Still in Nld. Still in meetings. Still homesick.
At least today is Thursday and I’m on the home stretch. One more day in the office then I fly home Saturday. I am vair vair tired.
There was an HR meeting today that we were invited to. We had to introduce ourselves and talk about what we’re here doing. It’s super interesting at these meetings because so many nationalities are represented in the employee population here, but English is the “standard” business language for Megacorp.
So while everyone is speaking English, I can barely understand half of it, because of the accents. In the meeting I’m in now there’s a Bulgarian, a Dutch person, a Greek and an English dude. I really have to be On My Game to keep up in the meetings. At the team meeting today, I also heard from a Hungarian, an Italian, someone from Spain, and someone who I’m not sure where they’re from. I think the hardest to understand so far has been the Greek woman (who is absolutely lovely, by the way). She was saying “punches” the other day and NO ONE could understand her. It sounded like “panties.”
I admire the multi-lingual folks. I bought two greeting cards yesterday because the pictures were pretty and I hoped the Dutch messages meant what I thought they meant. I showed them to the Greek woman and she translated for me. Whoops. I was wrong at my guesses. Very wrong. So if you get a Dutch greeting card from me, don’t Google translate it. But here’s the Greek woman, translating Dutch to English for me…and I don’t even know Spanish, for Pete’s sake.
And by the way, I’m not judging the accents. No one can understand me when I’m trying to say the Dutch words either! When I was lost in Amsterdam yesterday, I certainly had a hell of a time getting people to understand what I was looking for. The store is called “Etos” and I had to also say “pharmacy?” and “medicine?” before a woman understood me.
And I said “gouda” and people looked at me with blank faces and then informed me it’s pronounced GOW-DUH. I was going to tell them they’re WRONG WRONG WRONG, but then I realized gouda is from here… so maayyyyyyyyyyyybe I was the one who was wrong.
What is my point to all this? Folks are smart, brave and competent around this joint. I was a teary, sweaty mess yesterday looking for ibuprofen….and here are people from many other countries making a life in a new country and speaking/working in a DIFFERENT language from both their home country and their new country. We have a very narrow lens in the US sometimes. Or, I should just speak for myself and not the entire country: I have a very narrow lens with which I see things. Business travel is an eye-opening experience. And really, business travel is like “travel lite.”
I need to broaden my lens to embrace the benefits of this yob. I’m so challenged and so overwhelmed…and so homesick…but also need to remember to be focus on “so grateful” for the life experiences I’m gaining.