and I was just a nasty person to be around. I was in so much pain, emotionally, and I took part of it out on him, so I definitely don’t blame him for leaving, but it was hard at the time. It was hard for all of us and my relatives took advantage of that. They started whispering in my ear that I wasn’t good enough to go to a proper university and get a degree, that I would never be able to finish such a difficult and demanding education. The final blow came when my dad told me that he wasn’t going to support me financially, in any way, shape or form, if I were to study at a university. So I didn’t.

I enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in social work instead and it was probably the biggest mistake I made in my entire life, because I didn’t listen to my own gut feeling, which was screaming at its loudest volume that I shouldn’t be doing this. Sure enough, I hated it. I hated everything of it, but still I kept going, because the idea that ‘there were no other options’ had gotten a very prominent place in my mind. I finished the first year and even managed to get an internship, for my second year. That’s when all hell broke loose.

Liars and cheaters

The people I had to work with on a daily basis had quickly decided that they didn’t like me, so whenever I asked for their feedback, they would lie to me and tell me that everything went fine and that they didn’t have any tips for me to work on. So for the first couple of weeks, I felt fantastic, because these people told me I was doing great. Then came the day of my first evaluation… and it turned out that all of those colleagues who had told me to my face that I was doing great, had been telling my mentor that I was doing a horrible job. From that point on, the situation just escalated. One colleague in particular was just out to get me. At first, I thought that I might be overreacting, so, being the person that I am, I still decided to ask her for her help when a situation arose that I felt I needed some feedback on. I opened up to her and instead of her respecting the fact that I chose to open up and be vulnerable, she grabbed that opportunity to become verbally abusive. Luckily, this happened at the end of my shift, so after she was done I was able to grab my things and leave. I cried on the way home. My shift ended at 10PM and at 2AM I was still upset and crying. That’s how bad it was. I still have mixed feelings regarding that incident, because that colleague definitely did not have the right to behave in the way that she did towards me, but it did open up my eyes and make me realize that this wasn’t the right place for me.

My strength has never been that I’m super assertive and that I’m able to talk to anyone, just like that. I’m awkward and shy and I hate new situations. I’m a creature of habit. New situations, especially social ones, freak me out and here I was, trying to pursue a career which involved all of those things, on a daily basis. It was a recipe for disaster. I decided to quit studying social work and to go to a proper university, to get my bachelor’s degree in cultural studies. Going to uni was like coming home to me. I quickly befriended several classmates and I developed some good relationships with several of my teachers, who stimulated me to really push myself, to work hard and to get good grades and I did. I excelled.

This is who I am, what my strength is and what I want to do with my life.

Turning my life around

When I enrolled at uni, I told people in my environment that the sensible thing to do was to become a teacher in Dutch, through a special programme that the university offers. The job opportunities are great and I would have a good chance of quickly being able to find a job and to start paying off my student debts, which would be considerable by the time that I was finished. However, as time went on, I learned that what I really wanted to do in my future was to get my ph.d. and to pursue a degree in academia. Spending my time doing research in an area that I’m passionate about (Dutch literature) just felt right. It still does. This is who I am, what my strength is and what I want to do with my life. Yet, here I am, stuck at another internship that I don’t particularly enjoy, because the people in my environment have started to expect of me that I’ll become a teacher and I feel like I should meet their expectations.

Every day that I spend at my internship, instead of spending it working on my bachelor’s thesis, just feels wrong

This time around, my mentors and colleagues are wonderful. I couldn’t have wished for a better environment to be an intern in, except… that I don’t want to be an intern. You have no idea how draining it is, physically and emotionally, to finally have figured out what you want to do in life, only to then go on and pretend that ‘of course I want to be a teacher’ and ‘of course I’m having a good time at my internship,’ when the reality is that I don’t. Every day that I spend at my internship, instead of spending it working on my bachelor’s thesis, just feels wrong. I need to be graduating this summer and I should be spending so much more time on writing up my thesis and doing what is necessary (and going way beyond that, because I always do) to get the job done. I’m seriously worried that I won’t be finished in time and I cannot afford (literally, financially) to take even more time to finish my bachelor’s degree. If that happens, say I don’t graduate this summer, but in January or February of 2018, that means that I won’t be able to pay for my master’s degree. Whereas, if I felt like I should still get my qualifications as a teacher after I’ve gotten my master’s degree, I could enroll in the post-master’s programme and get funding from the government (Dutch is one of the subjects for which there are waaaaaaay too little teachers in these parts, so the government is trying to make it more attractive for people to become a teacher by helping you with the financial aspect of it all).

What I’m trying to say, in so many words, is that you should always stay true to yourself, even if that’s a super scary thing to do. You do you, because to me, that’s the only way that you can really be happy.

New year’s resolutions


Happy new year everyone! Hopefully you all had a wonderful new year’s eve and have started 2017 in the most amazing way possible. With a new year always come new year’s resolutions. Personally, I don’t really do new year’s resolutions. I think change can come about whenever you want it to. However,  I do have some goals that I want to achieve this year and that I want to share with all of you.

  • First of all, I would love to take up running more actively. Last year was insanely busy and while that’s no excuse for failing to exercise, I do feel like that was holding me back a lot. I’m expecting this year (the first 8 months of it at least) to be a lot calmer, so I can invest some time in building up some stamina and being able to run at least 5km.
  • I also want to start taking pictures with my DSLR more often. I really enjoy being creative and capturing images with my camera, but I also get “camera shy” quite often. If there’s a lot of people around in an area where I would like to take pictures, I usually end up just leaving the camera in its bag and going away, because I’m afraid I’ll be judged. I feel like it’s time to overcome that fear and just snap away without caring about what other people might or might not think.
  • One of the most important goals for this year is probably getting my bachelor’s degree in cultural studies and (hopefully) being accepted into a Dutch language and culture research master’s programme!

Do you guys have any new year’s resolutions or goals for the new year?


Fantastic Beasts and where to find them

Disclaimer: this blogpost may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie already and are planning to, please read no further than this.

A while ago, I went to see the latest addition to the wonderful wizarding world which many of my peers, myself included, grew up with and grew to love so very much. I’m talking about Fantastic Beasts and where to find them of course. Before seeing the movie, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it very much. I had also read the play Harry Potter and the cursed Child and found that it wasn’t quite as magical to me as the other books in the series were, so I was a bit afraid that this movie would also be a let down. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

I immediately fell in love with the character of Newt Scamander and I feel like Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of the character as being a bit awkward was just perfect and sometimes so very relatable to people like myself, who can, at times, feel a bit overwhelmed by social situations.

I also really liked the fact that the roaring twenties were the backdrop to this story. We got to see the wizarding world’s version of a jazz club in this movie, and that alone is something amazing! The twenties are one of my favourite periods in time, in terms of fashion, architecture, art and style. Basically, the aesthetic of the period speaks to me. This alone is why I also like Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby so much. Yes, well and because of Leonardo DiCaprio, I won’t lie.

I’m not as big a potterhead anymore as some of my friends are. I know the plot of all seven novels in the series of course, but some small side-stories and background information has slipped from my memory. This meant that while the name Grindelwald was familiar, I wasn’t exactly sure what his role would be. The movie explains all of that quite nicely though, so you don’t need to be an expert on Harry Potter lore to watch it, although people who really know nothing of the Harry Potter series will probably miss the detail with the deathly hallows symbol necklace. This is an important detail, but you can get away with not noticing it, because it all gets explained in the end anyway, when Grindelwald is exposed.

I do find one of the themes of the movie to be an important one, even in our non-magical society, which is so filled with hate. The film deals with the question of: do we want to live our lives in fear and in hiding, because we are different? Or do we want to be proud of who we are and celebrate our nature? I think this is a question that is very relevant in real life as well.

My favourite obsessions: November 2016


I’ve gotten more and more into healthier eating habits over the course of the month of November. This is why I’ve purchased a blender during the black Friday sales, because I noticed that eating enough fruits and vegetables, especially when I’m super busy, as I currently am, can be a challenge and if you mix at least a portion of what you need on a daily basis into a smoothie, that can make a huge difference already.

I’ve also rediscovered my love for Lush in November. I ordered a bunch of products, because my facial cleanser ran out and I wanted to try something new. I’m currently using Herbalism in the mornings and Dark Angels in the evenings and I find that this combination of products really helps my skin to calm down and not break out as much.

The Nintendo 3DS. As somebody who loves gaming, why haven’t I picked this handheld up earlier? I’m currently playing Pokémon X on it, and it’s amazing, so much better than the huge disappointment Pokémon Go was for me (the game really isn’t much fun when you don’t live in a densely populated area).

Has anyone else watched the new Netflix series The Crown? I finished this show’s first season over the course of November and I’m obsessed. It was so good!

What are some of your current obsessions?

Giving thanks


Even though Thanksgiving was last Thursday in the States and we don’t even celebrate it in Europe, I do feel like this is a good time to express some thanks for all of the wonderful things in my life.

First of all, I’m extremely thankful for all of the amazing opportunities I have been given over the course of this year. Being selected as a research trainee was already amazing, but then becoming an editor for the digital magazine of my studies as well, and becoming involved with a project to help shed some more light on the various possibilities my university offers for people who want to get involved in teaching, has just been amazing. I truly feel blessed and humbled that so many people looked at me and saw the person they wanted for the job.

Secondly, I’m also very thankful to be surrounded by lovely people, whom I can truly call my friends. They are there for me through thick and thin and I truly feel like that’s one of life’s greatest riches.

Last, but certainly not least: I’m also very thankful to have an amazing boyfriend who I can count on and who supports me.

Is there anything in particular that you are thankful for?